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.
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