In 2018 and 2019, I had the enriching opportunity to be involved in the organisation of the Beeston Film Festival, a vibrant and rapidly growing event in Nottinghamshire. This festival, started in 2014 by John Currie, has become a hub for independent filmmakers worldwide. The Beeston Film Festival has evolved into the biggest international short film festival in the Midlands, and one of the top 100 best-reviewed film festivals globally. It showcases a diverse array of short films in various categories, including drama, horror, comedy, women's voices, and Pride, attracting over 800 entries from 60 different countries, including local talent from Beeston itself.
During my time with the festival, I was involved in various organisational aspects, including arranging venues for different nights of the festival. This task allowed me to integrate into the local community, fostering connections with people from different backgrounds. My role extended beyond the logistics of the festival; I was also part of the review team, meticulously watching and evaluating hundreds of films. This role continued for several years, even after I moved away, keeping me connected to the area and giving me a front-row seat to innovative filmmaking from around the world.
One of the festival's highlights is the award ceremony, where filmmakers are honoured with the "B'Oscar" awards, made locally and sent across the globe to winners. The festival also introduced workshops for visitors, including discussions on contemporary cinema and sessions on raising finance for future filmmakers. These workshops add another layer to the festival's community engagement efforts.
My involvement in the Beeston Film Festival was more than just an organizational role; it was a journey that melded my passion for film with a commitment to community and cultural development. The experience of working with a diverse team and engaging with filmmakers from around the world was instrumental to my growth as a professional and as an individual, highlighting the power of cinema to unite and inspire communities.