An International Film 'Festival'?

Sarah Matthews Guest Blogger BA Spanish and Business Management at the University of Manchester
A couple of nights ago I went to an event organised by The New World Trust, a non-profit organisation created to support talented young artists all over the world. The event was The Marbella International Film Festival which is an annual free outdoor screening of various award winning short films and one full length film for the pleasure of the general public. The festival runs for a week and so we thought we’d go on the first night to soak up the initial buzz and excitement. A friend and I arrived at the Plaza de Antonio Banderas in Puerto Banus expecting to see all of the usual market stalls tidied away and a vast open space with a huge screen dominating one side. We thought there would be quite a big crowd relaxing and enjoying the summer evening with family and friends so we got there earlier than the 9.30pm listed screening time. However, to our disappointment, the screen was nestled in a small opening between some of the markets stalls and with about 40 plastic chairs lined up in front. We were in luck; there were chairs free, but oh so many of them! We joined the other seven or eight viewers and sat back to enjoy the unfortunately low-key event. The short films were quite enjoyable and thought-provoking at times, the first from a Spanish director about a little boy who hears the story of Ali Baba, the second, an intriguing tale of an English man who has a necessity to be the first to applaud at the end of every concert. To break the sombre feeling, we decided that we would be the first applauders at the end of the film too, which raised a few smiles at least. The third short film was a very sad tale from a German director about a man with a deaf and mute son; this really didn’t help to lighten the mood as a few viewers left at this point. The eager camera man, continued to take panning shots of the disappearing audience as we smiled awkwardly. It was time for a drink. I had really hoped it was going to be a really fun-filled evening with eager Indie film followers and a chance to practise our Spanish in the breaks with the other viewers. Instead we were thoroughly unexcited by the lack-lustre nature of it all. Not quite a film festival, but instead a small gathering of passers-by. I can only hope that in the coming nights, it is more of a success ahead of another, larger event in Puerto Banus in October. This time, the event is to be hosted by Andalucia Plaza Hotel in Puerto Banus which should present a much better venue allowing sound and light provision to be more adequate. Despite this mostly negative review, I do want to wish the organisers good luck for the rest of the week and would like to suggest that perhaps next year, a little more marketing and advertising might help to get the festival off the ground.
Blog published on 26 August 2010