Organising a French film festival

Four years ago, a group of local filmmakers and people from the Duke of York’s cinema made a trip across the channel to the British Film Week in Abbeville, Northern France. This visit was to be the start of a cross-channel collaboration that grew into a successful cultural exchange, not only of local film but also art, between the communities of Brighton and Hove and the region of Picardie.

French film week
Tim Brown, Education Officer and Special Events Programmer for the Duke of York’s was one of that group. The ‘Semaine du cinema Britannique’ in Abbeville had already been running for 7 years when the Brighton party decided to get involved. Showing compilations of short films made by a dozen different Brighton filmmakers, the positive feedback received inspired them to apply for funding to create Brighton’s own French Film Week.

Funded through the European Union, the festival aimed to bring a range of French films to the region that had not been shown before, alongside art and cultural events. The programme was on a much larger scale in 2004, but due to funding this was scaled down in 2005. Local film makers including Junk TV were involved in organising screenings of short films, this year held at Hove Town Hall and the Duke of York’s cinema.

Special Events Programmer
Tim also told me more about his role at the Duke of York’s. As Special Events Programmer, Tim is responsible for anything which falls outside the normal cinema programme. Recently this has included organising screenings for the French Film Week and the Wild Japan season. As an independent art-house cinema, the Duke of York has a far broader scope and can reflect the tastes of its Brighton audiences. Add to this events where Brightonians get the chance to meet directors of some of the movies screened by the cinema, and it’s clear that the Duke of York is trying to offer a more interactive cinema experience to the city.

When not organising events for the Duke of York’s, Tim works for the South East Film and Video Archive. The archive’s mission statement states that their role is ‘to collect, preserve, promote and provide access to our moving image heritage’. The SEFVA collects filmed material from the South-eastern region, which covers quite a broad area. This includes non-fiction material such as home movies. The archive doesn’t store feature films, but does accept shorts from the region.

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