Indie-credible: Tweeting the Cornwall Film Festival

Emma Farley tweets from the Cornwall Film Festival, which took place this past weekend…

In absence of any real time for blogging at the weekend, I decided to tweet from the Cornwall Film Festival. I have written an overview of the festival for my film column in the local paper and will be posting various reviews over the next couple of days. I wanted to take a different approach for my Indie-credible column – I thought I’d make it a bit more personal and expand on my tweets. If you’re reading this, you’re clearly a fan of film festivals and independent cinema, like me, so this post will focus on what the festival meant to me.

On the way to Falmouth for the Cornwall Film Festival. Volunteering this afternoon and watching Another Year this evening :)
10:30 AM Nov 5th via Twitter for BlackBerry®

If I can’t make a living out of writing about film, I would love a career in film marketing or working at festivals. To build on my existing experience, I volunteered at the festival office one day a week in the few weeks leading up to the main event. I basically maintained social media activity and wrote a few press releases but I also volunteered as an usher at the festival itself. There were some financial difficulties this year and it was important to me to be able to get involved as much as possible, so I was more than happy to give up my time.

Watching trailers b4 1st screening. Gotta say Tron doesn’t interest me in the slightest but wanna see Love & Other Drugs and The Fighter
1:18 PM Nov 5th via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Ooh and the Coen Bros True Grit. Tiny bit disturbed by Matt Damon’s ‘tache and sideburns though
1:21 PM Nov 5th via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Holy shit this is an awesome screen. Mini tables for drinks and super comfy single and two-person seats. Niiiice
1:23 PM Nov 5th via Twitter for BlackBerry®

I am so moving into this cinema. Sooo comfy and with oodles of leg room
2:53 PM Nov 5th via Twitter for BlackBerry®

As much as I like my local cinema (it’s my favourite place in the world – sad, huh?), it’s always nice to sit in a bigger cinema. My best friend lives in Cardiff and every time I visit her I insist on going to one of the multiplexes. Having a cup holder and being able to stretch my legs is a novelty that will never wear off. The Phoenix Cinema in Falmouth is part of the chain that my own cinema (The Savoy) belongs to but it is much more modern and recently won an award for UK Independent Cinema of the Year.

The Open Sky made me remember how much I love where I live
2:55 PM Nov 5th via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Surprisingly, I only saw two Cornish films this year. Volunteering duties meant that I prioritized the big name features over the Cornish shorts – I only saw this one because I volunteered as an usher for the screening. The Open Sky is a documentary about watercolour artists who came to Newlyn to work and, although I’m not remotely interested in that kind of art, it was fascinating to watch as it was filmed down the road from where I live. I moan a lot about living in Cornwall, particularly regarding the difficulty of trying to build a career in media down here, but the film was so beautifully shot that I couldn’t help being reminded that I don’t really want to live anywhere else.

Strange. There’s a woman in the cinema eating a banana. Altho not quite as strange as the guy who brought a newspaper with him last night
2:56 PM Nov 5th via Twitter for BlackBerry®

The night before the Cornwall Film Festival I saw The Town in Penzance and was amazed when a bloke pulled a newspaper out of his bag and started reading it – granted it was before the film started but I was still surprised. I’m often shocked by people’s behaviour in cinemas (particularly the young ‘uns who kick the back of my seat and sit there texting for two hours) but I found eating a banana particularly strange. What’s wrong with good old fashioned popcorn or, my former favourite, chocolate covered raisins?

Just met an over-excited bloke keen to get more film and music stuff going on in my local area. Things are looking up :)
3:36 PM Nov 5th via Twitter for BlackBerry®

I’ve talked before about the lack of opportunities to watch independent and foreign films on the big screen in Cornwall. As a committee member of the Penwith Film Society, I play a part in selecting the films that are screened and I’m always looking for the chance to get more involved. I met a guy called Nigel who puts on similar screenings in Falmouth and he wants to find a way to get younger people out to see them and do some more stuff in Penzance at the Acorn Theatre. I’m hopeful that something good will come out of this chance encounter.

Seriously loving watching all these trailers. Check out the one for The Four-Faced Liar
4:30 PM Nov 5th via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Loving the atmosphere at the opening party. Shame about watching the Yogi Bear trailer AGAIN. Food is most yummy though
5 November 2010 18:37:34 GMT via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Skynt: first ever Cornish language musical. Hilarious and unmissable
5 November 2010 22:00:32 GMT via Twitter for BlackBerry®

The Govyn Kernewek Award is a £5000 commission to make a short film in the Cornish language. Last year’s winning entry was screened several times at the Festival and I saw it before Another Year. I think a lot of people have unfair preconceptions about Cornish films and I’m glad that director Ian Bucknole and producer Luke Martin have created such a fun and entertaining film.

Another Year made me wanna slit my wrists but was well written & Lesley Manville was fabulous. Got hopes up 4 a Mike Leigh appearance nxt yr
5 November 2010 22:02:32 GMT via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Mike Leigh is the Festival Patron and came down a few years ago for the release of Vera Drake. As Another Year was released nationwide at the weekend, he was unable to attend the festival due to other publicity commitments. Rumour has it however that he may make it down next year for the tenth anniversary.

