07 February 2008

A Brand New Film Festival with Potential

While it’s good to know that there is a tight community of adventure sports fans in Ireland, it’s unfortunate that none of them seem to own a computer with decent video editing software.

Last night, I attended half of the Wee Adventure Film Festival in The Sugar Club. I had planned on making my €10 entrance fee go all the way, particularly to see Shakinda’s VJ mashup of the film highlights at the end. However, I decided during the break, after having watched the first 8 films, that being forced to stand for another 2 hours through dodgy home-made movies was just not worth it. It seemed that virtually all of the seating at tables in the club were reserved for the 16 teams of people (and their friends and family) who had submitted films. The rest of the space in the aisles and at the back was filled to capacity with the rest of us, holding our beers close and apologizing to others around us anytime we shifted our weight or brought our pint to our mouth.

While most of the films were given minimal time in cheap editing software, much of the footage was indeed an adrenaline rush. In particular, the second film portrayed skydivers falling backward out of a perfectly good hot air balloon. Despite the shoddy camera work and annoying, deafening sound of the wind in the microphone, a collective gasp swept over the room as the festival audience obviously caught a glimpse of what it’s like to free-fall into wide open spaces.

Other highlights of the first half of the festival included the poetic way in which the first rock climbing film was narrated. Also, a kayaking film shot in Norway was probably the closest thing to a professionally produced adventure documentary and an orienteering film included some quality filming and artistic presentation.

I’m sure the organizers of the event were well-pleased with the turnout to this festival debut. I can only hope that the buzz and excitement from this year will motivate the organizers to give incentive for more quality offerings at the next festival, should there be one. I imagine there could be endorsement deals from various equipment/clothing companies as a result. Best of all, a growing, ever-improving festival such as this could go a long way in promoting adventure sports in Ireland.

But for heaven’s sake, don’t let the athletes themselves shoot or edit the films. At least not without sending them to some sort of adventure filmmaker’s seminar first.

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