No matter how hard it is trying, the weather is still not able to make the 66th Edinburgh International Film Festival a wash out as I spent my third day of attendance.
As I battled my way up Lothian Road against the clashes of umbrellas, I went inside to the Filmhouse grabbing a coffee to take into first of three talks of the day. This was a panel discussion on Film Festivals in the Digital Age with rise of digital technology it questions that we are seeing the decline of physical attendance or the continuation that festivals will continue to physical bring people together. While the discussion went on there was moment that it was about to move to the subject of copyright and digital downloads which as stated by the panel would an interesting talk for next year’s festival.
Just as the discussion was getting interesting, it was time to end and make room for the next screening. Another coffee grabbing, I made my way to next discussion on Film Restoration in the Digital Age which proved to be one most fascination to me so far in how much I did not know about film. It is outstanding that there are people out there that are willing to rejuvenate old films with new life and for a new generation. There many skills and long efforts taken by the laboratory staff that goes through to bring us these films and I, for one, thank them which will be rewarded by going to those films when screened.
There was also something sad from this talk, that while there were massive efforts taken by these people with big names funding them, it may have been a losing fight as these restorations need to be made every five years. While best efforts are being against the drop in skill sets and hopes pinned on that technology will overcome this issue of degradation. A question raised is that by the time that technology comes in what films will have become extinct. Therefore, the next time you go by the local theatre and see some old movie being shown, you might want to pop in and watch it because it may the last screening – ever!
One more thing before I move on, I would have enjoyed the discussion more if not for one thing. The people in the back row were whispering in my only hearing ear while the panel was talking, including occasional taking flash images making my eye twitch afterwards. This adds to an irritation that I had with the previous discussion where people were coming in and going during the talk. Perhaps another discussion for next year’s festival can be something entitled like Audience, mind yer manners!
I gave up on trying to find a seat in the cafe due to everyone taken over with coffees, soups and laptops. I headed outside for a quick snack before coming back for final talk, Contemporary Cinematic Soundscapes. This was the second lecture put on by the open studies programme, it was highly enjoyable and well delivered given me a new perspective plus a few films to look out for as well. Unfortunately, like the first discussion just as it was getting going it was time to end though it has made my decision to follow more on the Open Studies programme at the start of September on film studies.
With a couple of hours to spare, I caught up with some folk from work before coming back to watch the film – The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus. I will say this about Alexandre, he is a bad man because he made me cry with laughter with this film. A comically well made film with animation and interviews around the major influence of one little octopus embracing the pop culture that surrounds us.
What also made this a great way to end the day was the question and answer session with the film’s director and crew. This is what makes coming to the independent cinema a great as it enhances the personal experience of enjoying a film night out. You will not find this sort of thing at the local commercial chain of cinema or in Hollywood. It gives the filmgoer an opportunity to get close and even manage to grab a memento or two such taken a personal photo and a signed cinema ticket. Who knows where it can led to, maybe in thirty years another younger filmmaker will be doing a documentary on Alexandre and there is a sixty year old coot in it waving that ticket saying ‘I was there!’
Alexandre let slip what his next project is going to be and I am eager to follow given that it is something I wanted to know myself. I am not telling, it will have to be visually experienced in a cinema.