Back to the whole ‘slitting my wrists’ comment, I feel I should explain. At the tender age of 22, I didn’t imagine there would be much for me to relate to in a film about an old married couple and their single friends. Turns out, Another Year put the fear of God in me that I’m going to end up just like Mary! She’s a cat lady without the cats – single, childless, stuck in an average job, unhappy but putting on a front. I can totally see myself like that 40 years down the line, imposing on my friend and her partner for dinner, turning into a drunk mess and outstaying my welcome. Although I hope that I would never flirt with her son!

May skip Bad Taste tomorrow in favour of lie-in. Knackered & have chesty cough – extra beauty sleep needed methinks. Can’t wait 4 The Arbor
5 November 2010 23:50:00 GMT via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Love the feeling I get when I first flick through the latest issue of Little White Lies. This is why I want to be a film journalist
6 November 2010 11:10:58 GMT via web

Little White Lies is my favourite film magazine as it perfectly balances in-depth features, engaging reviews and interesting production design. Even when the cover film isn’t one I’m particularly interested in, I still read every page of the issue, including reviews of films I would otherwise skip in other publications. I hope that my opinion is as important as that to someone one day.

On the way back to Falmouth to volunteer this afternoon and watch Skeletons this evening with special guest intro and Q&A
6 November 2010 12:39:04 GMT via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Isn’t all film manipulation?
6 November 2010 16:19:39 GMT via Twitter for BlackBerry®

I sat in on a talk this afternoon that dissected the screenplay for The Shawshank Redemption. At the end of the discussion, an audience member told the lecturer that although he loves the film, a friend of his doesn’t because he feels manipulated by it. This got me thinking; surely all film manipulates you? It plays with your expectations and emotions. Rather than being pissed with the filmmaker for making me question the innocence of the protagonist, I choose to celebrate their ability to keep me guessing. It’s what I love about such films as Memento and Shutter Island.

Two hours to kill before Skeletons. VIP party it is – free wine and cake!
6 November 2010 19:08:58 GMT via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Skeletons screening reminded me why I love independent films and British cinema and the importance of film festivals
6 November 2010 22:35:31 GMT via Twitter for BlackBerry®

The film’s stars, Andy Buckley and Ed Gaughan, spoke about their experiences on the film following the screening and it was fascinating to learn the importance of their early short with director Nick Whitfield and its success at other festivals. Turns out the guys made a short film with a view to just showing it to their friends and family, they were encouraged to submit it to festivals and then they were given £50,000 to develop it into a feature! Incredible.

Last day of the Festival already. Luckily I have a packed schedule to keep me entertained – volunteering this morning followed by 3 films
7 November 2010 09:04:36 GMT via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Reading Little White Lies while waiting 4 connecting train. On 3D: ‘the future of cinema or cultural vandalism?’
7 November 2010 10:05:06 GMT via Twitter for BlackBerry®

God I love this magazine. More on 3D: ‘a financial crutch rather than a creative statement’. Totally agreed
7 November 2010 10:06:45 GMT via Twitter for BlackBerry®

In case it wasn’t obvious, I’m not exactly a fan of 3D. I think some of the best films are fascinating in their simplicity – It Happened One Night, Garden State, The Station Agent… I think it’s a shame when filmmakers think they need millions of dollars worth of effects and technology to try and engage an audience.

The Arbor: unlike anything I’ve seen before. Fascinating documentary/adaptation. Not heard much of Dunbar b4 but will def check out her work
about 17 hours ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

I had heard of but never seen Rita, Sue and Bob Too and I didn’t know much about Andrea Dunbar aside from details I read in the odd film review over the last couple of weeks. The Arbor is an incredible piece of filmmaking. Part documentary, part adaptation, the film features actors lip synching to interview clips spoken by Dubar’s family and colleagues, interspersed with old news pieces and scenes of her debut play, The Arbor, acted out by Natalie Gavin, Danny Webb and Jimi Mistry. Filmed on the estate where the Dunbar family lived, The Arbor is as raw and authentic as you can get. Natalie Gavin and Danny Webb held a Q&A after the screening and spoke a lot about the family’s reaction to the film as well as the reactions of those still living on the estate. If, like me, you don’t know much about Dunbar, you’ll still find yourself completely immersed in Clio Barnard’s honest and harrowing film.

Catfish: totally wasn’t expecting that!
about 17 hours ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you who haven’t seen it, so I’ll just say this: re-thinking my thoughts on manipulation. Check out more in-depth and spoiler-heavy comments on my blog soon.

Oh good God; someone has just pulled a blanket out in the cinema and put it over their legs! There are some weird people around
about 16 hours ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Restrepo: powerful doc, deserving of the praise heaped upon it. Catch it on DVD Nov 29th
about 12 hours ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

I’m not usually one for documentaries; for some reason I find it easier to lose myself in fiction. Maybe it has something to do with the agenda of the filmmaker and being unable to trust what I’m seeing – at least with The Hurt Locker I know the story itself is entirely fictional. Restrepo, however, managed to fully engage me as a viewer and I was totally sucked into the ‘story’. I’m still aware that there is an agenda, and given that the deployment lasted 15 months there was a lot that wasn’t included but I am impressed with the filmmakers’ ability to make me laugh out loud and move me to the brink of tears.

Festival over for another year. Now sleeeeep before the numerous overviews and reviews in the morning
about 12 hours ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Emma Farley a.k.a. filmgeek