Friday 22 February 2013

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Borderlines 2013 Caption Competition

Nostalgic about great old films? Fancy getting your hands on a set of DVDs celebrating archive film and the experience of cinema?  

To celebrate the re-release of Polanski's Tess, painstakingly restored by Pathé on DVD and due to be released by the BFI, we have a trio of DVDs kindly supplied by MACE (Media Archive for Central England), the BFI and the Electric in Birmingham to give away. All you have to do is leave a witty, entertaining or rather lovely caption in the comments section under one or more of these images and we'll pick our favourites to receive the prizes the day before Borderlines starts! Yes, we're giving stuff away before we've even begun.

Facebook comments and Twitter replies count too. We will contact you via the social network you use to leave your comment so don't forget to check your profile after Friday 1 March to see if you've won.

For two winners....

Shropshire Lives: A compilation of short films from the 1960s and 1970s made for Associated Television’s regional news, and now preserved at the Media Archive for Central England
  • Selections screening at Shropshire Flicks in the Sticks venues, Attfield Theatre, Oswestry and Wem Town Hall (Life of Pi)
  •  Herefordshire on Film screening at Borderlines: Tue 12 March, 6.30pm | Hereford The Courtyard   

Roll Out the Barrel
: From the BFI, this intoxicating selection of archive shorts is an essential history of the British boozer on film
  • Screening at Borderlines: Wed 13 March, 7.30pm | Leintwardine The Sun Inn   

The Last Projectionist: From one of the oldest working cinemas in Britain, using archive footage, interviews and tours of eye-catching theatres, this documents the development of cinema at the sharp end.
  • Screening at Borderlines: Sun 10 March, 1.00pm | Hereford The Courtyard
Click on the Borderlines banner at the top to scroll through the 5 images and make your mark. Or leave your comments on Facebook.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Introducing borderlines analog (an experiment)

Can a film festival be characterised as digital or analog?

Certainly in 2013 a significant number of Borderlines venues have switched to Digital Cinema Projection whereby the image you see on the big screen comes from electronic copy contained on a storage device, such as a high-capacity hard drive and server, rather than light projected through film. 35mm prints are becoming hard to get hold of and are beginning to be flagged by cinemas as a retro experience.

There are even two titles in the forthcoming programme that deal with this precise topic, The Last Projectionist, which focuses on the history of the Electric Cinema in Birmingham, and Side By Side, which uses A-lister Keanu Reeves to enter the bowels of Hollywood itself and talk to key figures in the industry about one of the most significant changes in cinema since the coming of sound.
Borderlines Film Festival however I would firmly describe as analog. Just look at the festival map.

It's all to do with place. You have to be there (any one of 39 distinctive venues) to take it in. It's a big network spread over three counties and approximately 2,000 square miles made up of small or medium-sized communities that come together for films or events during the one time of year in early spring when it doesn't feel as though the Marches are lagging behind the rest of the country in terms of cinema.
The Flicks in the Sticks team at Dorstone Village Hall
Tune For the Blood premiere, The Courtyard Hereford, 2012
Behind the Scenes at The Archers, Bromyard Conquest Theatre
Perversely then, as Marketing Manager for such a festival, I've just completed a rather different course run by the Independent Cinema Office called 'Creative Digital Marketing'. The first part took place in September and we, the participants, then had to go away, put something into practice and reconvene in February (yesterday) to discuss.

At the outset I had strong reservations about the relevance of anything digital to our audiences; Twitter and Facebook seem to operate on rather a peripheral level. But I was taken with something Claire Stewart, the Deputy Communications Manager at Watershed in Bristol, had set up in 2009: a noticeboard outside the cinema for people to post their often very strong reactions to Lars Von Trier's Antichrist. Here are a few of the comments.

At a meeting back in Hereford, Ryan, one of The Courtyard's marketing team, told me about the Analog Tweet project at the Walker Arts Center in Minnesota ('You Write It, We Tweet It') and I thought "Yes! I could adapt this for my 'Creative Digital Marketing' project!" (borrowing encouraged).

So, as a result, most of the 39 venues taking part in Borderlines 2013 will have a 'sophisticated' post-it note feedback facility available at screenings. It will be an immediate way to jot down and share your thoughts on what you've just seen and on the Festival generally. The voting system we have been running at The Courtyard for the past couple of years has proved very popular and the post-it system can be used to rate films according to the standards below too.

***** Excellent
**** Very Good
*** Good
** Average
* Poor

The way the post-its are displayed will differ from place to place according to the promoter's choice and preferences and a selection will be posted online on a dedicated 'borderlines analog' Twitter account (@BFFanalog).

We decided against being prescriptive about the number of characters on each comment; the size of the notes will provide some constraint. To get the ball rolling before the festival starts I've supplied SAE postcards to promoters, staff, board members and others at random and this is what the first tweets will consist of.

So 'borderlines analog' will be the offline voice of the festival. The hope is to convey some of the live buzz around Borderlines online as easily and immediately as possible. It might belly flop, it will probably be chaotic but it is an experiment. As one promoter replied when I asked if they would take part, "Yes, I'll play."

If you'd like to send a postcard through in the run-up to the festival, please email.