Arts & Culture

There’s an ongoing debate between film and TV these days.

With the rise of Original Netflix Series cinematic traits are hitting the smaller screens and concerns for the demise of film has been sparked. Or, so you would think.

The Swindon Independent Film Festival has ignited a much needed confidence, and recognition, within the film industry - nationalities from around the world flocked to Swindon for intimate screenings of independent films being made my filmmakers today. The guest list included filmmakers, directors, producers, actors, film buffs and cinema fans from over 25 countries.

Festival Director Doug Kirby said: “Hollywood came to Swindon! Well not really, in fact more to the point it wasn’t Hollywood. Filmmakers, actors, directors and producers from around the world sent in to - and even visited - the Swindon Independent Film Festival.

“Why is Independent important? Many of the highest grossing and audience acclaimed films of late have been Independent (not from the big studios), allowing more interesting or daring stories and subjects to be covered.

“Films ran from one minute 28 seconds to over two hours in this electric mix of styles, genres and themes and there were plenty from Swindon - including two award winners.

“The opening night of Swindon Fringe Festival was also the awards night for the Film Festival. Local filmmakers at PQA Swindon won best Youth Film beating entries from Iran, Spain and Reading! The Micro short Film was won by local Filmmaker Alex Secker with Headlights. The standard of films was incredible!”

“Nuri From New York said that It’s been great so friendly and fantastic films, and Otwin from Austria who went home with ‘Best Feature’ said he was definitely coming back next year.”

The winners:

  • Best Youth - Room 101- Yasmine Dean - PQA Swindon
  • Music Video - Judge me - Ashleigh Harley (Hereford)
  • Best Sound - The Long Wet Grass - Justin Davey (Dublin, Eire)
  • Best Cinematography - Sonja - Maroš Milcík - Slovakia
  • Best Ensemble - Guardians - Mark A C Brown - London
  • Best Actor - Kelly Mcquill - That Smell - USA
  • BestMicro Short - Headlights - Alex Secker - Swindon
  • Best Short - Bitter Sea -  London/
  • Best Feature - Point of View - Otwin Biernat- Austria
  • Festival Favourite - The Silent - Karen Turner/Dom Lee - UK (including local actor Oli Meredith)

It’s one thing to talk about the independent underdogs within cinema, but another thing entirely to recognise the incredible films being produced across the world - the festival alone has proven that independent filmmakers from different countries and cultures all have one thing in common: demonstrating that amazing films don’t necessarily come from a big a budget or a high concept idea.

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