Colchester Film Festival – Exclusive Interview

Words by Naomi Jeffreys

Film Festivals are an integral part of filmmaking, particularly Independent Films, they act as platforms for filmmakers to gain a buzz about their film. Critics and producers are then able to get the word out about their film.

The Rabbit Film Section was fortunate enough to get an interview with one of Colchester Film Festivals Directors, Tristan Syrett.

Naomi Jeffreys: How important are Film Festivals for Filmmakers?

TS: As this is a short film festival so the importance for filmmakers is increased as short films are the only way new up and coming directors can showcase their talents but the chances for large audiences to see short films is very small. Without film festivals like ours new talents cannot be discovered and gain the praise and reputation they deserve.

TS: The festival is also jammed packed full of Masterclasses and workshops from people like BAFTA nominated director Luke Snellin, Oscar nominated Screenwriter Julian Unthank and Director of Photography Steven Hall who’s credits include ‘War Horse, ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Batman Begins’.

NJ: Your programme is varied, how do you begin to decide what makes it in to the Film Festival?

TS: The selection process was simple we picked best films that were submitted.  We didn’t decide the categories or a theme for the festival beforehand we choose the best films and fitted them into categories. We don’t pick the films to fit the festival we change the festival to fit the films.

NJ: What, in your opinion, makes a good film?

TS: We believe that a good story told well is the most important aspect of any film and have selected all the films in this festival with this in mind.

NJ: Do you have any advice for any budding Filmmakers at the University of Essex?

TS: Concentrate on telling a good story. Everything else is secondary.

NJ: When did you know you wanted to enter in the world of Film?

TS: When I heard that Matthew Vaughn married Claudia Schiffer after producing ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’

NJ: Who chooses the Films which are entered in to the Festival?

TS: The films have been chosen by the festival directors Tristan Syrett and Steven Dorrington.

NJ: You have a 48 hour Filmmaking challenge, how do you come up with that?

TS: We took a look at Sci-Fi London’s 48-hour film challenge and thought ‘That’s a good idea, we’ll do one of those’.

NJ: Are you eager to get Students a part of the Film Festival?

TS: Yes, we’re screening four films made by Essex University Students ‘Fine Feathers’ by Martine Wolff, ‘Ram’ by Kit Wood, ‘Mourning Dew’ by Rob Rhys Wills and ‘Bethnal Green’ by Elena Dirstaru in the local films section on Sunday the 7th and are keen for students to come along to festival and be inspired by the work being created by filmmakers from around the world.

NJ: What can Students expect to see at the Film Festival?

TS: They can expect to see a selection of short films from 13 countries that they would normally never get to see, masterclasses and workshops from established professionals, opportunities to network with filmmakers from around the UK, live music from Colchester’s top bands and a whole lot more!

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