This year’s festival was truly incredible, with the big films as well as the independent ones, there was a vast variety of things to see, as well as people to meet. It’s only been my second year covering the festival for my blog as press and it’s been a lot of fun watching all sort of films, getting to go to press conferences and meeting some really wonderful and passionate people. During my time at the festival, I decided to watch as much as I possibly could, I never thought that it would be tiring and difficult, whilst being totally worth it!
I was also fortunate enough to meet and interview a couple of directors who had films out at the festival. Both were incredibly passionate about their work and the industry, it’s clearly something that they are in love with, as am I. I love meeting these sorts of people, there’s something humbling about sitting down to talk to someone about their work. I hope I get to do more of it in the future.
I saw 20 films in 12 days, here’s a few words on each one:
- The Eagle Huntress – Surprisingly good
- A Day for Women – Unfortunate and terrible
- Into the Forest – Interesting, although made no sense in the end
- Barakah Meets Barakah – Good and funny
- Kills on Wheels – Inappropriately funny
- Sweet Dreams – Good
- A United Kingdom – Good but the music is a bit much
- A Monster Calls – Wonderful, beautiful and sad
- The Handmaiden – Good and weird
- The Eyes of my Mother – Creepy, scary, brilliant
- La La Land – Wonderful, stunning and extraordinary
- Manchester by the Sea – Decent but not great, no development at all
- David Lynch: The Art Life – Interesting and original
- Bleed for This – Okay, but not great, lacked heart
- Arrival – Better than most modern sci-fi films
- Birth of a Nation – On the nose score, in your face religious imagery, well told if a little anti-climactic
- Snowden – Better than I thought it would be
- Lion – Moving beyond words
- Nocturnal Animals – A story which essentially goes no where
- Free Fire – Good fun
Full reviews for some of these are on the way of course. In between these films I was normally queuing up for another film, chatting away to fellow delegates which is a lot more than I did last year. Frankly when I was new to the whole thing in 2015, I was nervous and I had no idea what to say to anyone! For any of you who have been to any random events by yourself where you have the chance to chat, get to know people and network, it can be hard! It’s something I took with me to this year’s festival in the sense that I just didn’t want to just stand around any more. I wanted to speak to people, see what they’ve seen, find out about their work and get to know them, which I did with a great deal of apprehension.
Those who I spoke to included several journalists, a student, a screen writer, a teacher, an actress, a producer and many more. All of them trying to make something of themselves in this insanely difficult industry. Just like myself. Having this ambition to become a film critic is a hard one to realise but recently, especially after walking from screening to screening for two weeks, it’s something that I want more than ever. I think that speaking to such a wide variety of people, finding out about their careers and what they have achieved and what they would like to achieve really got me thinking and it’s something I’m never going to stop thinking about.
For those of you who want to cover something like this, it’s as simple as putting yourself out there, but in a lot of ways. I had a couple of amazing moments this year and last, of knowing that I’m being given a press pass to cover the best thing we have for film goers and film lovers. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you’re getting to attend something as fascinating as this! So the best thing to do is start a blog, take acting classes, become a vlogger, use social media to its maximum capacity and never give up.
I love getting to cover this festival, the films, the people, the time off work! There’s so much to love and I’m already excited about next year. So, here’s to 2017 and what will be the 61st BFI London Film Festival.
Keep. It. Reel.