Building on our first pilot film festival in 2017, FILM FOCUS FESTIVAL 2018 was a great success. It ran for 24 days in 25 different venues, with over 4,000 people attending events across 16 islands and parishes.

Screen Machine

The Screen Machine made it’s annual visit to seven islands over 14 days – Rousay, Westray, Shapinsay, Sandy, Eday and Stronsay, with new addition on the circuit – Hoy.

The four regular screen venues – Phoenix Cinema, West Side Cinema, Gable End Theatre and Screen In The Square were all involved again.

West Side Cinema ran a special season: ‘WILD LIVES – wildlife, wild places and wild people’. The Phoenix Cinema welcomed over 2,400 people. Highlights included a Q + A screening of NAE PASARAN with director Felipe Bustos Sierra, a screening as part of the French Film Festival, and National Theatre Live and Royal Opera House events.

Margaret Tait 100 celebrated the centenary of the birth of Orkney filmmaker Margaret Tait, with events at the Pier Arts Centre, Gable End Theatre and and street screenings at Northlight Gallery (above).

The walls of St Magnus Cathedral provided a spectacular canvas for a film marking the island’s experiences in the First World War. Thousands of people turned out for the 2 week screening of ‘The Great War: an Orkney Memorial Experience‘. Production company PLAY DEAD won a Royal Television Society award for best Animation & VFX for the creation.

Stromness Books & Prints hosted readings from a newly published creative writing anthology ‘Reel to Rattling Reel: Stories and Poems about Memories of Cinema-Going’, and UHI Orkney College Fine Art Students followed up 2017’s experimental film and video exhibition with Action Take 2.

At the heart of this years festival was outreach community screenings, kindly sponsored by Cooke Aquaculture, which enabled film shows at The Gable End Theatre, Screen In The Square, Milestone Community Church in Dounby, North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory, Shapinsay Boathouse and The Grand Old Byre in Westray. New community additions this year were Graemsay Community Hall and Burray Hall. We had a great feedback from these screenings and hope we can do similar again.

‘Screening was brill, we nearly ran out of chairs!’

‘Our attendance was approaching 1/3 of the island population! And everyone stayed on for a chat and a cup of tea afterwards’.

‘It meant a lot to us to be included in the Film Focus Festival last year. Our community cinema is still going and we’d love to be involved again’.

‘Well done on a fantastic film festival – November is Moviember!’

That’s just a snapshot of what was on offer last year. We hope we can match or even better it this time – see you all at FILM FOCUS FESTIVAL 2019 01 – 23 November.