iPlayer Radio What's New?

Who Cares About Festivals?

Tuesday 24 April 2012, 17:20

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

Tagged with:

This Friday Robert Redford is coming on the 5 live programme to talk about launching Sundance London.

What I want to know is are festivals really important and who goes to them?

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructionsIf you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit Mark's blog to view the video.

Related Posts on Kermode Uncut
Ray's Top Five

Mark's reviews on 5 live
Take your pick from Mark's A-Z

Hear Mark Kermode review the week's new films every Friday from 2pm on BBC Radio 5 live. Kermode & Mayo's Film Review is also available as a free podcast to download and keep.

Tagged with:

Comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1.

    I went to Cannes twice and the only films I managed to get to see was a fabulous documentary called 'The Story of the Weeping Camel' which was an early morning screening that was viewed on no sleep and an emerging hangover, Gus Van Sants 'Elephant' and 'Kill Bill part deux'. Two out of the three films ended up being really good and Kill Bill became somewhere to have a nice long snooze in between the rambling dialogue.
    Being there trying to sell a few films i had worked on clouded my idea of what the festival was like and it would be nice to go back and actually experience the place without running from meeting to meeting, party to party and trying to avoid wading in the quagmire of bullshit that flows around the place.
    over the last decade i have helped out at the London Sci-Fi film festival and that has been a totally different experience. I have managed to see some fantastic films from around the world (some bad, a few terrible and quite a lot excellent.) I even managed to have a lightsaber fight with David Prowse crutches until he walked out of the screening he was presenting and caught us making silly noises and duelling with his NHS appendages.
    All in all i believe festivals can be enjoyed if you are a punter but avoided if you are there in a working capacity.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 2.

    having thoroughly enjoyed the dodge brothers and The Ghost @ Cambridge this weekend I am loathe to say anything bad about festivals. also a few years ago I went to a silent film festival @ Harwich Electric Palace which was fantastic.

    It is in this space that I think festivals work best where they are enabling people to see cinema that would otherwise be inaccessible.

    My grouch however is to do with the international festival circuit and having to wait until January the following year for a UK release date for films that have been premièred at Cannes or Venice eg Brokeback Mountain and more recently Shame.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 3.

    Bradford is a great film festival as its one of the places that shows pretty much exclusively classic films. I also believe it houses one of the three working Cinerama screens in the world, and every other year they play Stanley Kubrick's 2001 in Cinerama as well as How the West Was Won and other films that were filmed for the format.

    That's exciting for me. Cannes/Toronto/Venice have no interest because they are showing films which I will eventually see as they are released throughout that respective year, but Bradford and other festivals show films which are older than I am and films which I have never before had the chance to see before other than on DVD. And I think that's important, it gives audiences a chance to see those films properly, as well as screening other obscure classics from actors or directors which may never have been seen

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 4.

    Within a week of having moved to London to study film, a friend scored tickets to Che Part 1 at the London Film Festival. The screening followed by a Q&A with Steven Soderbergh took place in a huge Leicester Square cinema. Having grown up in Cornwall having only access to a tiny Wadebridge cinema, the experience blew my mind. Watching a film that I not only enjoyed in the perfect environment with the opportunity to ask the director everything and anything, is something that I won't forget in a long time.

    I have since attended many such screenings and every time I feel that not only my understanding and insight of a particular film is expanded but of 'film' as a whole.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 5.

    I've never been to a film festival even though I do live in Toronto, but I would say Cannes is the one I'm most interested in. I'm sure as Mark describes, it's absolutely horrible trying to get in to screenings, but being able to get a peek at some of the most exciting films of the year many months in advance of them coming out is always quite exciting, and the line up this year looks really really strong.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 6.

    I've only been to the Mar De Plata International Film Festival in Argentina and I really enjoyed the vibe and atmosphere, a place where film fans and filmmakers alike can sit down and watch films in a secluded and calm atmosphere in a breathtaking setting.

