So Saturday started early as we got together to finalise the details of the Osprey Short Film Awards. Jack Gold, one of the guest directors at the festival, had stepped and agreed to announce the winners which was a huge relief for me. Unfortunately sorting out all the last minute details meant I wasn’t around to meet any of the film makers as they arrived. It looks like the full page advert in the brochure, more details on the website and a handout available from the opening party had raised awareness of the event and more than 100 people came along to the screening, this was really pleasing as the turnout had always been quite low in the past. It was great to see the films with an audience and hear them laughing in the same places. I didn’t see all the films as I was still dealing with other enquiries at the cinema but what I did see made me start worrying if we had selected the right films for the prizes. All of the films were great and judging them was incredibly difficult, it’s not hard to conceive that the prizes could have easily gone to any of the films we showed. It was such a shame we couldn’t get the Fell Pony Hill Breeders documentary by Dreamtime Films to play, it had worked perfectly without an audience, but at least we’d already decided to give the film the Bronze Osprey. Details of all the shortlisted films and the winners can be found on the Keswick Film Festival Website.
The technical problems of the shorts meant I didn’t have much time before the next film Jack Gold’s Red Monarch and people were already queuing so I had to leap in and start selling tickets. I really wanted to stay and listen to the Q&A session after the film as Jack Gold had said some really great things when announcing the Osprey winners, but I had to rush down to the Theatre for Into Eternity. I didn’t know much about this documentary which looked at plans in Finland to bury nuclear waste in a safe way for a hundred thousand years but I was fascinated by it. It raised some really interesting points such as how on earth do you plan something to last for a hundred thousand years when most people, including myself, can’t even conceptualise that length of time. There was a discussion after the film which apparently got quite heated, unfortunately more behind the scenes running around meant I missed out on that as well.
I’d been looking forward to Frankenstein Sings for quite a while and it was easily one of the highlights of the festival. Lancaster Millennium Choir sang along to an abbreviated version of the James Whale classic and it was a real delight and exactly the type of thing a film festival should be doing; you can usually see a film at almost anytime but you’re unlikely to get a choir to sing along. The only downsides was that it was a relatively short show and we now have to find something even better for the 2012 festivals. I also wish it had been scheduled slightly differently so I also could have seen Summer Wars.
I’m sure both of the original closing films for Saturday, Tehroun and Jerusalema, were great but I was having difficulty choosing between them so I was pleased an extra screening of Agnes Varda’s The Gleaners and I had been scheduled. I really loved this film, almost everybody that Varda met could have been the subject of a film of their own and it was a delightful way to finish of the day.