Please send me SCA's fortnightly briefing:

August 31, 2010

Glenrothes goes glitzy

Recently LPL has highlighted the growth of community cinema. While it may not have the cachet of Cannes, Venice or Edinburgh, Glenrothes is about to hold its first film festival. As well as its main programme which will focus on family friendly films, the Festival is holding a short film competition. Organisers have been inundated with entries from all sections of the community

It may not have the cachet of Cannes, Venice or Edinburgh, but the Fife town of Glenrothes is to hold its first film festival, an event its organisers hope will become a firm date on the calendar.

It will have a fairly modest start – a full day of films, with the emphasis on those suitable for family viewing – all films will have a British Board of Film Censors 12A certificate or lower. Showing at the same time as the film-fest, however, will be the winning entries in a short film competition, open to anyone, anywhere in Scotland.

Initially the competition was limited to film makers (and would-be film makers) in Glenrothes, who were asked to submit films of two to three minutes, themed around the town.

But there has been such a level of interest from further afield that mini movies on any theme will be accepted and entries can be made in genres including fiction, comedy, drama, horror, promotional, music and reportage. The only specification is that they must also be PG-certifiable. The competition is open to individuals, schools, community groups and businesses, who may be amateurs, film students or professionals.

G:2010, as the festival has been dubbed, will take place on Saturday 9 October, and one of the organisers, Pete Rabjohns, says the idea behind it was to create a festival that was both family-friendly and affordable.

‘Unless you live in a city, the chances of your getting to a film festival are slim. Most film festivals, by the adult nature of the films they show, can’t cater for young people and families and are very expensive.

‘We also wanted to run a free-to-enter short film competition that didn’t exclude anyone – competitors or audience, to encourage film makers of all ages and backgrounds to participate. We plan to show as many of the entries as possible throughout the day on a big screen, so that film makers can see how a real cinema-going audience reacts to their film. For many, it will be the first time they will have seen their film on anything bigger than a TV.’

Glenrothes’ inaugural film festival has received the welcome backing of veteran British film director, Ken Loach, who says: ‘Local film festivals are very important. The multiplexes show a very narrow range of films, but cinema has so much more to offer. Those who share a real enthusiasm for film and who put on festivals like Glenrothes are our hope for the future.’

But none of this would have been possible without the British Federation of Film Societies (BFFS), which helped to set up the Glenrothes Community Cinema, the moving force behind the film festival. And the BFFS itself receives financial support from the UK Film Council, which UK culture secretary Jeremy Hunt recently said will be axed.

‘If there is no more UK Film Council, there is no more BFFS,’ Pete Rabjohns points out. ‘If there is no more BFFS, there is no more support for community cinema and no more film festivals like Glenrothes.

‘We are certain that bringing the film-making community together with community cinemas can provide a richer, more interesting experience for audiences than they can ever find in a multiplex – but all this is now under threat.’