The Cromarty Film Festival is unlike probably any other film festival in the world. As mentioned in the last post, Cromarty is a tiny place, nearly at the North Pole (okay, that’s a bit hyperbolic, but pretty close). There are barely over 700 citizens in the city. Why do they have a film festival?
Well, because they are such a small town where the sun sets before 4 pm in the winter, they have to have something to entertain themselves. So they create organizations where they can gather with friends and share a common interest. And then a Film Society is born. In the Film Society, they choose a theme for the entire year, and a film within the theme to show each month.
Seven years ago, they decided to start having a film festival the first weekend of December. Each year, it’s become more successful.
Our Screen Academy is lucky enough to have a good friendship with the Film Society in Cromarty, giving the opportunity for students like me to go to the festival and volunteer.
Our primary duties as volunteers were all those simple tasks that have to get done but no one likes doing:
- Setting up chairs, projectors, and screens
- Selling tickets and treats in the theatres
- Folding programs
- And other general errands.
Easy enough, but still rather boring. So when I say this past weekend was life-changing, why? What was the most rewarding part of all of this?
Everyone who came to the festival was there because they genuinely liked films. Who doesn’t? But this wasn’t like going to the cinema with your friends. It was like a huge family reunion, where you all watch something that someone in the room loves (because the Cromarty Film Festival is also known as “My Favourite Film Festival,” where guests not only show their recent work, but also one of their favorite films) and afterwards, you all chat about it. And for the most part, everyone respects each others’ opinions about the film, and then we all move on to the next screening. This was not a cold, critical look at new talent or established directors trying to break the rules. It was a place to gather and celebrate the art of film.
(This is the crowd gathered for Thelma and Louise on Friday night, the big opening.)