Cures for failing films listening

Today were pleased to have on the show Fatima Johnson who is the organiser of the Adbourne Film Festival. Welcome, Fatima.


Can you tell us a bit about the background to the festival and what it brings to the town? Well the festival was started in nineteen ninety six by the then Mayor of Adbourne,Joanne Smith. She wasnt a film maker herself – shed actually been a very energetic tourism development officer for many years – but Adbourne had run a classical music festival which had been becoming less and less popular in recent years … Joanne was looking around for something to replace it and to use funds allocated to it to promote something which local people can enjoy.

Great. So tell us about the festival nowadays …

Well, its held in the last two weeks of August every year and short films from all over the world are shown in three places – in the theatre and our two cinemas. Several films are shown in one performance and the whole thing lasts about ninety minutes. Tickets are very reasonably priced – under twelves used to get in for fifty pee but now we charge just one pound which is still very good value! One pound fifty for students and two pounds fifty for everyone else. Performances are advertised all round town and also on our website If youre interested in attending any performances you can buy tickets online of course and you can also get them in the library, which is right next to the main shopping area – Im afraid this year, tickets are no longer available from either of the two cinemas because of restricted opening times.

I understand you also run a film competition?

Yes, for under eighteens. We have a different theme every year. Last year for example, the theme was Future Planet and the winner was a ten minute documentary encouraging youngsters to be more aware of environmental issues, focusing on getting school kids to cycle to school instead of going by car. This year the theme is Sporting Nation – so therell also be lots of ideas to choose from. Now were always on the look-out for new local talent so if you live in the Adbourne area and are under eighteen, you should have a go. We have an excellent prize every year, donated by local businesses – shops, hotels etc. This year you can win a hi-spec movie camera worth over eight hundred pounds. Application forms are on the website and the deadline for sending in your film to enter the competition is the last day of July. Its May now so youll have the whole of June to be working on it!

And what are the judges looking for?

Well, although we choose very topical issues like the environment, were not looking for propaganda – you know, trying to get people to do something. Instead were looking for a new angle … a fresh way of looking at a theme. And of course, because its a short-film festival, its not really about a fully worked story with well-rounded characters, its more about good photography … conveying things visually.

And who judges the films?

A panel of three people who know a lot about film. Weve used the same judges for many years and were very happy with their expertise. One thing we probably will change nextyear though is we want to add another class and another prize for older film makers. Well keep it at a maximum of ten minutes though … the length works well for our festival. We also want to use different venues for the film shows … such as community centres and at least one school. It might make performances more accessible to a wider audience. We did explore the possibility of having late-night showings but thats unlikely to happen in the coming year.

So, as I say, if anyones interested in submitting a film for our competition, go onto our website and youll be able …

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