Hugely successful year for festival
Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival (BFMAF) has announced a successful year, with record attendances at its 13th annual event in September.
Flying the flag for Berwick, this year’s festival received exceptional reviews in national and international publications.
An expanded programme included music and performance in Berwick Parish Church, the Peace Church and Berwick Amateur Rowing Club, and new exhibition venues included the former council buildings in Wallace Green and the Lookout Café on Berwick’s atmospheric quayside.
A particular programme highlight was Mm, a new film by Margaret Salmon about the Berwick Bandits.
Crammed into a sold-out world premiere screening at The Maltings, the audience witnessed an intimate portrait of the iconic Berwick speedway team.
The film was greeted with an enthusiastic response by both speedway fans and film aficionados alike, who had travelled from all over the UK and as far away as Göteborg, Geneva, Washington, Paris and Tashkent to attend the event.
In addition to the packed festival programme, BFMAF is also closely involved in Berwick schools, with 394 students attending dedicated screenings and taking part in animation workshops.
“The best day in school ever” was one student’s response to the animation workshop delivered by artist Robin Webb for young people at Tweedmouth Middle, Tweedmouth West and Holy Trinity, where they created animated films using plasticine and digital cameras.
Another important development in 2017 was the Young Programmers’ Group, developed in collaboration with Berwick Youth Project.
Members of the Youth Project worked with festival director Peter Taylor and its learning and participation co-ordinator Val Tobiass, and selected the Young Filmmakers’ Competition programme.
The young people watched all the entries, which they then discussed and shortlisted, with Lewis McPherson introducing the competition entries during the showcase event at the festival.
Peter Taylor said: “BFMAF believes that working with young people, both inside and outside of school, is vitally important.
“We can help expand their understanding of what art and film can be, developing their confidence and a whole new range of technical skills. Specifically, in Berwick, where there are few opportunities for young people, it’s particularly important and really informs a lot of our work.”
Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival is one of only 40 organisations from across the UK to be awarded a grant by the Western Jerwood Creative Bursaries Programme, which will support a full-time salary for one year, dedicated exclusively to recent graduates.