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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Edinburgh 2013: Day I - First Impressions at a Film Festival

Part of Connor McMorran's coverage for MKC of the Edinburgh International Film Festival (June 19-30, 2013).

Today was the first time I had ever attended a film festival. I had always longed to go to various different ones, but for various reasons – be it price or distance – I just never managed to make them. Perhaps because of this, film festivals have always seemed like magical places to me; places where you get to see a wide range of films, some of which may never screen in the country again. I have, over the years, looked at many programmes and hoped that some company would release these films in the UK at a later date. For the most part, this never happened.

Today also marked the first time I have ever worked with a press pass. Again, the idea of a press pass carried certain mysticism in my head, allowing you to watch films for free and possibly get to talk with various directors or stars. So today, I got my first ever press pass and attended my first ever film festival, and it turns out the whole thing is just like going to the cinema, expect that you get to see the film for free.

If it sounds like I’m bitter then I assure you I’m not, rather I’m somewhat confused by why I thought a film festival, or indeed a press pass, would alter the very act of watching a film to such a degree. Ultimately no matter how you attend a film festival, as press, guest or part of the public audience, everyone watches the film in the same way. If this sounds incredibly obvious, that’s because it is. Reflecting on it on my journey home - this grand realisation - I arrived at the conclusion that this is exactly how a film festival should be. Ultimately, it is the films themselves which are important, and the film festival is little more than the vehicle which allows these films to play to audiences beyond their usual markets. That people can come and watch a range of films in their local or nearby cinemas which otherwise would never be shown there is a truly great thing, and with the wealth of advertising I saw around Edinburgh today, I truly hope that many people will come and enjoy the films on show.

As for today, I only managed to see one film.

I See a Terrible Cat (2012, Japan)

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