Ask yourself, on the bare bones of it, what are the most common hobbies? Everyone likes listening to music, watching movies and reading magazines and books to some extent. However, only one of these seems to have firmly planted itself into our social life and and we’ve subsequently created long weekends out of the hobby, in huge muddy fields drinking alcoholic beverages. The music festival cannot be compared to the civilised nature of film festivals.
The music festival revolves around a social aspect, of singing with your friends rubbing up against stranger’s sweat, getting blind drunk and falling on your tent in the hopes your hangover won’t be that bad the next day. A film festival is about meticulously planning how many films you can watch in one day and how long it will take you to run to the next venue then you sit quietly either by yourself or with one or two like-minded friends.
Really the two are incomparable… But, they’ve both grown from the fact that we love music and we love films. So why do we get every kind of person at a music festival and only the most serious of film fans at festivals? Here’s why I think more people should go to film festivals…
Why do people go to Film Festivals…
1. The chance to discover new tastes
You never, I repeat, never ever ever get more variety of genres and cultures than you do at a film festival. You just don’t. The first proper film festival I went to was the Berlinale Film Festival four years ago (and I’m going again in a week eeeee I’m excited!) and I saw Danish film Magi I Luften (2011) which was the most bonkers coming of age film I have ever seen, actually it’s in the top 3 most bonkers films I have ever seen. My point is that there’s a plethora of creativity, talent and entertainment outside of our Hollywood and English Language bubble and it’s well worth taking a step outside your usual film fare.
2. To rediscover old favourites
At Glasgow Film Festival early last year, they had a little Powell and Pressburger theme going on since some of their movies had recently been restored to look better than ever. It’s quite common at Film Festivals to show old movies on the big screen and maybe accompany them with a new score or perhaps they go with a Season (for example I watched Freaks (1932) at HOME when they were having a Circus theme). I love Powell and Pressburger but had never seen The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) before so decided to give it a go. It wasn’t my thing and certainly no where near my favourite Powell and Pressburger film but it looked beautiful on the big screen and I can imagine many of the other classics would too.
3. Sometimes meet new, like-minded people
At Parklife music festival in 2013, I was by myself watching The Horrors near the front of the tent. Another girl around my age struck up a conversation with me along the lines of ‘my friends didn’t want to watch The Horrors either but I couldn’t miss them.’ I bet if I’d have actually liked The Horrors and wasn’t only there because I’d lost my friends, that could have been the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Ah well.
But that’s the beauty of festivals. they really do bring people together with common interests and most often at the unlikeliest of times.
4. The genres, types, countries of film festivals are endless
Only really like documentaries? You need to get yourself over to Sheffield Doc Fest! How about only a fan of mountaineering films? You need Kendal my friend! Only like Spanish films, or anime or LGBT? There’s a film festival for everyone. Heading over to Berlin, or London, or Toronto? Check out the film scene, and some of the best film festivals in the world! The ways to enjoy film, the possibilities to learn and enjoy are staggering and more people should be aware of this.
Do you frequent any film festivals? Do you delight in the anti-socialness of them as much as I do?