Film fans are in for a treat. Orkney’s second film festival opens on 01 November and will run for 24 days across 25 venues in 16 different islands and parishes.
The Film Focus Festival, managed by West Side Cinema, Stromness, is a successor to last year’s pilot Film Fortnight, which saw almost 100 events across 13 locations with an attendance of over 2,300 people.
Mark Jenkins, chair of West Side Cinema and project manager of the festival, is excited at the potential the festival offers.
‘I’m thinking of it as a slow film festival. Not a festival of slow films but showing films over a good length of time. Most film festivals pack multiple screenings into a few days. Our festival can offer something a bit different, enabling festival goers to travel the length and breadth of Orkney, with time to not only take in films but also connected tie in events that Orkney has to offer. I hope audiences enjoy the festival wherever, and whenever, they can make it’.
The Screen Machine is returning to visit seven islands over 14 days – Rousay, Westray, Hoy, Shapinsay, Sandy, Eday and Stronsay.
The four regular screen venues – Phoenix Cinema, West Side Cinema, Gable End Theatre and Screen In The Square are all involved again, as is Papay’s ØY Festival.
UHI Fine Art Students follow up last years experimental film and video exhibition with Action Take 2.
And there’s plenty of new additions this year:
- Margaret Tait 100 celebrates the centenary of the birth of Orkney filmmaker Margaret Tait, with events at the Pier Arts Centre, Northlight Gallery and the Gable End Theatre
- St Magnus Cathedral will be the canvas for a specially commissioned outdoor film to mark the Centenary of the Armistice
- Stromness Books & Prints will host readings from a newly published creative writing anthology about cinema memories
- Orkney Library & Archive will shine a light on their fantastic audio-visual collection
- West Side Cinema is running six events under its Wild Lives theme with an end of festival party with those wild boys The Driftwood Cowboys.
There’s also new pop up community cinema venues at Burray Hall, Milestone Community Church in Dounby, Graemsay Community Hall, North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory, Shapinsay Boathouse and The Graand Owld Byre in Westray.
This years festival has been made possible by strategic support from Film Hub Scotland, which is part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network and funded by Creative Scotland and Lottery funding from the BFI, with further support from Orkney Islands Council. The Screen Machine has been supported locally by Pentland Ferries and Orkney Ferries. This year Cooke Aquaculture are sponsoring screenings where the cost to community organisations for public film licences is prohibitive. This has boosted the programme with six community events and two larger special events.
Mark Jenkins said:
‘The support from these organisations is fantastic but the festival wouldn’t happen without the enthusiasm of local venues. It’s great so see them raise the bar and introduce extra programming.
“Having the Screen Machine visit is such a boon, we now have a fantastic infrastructure of venues to work with, so the future is very exciting.
“With development funding for the next few years, we can really plan ahead, work on ideas and involve more organisations in the future.”
The Film Focus Festival runs from 01 – 24 November. Find out more at www.film-focus.org.