A personal take on Transition Film Festival
As yet, I don’t know if the Film Festival was a technical success - the number of bums on seats over the weekend has not yet been tallied, and the all important “did it cover its costs and, hopefully, make some money for TTT” question will not be answered for a few days yet.
But to those of us who were there on 14-16 November, after more than 2 years of hard work, it certainly looked and felt like a real film festival and the feedback we have had has been very positive overall, so I’m calling it a raging success!
The somewhat austere Civic Hall was transformed for 3 days into a warm, more intimate space thanks to the creative talents of Wendy, Nicola and others who brought drapes, foliage and bunting to cheer the place up, and the excellent catering by the Kitchen Table's Sima & Hannah, supplemented by delicious cakes in the upstairs cafe, meant no one had to let their stomachs go hungry as their intellects were fed.
Over 30 films were shown, some short, many feature length, in two venues. Four workshops given by established film makers passed on skills and knowledge in animation, interviewing, viral video and giving a voice to communities. Directors of films were able to get direct feedback from our audiences in Q&A sessions, and we were lucky enough to have people within our community who offered up their expertise where no director was able to come.
Not all the films were new, but many were, and the subjects were as diverse as the audience - the importance of play, the history of the bicycle, fracking, food and farming, the contributions of women in empowering their communities. Not everyone could go to everything, and some films will be repeated over the coming year at the regular Film Nights run by Jacqi Hodgson, to give people a chance to see what they missed.
As town Mayor, Jacqi opened the festival on the Friday, alongside Rob Hopkins who introduced our first films, which included Words From The Edge by local film maker and Transition videographer Emilio Mula. And from there a vast ball got rolling.
Personally I felt the festival strapline, ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’ was stretched at times by some pretty gloomy subject material but it made it clear to me that, if another festival is held, more films about the work we are doing on the ground need to be made to celebrate Transition and the unique opportunities it presents to work together to bring about positive changes.
Thank you to all our many volunteers - those who worked for 2 1/2 years to bring the festival to fruition, and those who gave their time over the weekend, box officing, ushering, cleaning loos, serving food and drinks and helping everyone there have a good time. And particularly to the technical crew, who made sure the few glitches we had were sorted in good time, and handled the demands of multiple formats with aplomb. I salute you. Thanks too to New Lion Brewery for the gift of a keg of local ale, and to Luscombe for donating bottles of their organic Devon drinks.