Friday, 13 January 2012

Is this plain amateurism or a direct disdain? - Cornwall Film Festival 2011

While Cornwall Film festival seems to excel in promoting itself in an extremely favourable light. It is failing to promote the participants who are the very reason for its existence.

Having finally got my hands on a copy of the 2011 programme, I was horrified to find that my carefully considered film synopsis and quality artworks, dutifully submitted with the official application, had been completely ignored and replaced with extracts from an out of date internet review, accompanied by a screen-cap image from last years web-site.

Despite getting the best screening slot ever, for the feature documentary; ‘The Many Romances with Rosemarie’ in my personal experience of eight years of Cornwall film festival entries. I have been completely let down by the festivals publicity, which as any struggling filmmaker will tell you, is the most important thing after the quality of the film itself.

The film synopsis which was actually printed in the 2011 programme has been entirely gleaned from an article released by Devon & Cornwall film early in 2010. If the person writing my synopsis had bothered to read the article properly, they would have realised that it didn’t refer to the finished film at all (which was completed in June 2011), but to the innovative web-platform HouseboatTV, which I was launching at this time, to accompany my filmmaking journey and to encourage community participation in the film, by screening monthly episodes of the Rosemarie Houseboat residents, as I shot and edited the interviews which would eventually go to make up the whole 1hr and 45min feature length film.

There was however, not a single mention of HouseboatTV in the festival programme, so rather than highlight my novel method of film production, the implication is that the film itself was completed in 2010. There wasn’t even a link to the HouseboatTV web-site; where I am currently selling DVDs on-line. There was however a link to the defunct Devon & Cornwall film article. In retrospect, I had thought it a bit strange that I hadn’t received a single order for a DVD, following the Newquay, Lighthouse screening. As usually even the smallest screening would bring with it a handful of sales. Now I know why!

Over the years I have felt repeatedly let down by the Cornwall Film Festival, with films being screened in the wrong aspect ratio, at ridiculous times of day, or clashing with main, highly publicised or popular events. In 2008 my documentary film ‘Let Sleeping Dogs Lie’ was unceremoniously pulled from the festival, by Denzil Monk without so much as a phone-call. Once even having my credits entirely removed, in the screening of my short film; ‘A fruity Affair’, which had been commissioned by an audience vote the previous year at the O’Region ‘Bigger Pitcher’ event. I’ve not wanted to participate in it since, and it’s also interesting to note that in the C.F.F 2011 my screening of The Many Romances with Rosemarie, was scheduled against this very popular event. Nor was I invited to do a Directors Q&A, as I have been at several other screenings, and there was no correspondence at all before, during or after the event.

Despite all this, I have always given Cornwall Film Festival the benefit of the doubt, as it remains the only local show-case for my work as a struggling filmmaker. It has not gone un-noticed by me, that works by other reputable Artists and Filmmakers, such as Andrew Lanyon, Tony Hill, Emlyn Harris, Nick Duffy and Amanda Walsh have also been shamelessly side-lined in my humble opinion.

To conclude, I just wanted to state that I shall continue to enter my films into the Cornwall film festival, but I will no longer remain quite about any misgivings. So if you see less of me in the future, I expect this will be why! I would also be very interested to hear from other filmmakers who have had similar experiences.


  1. A splendidly articulate telling off I think, and one that the CFF chaps should have a good long think about!

  2. On an unrelated note, just to let you know that I have passed on the 'Kreativ Blogger' award (see my blog, under 'Gracious Acceptance Post' to collect it and for further details!) I know you don't have much time for blogging, but would like to draw attention to your work- hope this works for you! xx