The festival had begun. All the preparation had come down to this and I was finally starting to see the hard work pay off.
The first screening was upon us and it was the Drama category. This category was for fiction films over 90 seconds but under 10 minutes that didn’t fit in to any of the other categories. We had the screening at the Savoy cinema in Lenton which was a really nice little 1970’s style venue that has kept its charm throughout the years. Before the actual screening of the films there was a brief 20 minute talk Micahel Eaton who is an award winning dramatist who’s worked for companies such as Channel 4, BBC and ITV. I think that the pre-screening talk provided a quick insight in to the industry and some really interesting anecdotes for the audience. It also emphasised the purpose of the festival which was not just to screen films but to provide opportunities for local filmmakers to learn and network. I was given the task of making sure that the presentation could work through the cinema’s projector – which was massive – and to also switch to the screening after the Q&A session as discreetly as possible. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in control of a cinema projector but it was a real power trip for me. I finally managed to get the file to work and for the next 90 minutes we were all treated to a variety of just incredible short films. I won’t go into detail about the content but I will say that there is some really talented, creative filmmakers out there and we were thrilled to be able to give their hard work a platform to be appreciated.
The next day was a big day for the festival. There were 4 events taking place throughout the day across 2 seperate locations in Nottingham. This required an early start at the National VideoGame Arcade (otherwise known as Gamecity) where we were treated to a presentation and a tour of the museum by the owner Iain Simons. Now I’d never been to the NVA before and I can’t stress how amazed I was by what was on show. I felt like a kid in a toy
factory and that’s essentially what it was. Pac Man and Donkey Kong Arcade Games were both on show. Atari, Gamecube, Playstation and much much more. I felt that this was very important to the festival as it was incorporating another form of media (Gaming Culture) within it and added another dimension to what we had to offer to the public. It also introduced people like me to unique locations within Nottingham that I probably wouldn’t have heard of otherwise. Whilst this exhibition did not have the biggest audience turn out in the world, that played in to the favour of the people who did attend as they treated to a much more personal experience from the tour.
Later that morning was a real treat. Talking about her career in Hollywood as a Visual FX producer over the past 40 years was Francine Marchetti. CGI plays a very important role in Hollywood and most feature films. It is almost a guarantee that any major action or sci-fi film will use CGI at some point. Francine explained what it was like to be a senior member of a VFX production team and what it was like working on films such as Jurassic World and Life of Pi which was an incredible story to hear. The amount of layering and effects used on films like that is insane and the presentation gave a crucial insight in to an ever growing industry, that doesn’t have much spotlight on individuals so it was nice to hear from someone high up in Hollywood what actually goes in to a blockbuster.
The next guest speaker was Seb Burnett who owned his own animation company called Rumpus Animation. Their biggest project at the time was a click & play animation adventure called Bertram Fiddle. The story follows the unique character through victorian England as you have to solve a mystery by clicking on things to investigate. This was the perfect guest speaker to follow Francine as Seb talked about how he got in to animation and offered advice to the audience about what software is best to start from and the steps you should take. It was a very interesting few hours as we got to learn about the inner-workings of Hollywood CGI and what modern technology can achieve in film. Then we were treated to an introduction to animation and how to go about getting in an industry that seems to hold it’s cards very close to its chest.
After a quick lunch break the day resumed with the screening of the Animation category. Wow. Just thinking back to it now, there was some extraordinary films on display. The variety of styles and story was just incredible and if you haven’t done so already I strongly suggest finding our channel on YouTube and looking at some of the films we had on offer. The screening was a brilliant end to a day focused on teachnology and how it is being used with the film industry, not to mention advice on how to create your own app or mini-series.