Leeds School of Arts

The Importance of Film Festivals

Taking part in Film Festivals is a right of passage for any aspiring Filmmaker. Director of the Northern Film School Annabelle Pangborn explains why they play such a vital role.

Film Festivals are hugely important to the Northern Film School. For our students, participating in a film festival is the final stage of what the Industry calls the “film process”, that is, exhibition. Having a film accepted into a film festival is a real achievement. It offers the filmmakers an opportunity to screen alongside their national and international peers, often students and graduates embarking on the first stages of their screen careers, as well as screening alongside more established filmmakers. At this year’s Harrogate Film Festival our students and alumni are showing their work in the company of the great American director, Oliver Stone.

Film Festivals importantly offer a platform for our young filmmakers to present their creative ideas; their singular stories and storytelling; their talent and skill in their making and, not least, their passion to communicate how they feel and think about the world they live in. These are things they share with us, the audience, and with other filmmakers, whether they are making more familiar live action drama or provocative experimental film.

At the moment we can enjoy film festivals online, watching in the comfort of our own homes. But in a world no longer controlled by Covid, and there will be a time not far in the future when this is so, film festivals will once again become thriving, buzzing, eclectic forums of watching in cinemas, and high spirited and engaged networking for the makers and those interested in connecting with the makers. Networking and awards offer our students and their films the chance to get noticed; the producer who will champion them in the early stages of their career; the writer and director who will become their most dynamic collaborative partner; the sound designer who will open the ears of the 200 people packed into a cinema screening of a poetic documentary.

Driving culture, challenging ideas, changing lives – this is the world of film festivals. Long may they continue.

Annabelle Pangborn

Head of Subject / Leeds School Of Arts

Annabelle trained as a musician and composer at the London College of Music, and as a filmmaker at the Royal College of Art. She has worked extensively in film and television as a composer and sound designer on award winning drama, documentary, dance film and experimental animation.

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