Friday 25 March 2011

What is the point of a Film Festival?

I had to go on the radio to talk about Borderlines Film Festival earlier in the week and was landed one of those curveballs that interviewers like to deliver just to keep you on your toes, "What is the point of it all?"

I managed to reply adequately but it did get me thinking.

Enjoyment, certainly. The Festival offers abundance of choice in a part of the country where cinema is scarce. That's one of the reasons it was set up in the first place. We're showing around 80 films alongside live events, talks, performances, workshops, 226 separate screenings or events in total. And I know that's a lot because over the last few months I've had to list and process information for them in various ways.

It's also intensely social, it brings people together, even though Borderlines is unusual in being spread out over a huge area in many and varied locations from steel and glass arts centres to restored Victorian Town Halls, the back rooms of pubs and a church with no less than three Norman arches. There's a buzz, you're there, you're part of something, food and drink come into the picture.

But it's also an opportunity to try something different. Borderlines is a Film Festival not for the industry - it's not trying to sell films for distribution -  but for the audience. It's also curated; films have been specially selected with a specific set or sets of cinema-goers in mind. This is actually quite unusual these days outside specialised film festivals. After nine years, people who come to Borderlines know what sort of films they will get, they don't know the specifics but by now they trust they will get something interesting or stimulating even if it's a little bit different.

And that should be an incentive to people who've never tried it to take the plunge: you might like it.

1 comment:

WriteRetreat said...

Part of the fun of Borderlines Film Festival is being able to immerse yourself in films - if you are feeling strong enough - taking in two or three per day. There is a carnival atmosphere at all the venues and people feel free to chat with total strangers.
A few years ago when the festival was shorter I went to 12 films in a week and it felt like being at a party full of like-minded friends. Sitting in the Courtyard Bar we all exchanged impressions and made recommendations to one another. Magic.