Sunday, November 25, 2007

Brief Encounter

From the best festival experience yet to the worst.

The Dawn Chorus is my first film to be selected at the 'best short film festival in the UK' and so I was more than a little excited as I headed to the Watershed for the Encounters Short Film Festival screening on Friday night. I arrived early, hoping to see another programme of films first, only to find that it was all sold out and there weren't any filmmaker tickets reserved or available. Dammit. Anyway, I went to get a sandwich at the bar next door, and after waiting 30 mins was told that, ooops, the waiter hadn't given the order to the kitchen. Grrr...

So I head upstairs to the Film Council party, which was fun, and saw lots of familiar faces. But then had to rush into the screening. We're in Cinema 1 - which seats about 200 and is full to bursting. It's the hippest audience I've ever seen - everyone is under 25, with trendy hair and stripey jumpers. The programme is given a big UP from the programmer, Mark Cosgrove, who tells us to get ready for scarey and weird short films.

After the first 3 films two things are clear:
1. This is a programme of genre films, with flying red-eyed hamsters, blood-thirsty ogres and not much brain activity required
2. The audience doesn't think much of any of them.

Oh, and half way through the third film this beat begins, which I think might be some kind of expressive sound design, but it's soon clear that there is some kind of live music downstairs, and everyone is vibrating from the bass coming through the floor of the cinema.

My film starts, and the audience is silent. They listen hard over the music we can hear from below. They sort of get the film, at least a few people laugh by the end, but it's not a great reaction. When the film finishes, the guy next to me leans over and says to his friend 'Another duff one'.

I stay for one more film, and then leave. I go and complain to a member of staff and hear that the festival doesn't have any control over the bar below. However, I soon find out that the same thing happened the night before. And given that the festival has been in this venue for years, and that there's been a late lounge programme for a while, it seems pretty lame that they haven't sorted this out before now.


This is Captain Serious, over and out.


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