Film festivals are strange creations. You start off with an idea of what you would like as soon as the last one finishes, but what you end up with is very different. It’s a process of around 10 months, and hundreds of films watched (not all of them good) and what comes out at the end is a cinematic snapshot of the world. This year films from 20 countries showcase the beautiful world of cinema. I believe the best films in the world are not in English and a festival is a great place to begin your cinematic journey of world cinema, or be fulfilled if you already embrace subtitles.

Again we look back to the earliest days of film. Dawson City: Frozen Time is not just a wonderful film, but an important one. Filmmaker Bill Morrison took a discovery of old Hollywood films, from the early 1900s until just into the sound period of the 1930s and created a piece of cinema so magical and filled with melancholic beauty, that will never be forgotten. We also have a talk by film historian Geoff Brown about the transition of British film from the silent era into talkies, followed by a screening of The Woman He Scorned, accompanied by Stephen Horne on the piano.

This year we have the debut selection of films chosen by Eden Court Young Programmers, a group of 15 –18 year olds. They have been watching films since April and have picked two gems; Just Charlie and Cloudboy, both about the journeys of young people who want to break free of themselves and become all that they can be. Both are inspiring, with messages of hope, and are perfect counterpoints to some of the heavier fare in the festival.

As always please do remember to vote for our Audience award. We don’t have juries or committees for our award, it is completely up to you. So far the winners have come from almost every corner of the world. This is the 12th festival I have programmed and hearing what you think of the films is what makes each year feel like the first one.

I do hope you enjoy the festival.

Paul MacDonald-Taylor, Festival Director