Friday, June 30, 2006
Film fest shock!
Commonwealth Film Festival is closing June 30, for good.
This is bad news. Every year the festival showed an intriguing programme of films that might have trouble finding an audience otherwise, particularly emerging Asian cinema. When was the last time you saw a Malaysian movie at the cineplex?
It's not clear from the website why the festival is closing - and the way things are worded here, suggests that it was only intended to run for five years. If this was to be the last year all along, you'd think it would have been mentioned in the literature for this year's fest, but it wasn't. I'm guessing that money is the problem...
The Commonwealth, as an entity, doesn't seem to hold much water these days, and for younger folks it may actually possess a negative association, a reminder of Britain's distasteful imperial past. The film fest was launched in the runup to the Commonwealth Games, and managed to keep going for five years, which is a credit to its great staff. But festivals and organisations launched for such milestones (e.g. Capital of Culture) aren't always sustainable once the raft of grants and funding floats away to the next big cultural thing.
However, there's some good news too. I got this email today:
*Kinofilm launches MiFF... Manchester International Film Festival
*Filmmakers and lovers of cinema need to start planning right now
for a trip to Manchester between *26th October to 4th November
2007,* when *Kinofilm* launches the new biennial *Manchester
International Film Festival*. The new festival will combine an
eclectic mix of *Features, Shorts, Animation and Documentary*, and
will showcase exclusive premieres and outstanding new talent.
As well as promising to bring a feast of *International Independent
Cinema* to the *City of Manchester*, the festival will provide a
much needed platform for talented filmmakers from the UK, many of
whom have successfully made the transition from shorts to features.
The *Manchester International Film Festival* will champion original,
low budget and independent new features, and will include
retrospectives of such directors as *Lynne Ramsay *and* Damien O¹
Donnell* both of whom gained important early exposure through
What's up with all the *asterisks?* I have no clue either, but a new film festival is a good thing for the city, and a biennial one should be easier to sustain.