    However its the Cannes Film Festival that's the most significant. Not because of prestige, although that does help shift films from the arthouses into the mainstream (Drive is one main example) However the main reason of its importance is that the festival is the world's film hypermarket. Funds are raised for future films and also distributors buy up films for the territory they represent. Not to mention in recent years the festival has become instrumental in premiering summer blockbusters. I read that during the 1980s when Cannon was running the rings around the film world, the festival became the main outlet for exploitation and straight to video stock, and if The Last Exorcism is anything to go by, then things haven't changed so much.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 7.

    Dr K,
    You say “just a bunch of critics and filmmakers” like it’s a bad thing. The festival concept, for good or ill, represents a reaction to what an increasing number of people feel is banal, studio cinema.

    Having never been to a festival myself, I can imagine that there is also a good amount of pretention and snobbery, but if quality movies find audiences and distributers, then the whole exercise is worth it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 8.

    As a Colonial Commoner (American-born Canadian), I’m lucky enough to be able to attend the Toronto International Film Festival. This film festival is known as “the people’s festival,” and although it seems like every year it’s harder and more expensive to see the films, I think this moniker is still valid. TIFF can please everyone. There’s Oscar-bait (“Slumdog Millionaire” and “The King’s Speech” both won the People’s Choice Award at TIFF before they won Oscars), experimental, avant garde, the best of foreign language films, cutting-edge horror (the Midnight Madness screenings are among the most popular at the festival), documentaries, short films, and more.

    This festival has played a big role in my movie viewing life for the last 10 years. I promote lots of things I've seen at TIFF to my family and friends when the films show up in theatres or on DVD. The press may focus on the movie stars, directors, and producers, but thousands of ordinary folk from around the world come every year to immerse themselves in film.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 9.

    I went to the LIAF (london international animation festival) last year. It was the first time i'd ever been to a festival but i'm a big fan of animation so i thought i might as well go and see what it was like. I was amazed at the range of films shown from people I never would have been exposed to otherwise. Yes, film critics and industry insiders probably benefit the most from festivals but they are still a great way of spreading the word about smaller films and filmmakers who otherwise would pass under the radar.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 10.

    I think we need them for sure, are they always good or as in the bigger ones (Cannes, Edinburgh etc) accessible ticket wise for the non-critic is debatable. Sundance is proof of the massive contribution these can make to exposure of great low moneyed projects and should be saluted. I live in Edinburgh and although I usually don't get the time off to participate I love the atmosphere that our film festival brings to the city, and its great that in recent years they use mainstream cinemas to air art house or at least atypipcial films premiers in cineplex venues. Ta.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 11.

    I sort of care about the Cannes film festival in the sense that I'm usually interested in certain films and look forward to seeing them eventually. But it's not much fun reading a review and thinking, "Oh that sounds great, I'll be sure to see that in 6 months!"
    But in terms of actually going, I've only been to a few screenings at the LFF and am interested in going to some of the talks and also seeking out alternative festivals in London...

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 12.

    I admit, I've never been to a film festival and would like to go to one someday, but knowing about them through reviews and online blogs and news headings makes them, in my mind, really important. The audience is not just a bunch of actors and high-browed critics enjoying each other’s company, but also people, like me, excited to able to get a sneak peek or an advance screening at some of the most exciting films of the year many months in advance of them coming out, which is always quite exciting.

    But I would also say that film festivals can be important in the marketing campaign, Cannes being a key factor in that campaign and the one festival that most people interested in. For example, last year, The Artist and Melancholia premiered at Cannes, becoming hits there and generating massive hype and buzz for their official release at cinemas later in the year.

    So, in the end, film festivals do matter and are important.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 13.

    Living in the Netherlands I try to go to the International Film Festival in Rotterdam every year. It is a wonderful festival with a frankly ridiculous amount of films from all over the world showing all through the city during the week it lasts. It is beyond impossible to make an informed choice even with all the information provided so we always end up seeing surpising, strange and wonderful things. A great number of the films they show there, in particular the short films, will never be shown in a dutch cinema outside of the festival and will never be released on DVD, so it is a great pleasure to be able to see them at all. I must say I do tend to avoid the award ceremonies and things they have going on, but if that stuff helps make the festival possible, I think it's all good.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 14.

