Last year I volunteered at the Keswick Film Festival. It was an amazing experience seeing films I otherwise would not have had the chance to see, meeting actress Alice Lowe, and spending the weekend hanging out with some amazing people.
So, of course this year I volunteered again! Taking place from the 27th February to the 1st March 2020, Keswick Film Club’s annual Festival is set to be just as amazing as 2019’s.
My experience last year was only possible because my University covered travel with the Bright Future’s Fund, while the festival organisers covered accommodation. For a student, having travel and accommodation covered really took a lot of the stress out of venturing to Keswick for a weekend where I would be surrounded by people I didn’t know.
I was anxious but excited for a weekend of film. What I didn’t expect was just how much I’d enjoy hanging out with the other volunteers. When I arrived at the Theatre by the Lake on Friday morning, I met the loveliest bunch of Film and TV students.
As volunteers, we were offered free entry to all films, including student showcases like ‘Popcorn’, the Ospery Short Film Awards, and featured pictures/events. When we weren’t sat in the Theatre, we’d be handing out voting slips, directing visitors, posting on social media, conducting questionnaires, and just generally having a grand old time.
Plus, the Festival Co-ordinator, Ian Payne was the nicest chap and bought us coffees while we manned the front desk throughout the day.
- Sometimes Always Never. Participating in a Q&A with actress Alice Lowe and Director Carl Hunter. Nervously asked Alice a question on my friend’s behalf and still have her answer saved in the audio files of my phone to this day.
- Balloon by Emma Smith. Shown as part of ‘Popcorn’. Check it out on Youtube.
- Theory of Nothing by Kitty Handley. Shown as part of ‘Popcorn’. Check it out on Youtube.
- Fellowship of Hill, and Wind, and Sunshine. Shown as part of the Ospery Film Awards.
This year’s a little different as I’ll be joined by my friend, Adam. This time around my role will be mostly the same, however instead of this being a 3 day trip, I’ll be in Keswick for 5 days, taking in the town and working on personal projects when I am not helping at the Theatre.
I want to take things easy and try to avoid getting burnt out. Where last year I was out and about 12-13 hours of the day, constantly surrounded by other people, this year I want to enjoy more ‘Me’ time. After all, I work a 9-5 that I must return to bright and early Monday morning. Plus, as someone with an anxiety disorder, being in a ‘unfamiliar’ environment surrounded by people 24/7 can be exhausting, and I need to learn to take a step back and relax.
Therefore, unlike last year I’ll be on hand Thursday evening at the Alhambra for the opening film. Then, Friday morning my friend and I will make our way to the Theatre by the Lake where we’ll propose creating a rota with other volunteers to ensure there’s always help, but that no one gets burnt out.
Throughout the weekend I should be moving between the Theatre by the Lake, The Alhambra, and my hotel room. Maybe I’ll do some shopping, dine out and explore the market on Sunday, but those extra activities will depend on my mental state.
As I’ll be present for the entire Festival, I thought it only fair that I take advantage of our free tickets. Below is a list of all the films I plan to cross off my IMDB watchlist, accompanied by a student film showcase and the Ospery Short Film Awards.
Synopsis: After their home life is turned upside down, three children and the family’s donkeys escape across the backbone of Northern England, confronting both the harsh landscapes and what it means to be siblings.
Director: Richard Heap
The Patron’s Legacy Project
An afternoon of multi-media performances from the students who, this year, have taken their inspiration from the films of Tilda Swinton.
Only Lovers Left Alive
A depressed musician reunites with his lover. Though their romance, which has already endured several centuries, is disrupted by the arrival of her uncontrollable younger sister.
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Ospery Film Awards
A celebration of local film making where a selection of short films are showcased, with the audience voting for their favourite to win the Audience Award.
A Chinese family discovers their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies.
Director: Lulu Wang
A poor family, the Kims, con their way into becoming the servants of a rich family, the Parks. But their easy life gets complicated when their deception is threatened with exposure.
Director: Bong Joon Ho
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
On an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the eighteenth century, a female painter is obliged to paint a wedding portrait of a young woman.
Director: Céline Sciamma
I am so excited for things to kick off. Will you be attending? What do you think of the films on this list? Share your opinions in the comments below!