Daily Archives: September 3, 2012

The curtain falls on Whitley Bay Film Festival 2012.

So, the sun has set on Whitley Bay Film Festival 2012 and I’m already excited for 2013! This post is about Whitley Bay Film Festival  2012 and why it was the highlight of the year for me.

After 14 days, 17 films, 12 indie shorts, 7 community shorts, 2 Arthouse evenings and 1 busker’s night, the festival has come to an end. So why do I think it is the greatest event of the year?

Whitley Bay Film Festival is run purely by volunteers and the wonderful spirit demonstrated by these volunteers during every event was impressive. The smiles on their faces, their genuine interest in whether everyone had enjoyed the film and the great deal of effort, thought and preparation that was taken is like none I’ve never witnessed before. Certain multiplexes (and other retail operations) would benefit greatly by having their staff train with Whitley Bay volunteers.

I’ve seen some classic films and some independent shorts that could be regarded as classics in a few years. Visitors to The Playhouse also got an exclusive peek at the trailer for ‘The Spies of Warsaw’ which is due to be screened on BBC later this year. The films that have screened at the film festival have been broad in range and there’s certainly been something for everyone. Not only did the film festival show films but they hosted animation classes, an art exhibition and music events, it was culture-filled.

Audience members were encouraged to get as involved as they like. Zombies shuffling out into the crowd during a film, glitter cannons exploding at the end of another movie and the costumes donned by the volunteers made the events truly memorable.

By planning surprises like the piano on Whitley Bay beach and arranging special guests like Dorothy & Toto at the beginning of ‘Wizard of Oz’ and an owl during ‘The Birds’, volunteers demonstrated their ability to add another dimension to film viewings.

Whitley Bay Film Festival helped me connect with like-minded people. Whether I attended screenings or alone, there was always someone to chat with who was equally as enthusiastic as I was. In Pantrini’s one evening, when a girl and her mum started enthusing about the film festival. They’d just been to see ‘Wizard of Oz’ and were treating themselves to a fish supper. I’ve chatted with people during the Arthouses exhibition and the Independent Shorts evening. The people I met at St Mary’s Lighthouse allowed me to geek out with total freedom and they made great film companions.

The choice in venues made me remember that Whitley Bay is not just a place for drunk stags and hens but a place of beauty and culture. I’ve learned about the regular busker’s and film nights at the Trojan Rooms which had previously gone unnoticed by me. Thanks to visits to St Mary’s Lighthouse and The Dome (among other places), I have fallen in love with Whitley all over again.

See  you in 2013.

Vic x

To read my Whitley Bay Film Festival blog posts, please visit http://whitleybayfilmfestival.co.uk/.

To watch WBFF’s ‘Dawn of the Dead’ night, click http://vimeo.com/48272172

Getting to Know You: Stephanie Butland

As regular readers of the blog will know, I recently read ‘How I Said Bah! to Cancer: A Guide to Thinking, Living, Laughing and Dancing Your Way Through’ by Stephanie Butland and loved it. Thankfully, I have not had a cancer but Stephanie’s book made such an impact on me (and I know that it has been massively inspiring to many people dancing with cancer and the people supporting them through it).

Today, I am absolutely thrilled to have the privilege of having Stephanie on the blog to celebrate the launch of her new book ‘Thrive: The Bah! Guide to Wellness after Cancer’.

I’m delighted to be here, on the first day of the blog tour to celebrate the launch of ‘Thrive: the Bah! Guide to wellness after cancer.’

And, as someone who was danced with cancer and lived to show the blisters, I’m delighted to be here, period.

When I asked Victoria whether she had any thoughts about what to write a guest post about, she said, ‘would you like to write about how positive thinking saved your life’?

I said yes, but I meant, ‘Hmm’.

You see, despite my reputation as something of a poster-girl for positivity, I’m not convinced that positive thinking did the saving. I think the unsubtle and brutally effective slash, poison and burn of cancer treatment did it. The scalpels and the needles and the drugs that made me sick and the scorching radiotherapy saved my life.


I went into every one of these procedures with the expectation that I would get well again. And so I behaved as though I would get well again. I took my tablets, I went to my hospital appointments, I called my doctor when I thought things weren’t right, I called my mother when I was blue. I took my temperature morning, noon and night so that if any infections crept in I would know about them in time to do something about it. I annoyed the hell out of my oncologist with questions about symptoms and side effects and the point at which ‘kill or cure’ stopped being a figure of speech.

Would I have taken such positive action if I didn’t have a positive mindset? I don’t know.

The medical profession is spending more and more time and energy on understanding how our thoughts influence our recovery. Dr. David Hamilton, who wrote the introduction to ‘Thrive: the Bah! Guide to wellness after cancer’, is an expert on the placebo effect and passionate about the work we can do with our minds to heal our bodies.

So perhaps Victoria is right and positive thinking did save my life. Positive thinking is certainly what is helping me to thrive. There’s a long journey between surviving and being well, and although it’s not easy, it’s sure as hell worth the view. But my caveat is this: positive thinking works when it leads to positive, purposeful action. Identifying what we are afraid of, where we are struggling, the things that our instinct tells us are not quite right, isn’t enough. We have to then do something about it. And I don’t think that applies only to cancer.

Tomorrow Shelley Harris has Stephanie on her blog, go to  http://shelleyharris.co.uk to read what Stephanie has to say.

Stephanie still posts on her blog: http://bahtocancer.com/

Download your copy of ‘Thrive: The Bah! Guide to wellness after Cancer’ here: http://amzn.to/OBFmjK

Order your copy of ‘Thrive’ here: http://amzn.to/NsCIKh

Download your copy of ‘How I Said Bah! to cancer’ here: http://amzn.to/O4FcAM

Order your copy of ‘Bah!’ here: http://amzn.to/Sr9yBK