    As someone who is a young filmmaker trying to get an audience of some kind it would be near impossible for me to find one without film festivals. I think they're fantastic on the whole. And yes, the audience I may find might only be a panel of judges or the few that dare venture into short film screenings but otherwise how would independent filmmakers get their films seen?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 15.

    Dr K.

    There is not real festival that does it for me. What I love is the surprises that come out of them, the first reactions if you will which is where a lot of films get their first screenings. At some festivals its interesting to see which of the more higher profile films standout or fall flat on their face. This year's Cannes is interesting as the main competition features films that I'm very much looking forward to such as new films from John Hillcoat, Ken Loach, David Cronenberg to name but a few so it will be interesting to see how those films come across.

    Other times festivals work as a showcase for films that otherwise would struggle to see the light of day. Some films that I probably never would've heard of emerge from festivals to rapturous applause and praise, even you at times praise certain films that you see at festivals and further champion them on.

    So yes festivals are important for me as they show first reaction to films and sometimes highlight otherwise unknown films that I then seek out.

    And of course where would we be without the madness of some festivals. We need something to talk about. We need the madness of Cannes, of Von Trier making silly comments about being a nazi and all that. But that is purely a bonus. The main point are the films.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 16.

    When I was much younger and still had aspirations of taking the film world by storm, I attended the Telluride Film Festival for several years. I found the experience incredible - mingling with other potential filmmakers from all around the world, occasionally getting to interact with filmmakers I admire (Clint Eastwood was there one year to present White Hunter, Black Heart, Stephen Frears was there several times), getting to mingle in the same mob as legends like Jimmy Stewart, discussing films with Roger Ebert and Laura Dern, and seeing films of talented new directors (I saw Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs and Rodriguez's El Mariachi at the festival), all these are experiences I treasure. Yes, festivals are marketplaces (and I attended Cannes one year with a short film I was trying to market. I was a lousy marketer, but saw some good films) and the large ones (like Cannes and Toronto) can be overwhelming but small festivals where the filmmakers are accessible can be stimulating and can charge a film lover's soul. I know they do for me.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 17.

    It's these festivals that you, and then consequently me heard about Iron Sky so yes I pay attention to them

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 18.

    They are festivals. For films. Like Glastonbury and Cropredy are festivals for music. Surely whether or not they have any intrinsic artistic value is irrelevant; that isn't the point of them.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 19.

    Well if it wasn't for the Silent Film Festival I'd never have seen the last 5 seconds of 'Ghost' accompanied in D for the first time ... ;-) Love it, thanks.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 20.

    Fortune is part of it: Having been living in Edinburgh, The International Film Festival itself is just a part of the Edinburgh Festival(s): Film, Comedy, Jazz, Book, Theatres... the list goes on.

    It's a wee expensive, but you come across films you might have missed, you experience screenings of films perhaps before anyone has really heard of them and can pass on the vibe about them eg "Tears Of The Black Tiger": When people are out there making this sort of riot of a film Western-melodrama you have found enough reason already as a punter!

    Also The director of The Warrior (ok film) spoke to the audience about meeting other film people and in the FilmHouse (Hoose?) Cinema and that being the reason for it all starting. Also saw some films I've never heard about since (Tamil film about a village elder's new dachund that causes mayhem in the village over an afternoon!) so again unique opportunities.

    Again with London Film Festival, tickets get snapped up faast! So that's one of the problems, but with the venues eg Cameo in Edinburgh and other cinema venues that imo enhance the atmosphere, similar interests people together, it's worth getting hold of those tickets if you can.

 

Page 1 of 4

This entry is now closed for comments

Share this page

More Posts

Previous
Novel Ideas

Friday 20 April 2012, 10:36

Next
Film Club

Friday 27 April 2012, 12:53

About this Blog

Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark is the UK's leading film critic.

This twice-weekly video blog is the place where he airs his personal views on the things that most fire him up about cinema - and invites you to give your own opinions.

Blog Updates

Stay updated with the latest posts from the blog.

Subscribe using:

What are feeds?