So 8th-10th of March saw the first ever St Albans Film Festival run by resident actress, casting director and film professional Leoni Kibbey. With the town decked in purple droogs, I arrived for my volunteer briefing the weekend before at the festival shop to get my schedule and to meet some of the other volunteers. With stills from the submitted films for the various competitions adorning the walls, the mandatory merchandise; fetching purple hoodies and shirts, I realised that this was a film festival that meant business. I’d worked in a film festival before at my University in Winchester, which a more casual affair, one screening at one venue, each night over two weeks. But the St Albans Film Festival was sprawled across 22 venues, over three days; cementing it’s prescence in the town. After the briefing I helped out in the shop for a while, I stuck stickers on the tickets and got to know some of the organisers of the festival. I watched people come and go, buying their tickets, stacking up on programmes and generally indulging their curiosity. There were many types of people, young and old, groups of students and mums with their children, groups of women, grandparents and their grandchildren. This was a festival for everyone. This filled me with excitement, I’m really happy that a film festival was embraced with such warmth by the community, no longer were film festivals a default hang out for student film makers, film professionals and trendy arty types.
I turned up for my first Venue Management shift at the Pioneer club, just on the outskirts of the city, my teenage haunt, a community/charity run youth club, with a skate park and live music. And I met my group of volunteers who’d assist with the running of the festival throughout the day. Some of the events which we held were DSLR filmmaking, Tower Block Screening with a Q&A with James Moran the film’s writer, Filming Extreme Sports, Beginner’s Guide to Editing and How to Make an Amazing Music Video with Supermassive. Due to my commitments as a venue manager, unfortunately I could only attend each one in dribs and drabs, except for the Tower Block screening. I watched Supermassive talk about making music videos, in which they played Gangnam Style without the music, allowing the audience to understand that music videos might seem bonkers, and they are more so without the music playing over the top, but music videos are crucial to the context of the music. A lot of music is consumed digitally, whether it’s on YouTube, through iTunes or simply by posting a video on Facebook or Twitter. It emphasised the need for revolutionary and new ways to communicate music.
The screening of Tower Block was met with a small crowd, unfortunately, due to last minute programme changes, the screening had a lack of advertising, but this added to the atmosphere, especially during the Q&A with James Moran (which again another last minute request had me hosting the Q&A!) the session felt more intimate. It was fascinating listening to his answers, I think sometimes we get swept up in the actors and the directors in films, but actually the ones who come up with the ideas are the writers. It’s in their heads, and arguably serves as a gateway into their thinking process, their culture and ideologies.
Once we’d tidied away all our crisp wrappers and chocolate and fizzy drinks (staple diet of a volunteer) I made my way home and slouched on the sofa with my boyfriend, we ordered a Chinese and caught up on telly. I needed rest before I did it all over again on Sunday!
Sunday is covered in part 2 of this blog, coming to a small screen near you!