Independent short film festival Film Northants is now underway for a fourth year. What started as a loose idea suggested by my husband and developed by me has now turned into an annual event which is attracting international attention. The unique selling point is that the films must be shot in Northamptonshire and we aim to promote talent/locations in the county to a wider industry network.
It is still run entirely by volunteers and we rely on public funding and sponsorship / advertising to pay for prizes, promotion and hiring a professional host and photographer.
We launched on April 4th and the website has had a steady stream of hits over the last few days and our Twitter (filmnorthants) and Facebook (Film Northants) accounts are attracting new members.
Publicity wise there has been coverage in the Northampton Chronicle & Echo and an interview on BBC radio Northampton and a story on community news website About My Area . Over the coming months we hope to get a variety of festival organisers and past winners onto radio slots and broader coverage online and in local magazines / newspapers.
And something must be working because within two days of launching we received our first entry Catch the Bus, an intriguing three minute short.
Meanwhile a trailer to promote the festival is currently being edited, with a view to screening it at Cineworld in Northampton, on various websites and at presentations in schools and at community/arts events.
Posters and leaflets are also being designed by a professional graphic designer but also by Northamptonshire school pupils. We aim to distribute these to arts organisations, film clubs and schools to attract both adult and under 16 entries.
The committee has now grown to nine people (from initially being just me) which includes journalists, film-makers and logistic managers. We also have representation from Northampton Youth Forum which is helping us promote the event to a younger audience.
This year there has been a few changes to the festival with a shake up of the judges to include more film experts. We also hope to introduce an under 16 award if there is demand for it. There is also a clarification of our rules stating that all entries must be filmed between a particular time frame between August 15th 2010 and August 14th 2011.
The best news for local film-makers is our new partnership with the Favourites Film Festival in Berlin which approached Film Northants to ask if we would work with them. Each year the winner of the Film Northants Public Vote will be submitted to the German festival selection panel, which has contributions from across the globe. Film Northants is the only UK film festival represented at this international event which also partners with festivals in Japan, America, Canada, Greece, Bosnia and Switzerland. The aim of the festival is to screen films that have won audience vote awards rather than awards based on judges’ votes.
More details on the progress of Film Northants will updated on this blog over the coming months.