Stoke Your Fires film festival takes place next week

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.

Stoke Your Fires film festival logo.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.

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