Love films? Love watching them? Love making them? Okay with travelling to Stoke-On-Trent? Well then: Stoke Your Fires might just be the ideal festival for you.
I love festivals and conventions. There’s always something interesting going on, some talk you could be taking notes at, some competition running, or a masterclass, or people to meet, or networking to do… So much opportunity, all in one place – all you need to to is reach out and grab it. Let’s take a look at some of the highlight films and events of this year’s upcoming festival.
Firstly, if you’re heading over to see some great cinema, there’s a ton of it. The Iron Lady and both parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows are good big-budget appetisers, and there’s more than a few lesser-known flicks doing the rounds that might be worth seeing. My suggestions to you would be A Jihad For Love – discussing the subject of homosexuality within the realm of Islam, and Woolwich Boys, a story of the Woolwich-based Nigerian crime scene.
If you’re visiting Stoke Your Fires in order to learn a thing or two about film-making, then you’re in luck. Not only do some of the films being screened have question and answer sessions afterwards – much to the benefit of those watching the film and wishing they could accomplish something similar – but there are also competitions and actual training events, too.
Firstly, the 72-hour film-making competition – this is something to go for, because if you can churn out some good cinema in three days, there’s a reasonable chance that given three months, you’d create something truly incredible. Or maybe you wouldn’t? Give this one a shot, because if there’s anything at this festival with “opportunity” written all over it, it’s this – just bear in mind that no rough and rapid approach to film-making will cut it on a longer project, you crazy people.
In addition to the competition, there’s also a producers lab and a masterclass on indie film and making it in the digital era – a topic I covered earlier this week (I won’t be giving the presentation, of course, but after you’ve read that thing, you’ll wish I was). There’s even a free animation workshop, which will benefit anyone not sure how to take their little walking stickmen all the way to Hollywood.
It sounds like a great festival, and it runs from the 10th to the 24th of February – so, basically, from next Friday to the Friday a fortnight later. If you’re into film, it’s worth the trip. So grab your on-the-road mixtape and make with the planning, peeps.