A year’s preparation; 10 days of festival, and zoom – it’s been and gone. That was the 25thanniversary of Bath Film Festival.
And what a festival – so much to be pleased about.
Pukka Herbs – makers of the world’s best (and coolest) herbal teas, among other things – sponsored this year’s F-Rated strand, a triumphant bonding of our creative genius and theirs, with 40% of our films achieving an F Rating.
Everywhere you went, Pukka tea was being served to happy punters, thrilled to get a free hot cuppa of A grade pleasure; culminating in the uber-trendy Pukka trailer being parked outside the Little Theatre on Saturday night, dispensing their finest beverages to all and sundry.
As Humphrey Bogart says to Claude Rains at the end of Casablanca, “I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
Other highlights include the IMDb Short film award. Our stunning panel of judges, headed by Col Needham of IMDb fame, included the soon-to-be-very-famous Otto Bathurst (Peaky Blinders), the legendary Lizzie Francke, brilliant Producer, Katie Swinden and the amazing Wendy Hughes. They watched our 5 shortlisted films, and made the tough decision of which one to choose as winner. They also spoke with great eloquence about their careers in the film industry, to the delight of the assembled audience.
No festival would be complete without a gang of happy sponsors, and we have very happy sponsors who come to the none-more-chic Opening Party, as well as the films they have so kindly supported. We appreciate and thank all those whose generosity makes the festival possible.
Equally (if not more) important are our fantastic audiences, who turn out in droves year after year, and are thrilled to be given the opportunity to see new films, many with special guests, which they would otherwise never have the chance to see.
The special guests are the cherry on the cake of the festival experience, and this year we had an exceptional collection of wonderful people, both in person and by Skype.
Susan Steinberg came to talk about her amazing film Mirrors to Windows: The Artist as Woman, along with Bath-born Raphaella Fearns who edited the film and acted as associate producer. Amber Fares spoke elegantly and eloquently about her amazing Palestinian documentary Speed Sisters; while Jennifer Redfearn was a superb speaker (from across the Atlantic) after our screening of her heart-warming/breaking film, Tocando La Luz, about 3 blind women in Cuba. To them and to all the others who came, we offer our grateful thanks for making the festival so special.
We are proud of many things, none more so than our programme, to which we devote a great deal of time and attention, and for which we receive a lot of appreciation. Audience members tell us how thrilled they are by the films we show and the one of our main funders, the BFI, use our programme as the benchmark by which other festival should measure the quality of the films they offer.
It doesn’t seem like 25 years since we started, but we’re thrilled to have made it this far, and look forward to many years to come.