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Monday, November 26, 2007

Anyone who's recently been to the Brighton Hip-Hop Festival, the Brighton Food & Drink Festival, the Brighton Comedy Festival and the Brighton Festival of World Sacred Music (or maybe it's just me) will know that we love a good festival in Brighton. So for the past ten days we've been enduring enjoying CineCity - the Brighton Film Festival. It's like Sundance, but with drizzle.

Before last night I hadn't been to any of the screenings so far, not because I'm picky when it comes to art films, but because I can't afford the ticket prices. I'm tempted to make an exception on Wednesday, however, when they're showing a French film called 'Water Lilies', which is described as "a coming-of-age tale set amidst the world of synchronised swimming". It can't be easy going through adolescence with a peg on your nose, so that's got to be worth a look.

Anyhoo, the good news is that in an attempt to drum up interest (or possibly just to show stuff that no one would pay for) the film festival organisers put on a free screening at the Sallis Benney Theatre last night, so like a poverty-stricken rat up a cinematic drainpipe, I was straight down there. Here's how the evening was described on the leaflet which I found on my seat:

Welcome to the future.
Obviously it's not 2008, but that doesn't mean the organisers don't know what day of the week it is; it just means they're ahead of their time.

Anyhoo, having embarrassed myself on page 16 of the current issue of The Kemptown Rag (that's what you call a shameless plug), I plan to redeem myself by writing an insightful analysis of last night for the next issue, so rather than going over it here, I think I'll skip the interesting first half of the evening, and move straight on to slagging off the second half.

Back in September, I seriously considered entering a film competition organised by the council which invited residents to create "an eye-catching, jaw-dropping, heart-stopping, 60-second ultra-short promoting Brighton as a tourist destination". In the end I decided against it on the grounds that Brighton is full of talented film-makers and I don't even own a camcorder. But I'm well and truly kicking myself now. Last night's entertainment included the screening of the three prize-winners and six runners-up, and the good news is that all nine are on YouTube for the world to enjoy.

They asked for "eye-catching, jaw-dropping, heart-stopping" films. They got this. My jaw certainly dropped. Then there's this one which seems to have been made by a production team of about twelve, and has nothing whatsoever to do with "promoting Brighton as a tourist destination". At least this one tries, but if you can stay awake through all sixty seconds of it, you're doing quite well. This one doesn't even include any film.

B Right OnThe biggest travesty was not that half of them were complete rubbish, it was that B Right On by Drew Cameron only came second. It was the one film which was genuinely entertaining and looked like it had taken more than five minutes to make, and it didn't win. The judges should be shot.

Mind you, that wasn't the only let-down. According to the competition website, "the prizes will be presented by a well-known Brighton TV and radio personality". Given that Steve Coogan is listed as one of the CineCity patrons, my hopes for a celebrity encounter were quite high. So who did we get? Councillor David Smith, chair of the council's tourism committee. I wonder what TV shows he's been on..?