Manchester Film Festival 2012

Many thanks and Congratulations again to Andrew Oldbury and his team for putting on the first (of many?) Manchester Film Festivals last weekend. I was gutted as I had been snowed under with corporate work ad deadlines, meaning that I missed much of the festival. Something I hope to avoid when it comes for the 2013 MFF!

We had two films being shown, Bog Standard and The Watcher. We also found out fairly late on that they would also be up for awards as we were in the "Manchester Short Film" category.

Though an award would have been nice on the old mantlepiece, I was just genuinely chuffed that two films made it into a festival, and that we were being shown alongside some equally high calibre films such as Chris Cronin's "Ante" which stars a certain David Edward Robertson whose fiery face some folks might have recognised from The Watcher...

Ante (Short Film) from Chris Cronin on Vimeo

We didn't win any awards (Judges vote and Audience award respectively) but that isn't why I got into this film malarky; it was great just to see our work on a GIANT screen with real people in an audience! Though both Bog Standard and The Watcher have done well online (Bog Standard with over 20k views and counting!) there's something magic about showing films to real people on a real screen; its always a buzz.

Personally, I felt that "Somebody's Job" (Dirs: Pauline Dabrowski, Shane Fennelly, Esther Naagdenberg) and "Saving The Banana" (Dir: Pauline Dabrowski) were the two contenders for the award. Both films are embedded below, check them out! The former is about a Film Projectionist (a dying breed in the Digital Revolution) working at The Cornerhouse Cinema. The second film documented the campaign to save the famous/infamous Fruit & Veg stand on Manchester's Oxford Road. I also had a soft spot for "Life Library"(Dir: Amanda Belantara) as well. Though it was just a little too long it's humour was evident and it had some really touching moments.

Somebody's Job from Pauline Dabrowski on Vimeo

Saving the Banana from Pauline Dabrowski on Vimeo

All three of these films I've mentioned here are important films as each captures a little piece of 'active history' that will be soon be lost to us. In the case of Life Library's subject matter, Manchester Central Library, part of that history is already gone. The Library is undergoing a 21st Century renovation, and though it will no doubt be 'improved' when it returns, it simply won't be the same. Manchester constantly amazes me with how fast it physically changes; as such, these three films were the stand outs for me and what I'd have wanted to see with an award or two; especially in a category dubbed "Manchester" films.

But alas not everyone can win, and I wasn't on the panel! Neither my personal favourites nor our own humble movies took home the trophies. But as I say; I don't make films to win awards, I make films because I like telling stories to people, and love being behind a camera. The Watcher, Ante and Somebody's Job did all got a special mention from the judges though, which was nice as it was such a competitive category.

It was also nice to get a few giggles when a short clip from Bog Standard "cameo'd" in the background of Marek's TV during "The Watcher." It got a few polite laughs, and it's good to know people were paying attention to both films!

I wish I could talk about more of the festival, but "real life" and "real work" conspired against me to ruin my film festival intnetions. From what I've heard it was a great success and I hope to attend next year. Who knows, maybe with another film or two... Thanks again to the organisers and well done to everyone who had a film in any category over the weekend.

Winners everyone.

Joe O'Byrne (Dir: The Watcher)
& Colin Warhurst (Dir: Bog Standard)
Gurning for cameras since 2008