Inspiring The Next Generation: The Discovery Film Festival
While the London Film Festival ploughs on, and Best for Film continues to cover as many films as Tash and John’s cramping buttocks will allow, film fever has spread north for Scotland’s International Film Festival for Children and Young People. Young at heart – and face, according to barmen and lottery salespeople alike – I have taken it upon myself to mark this occasion and explain why children deserve more than a strict diet of Happy Madison productions and Disney concert movies.
Although Dundee might not be the first place to jump to mind when thinking of cinema – if it jumps to mind at all – it has nevertheless reinvented itself as a supporter of film and the arts, a transformation due in no small part to the scheduled arrival of the V&A museum. At the centre of this recent shift in focus towards inspiring young talent is Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA), a world-class exhibit for arts and contemporary culture, incorporating a cinema, a gallery and a bustling bar area. In partnership with the local council, university and Creative Scotland, the site has been hosting this annual celebration of cinema for nigh on eight years.
In this respect the festival is as young as many of its patrons, though it more than makes up for its relative youth with a palpable passion that is as refreshing as it is infectious. This year’s festivities opened with a Saturday screening of Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol’s delightful A Cat In Paris, followed by an audience Q&A with the latter, who both scripted and co-directed the feature. Unlike most film festivals, however, the gala did not end there: flanked by intimate workshops, the film was accompanied by a number of related events, including ‘From Tweets To Blogs: Online Film Writing’, a well-received and informative discussion of the pros and cons of film journalism.
As one such tweeter, blogger and obsessive-compulsive popcorn addict, I can’t help but lament the lack of such creative support during my own formative years. Having only discovered the delights of foreign, fringe and even Bollywood cinema relatively recently, I now see the importance of facilitating the broadening of horizons irrespective of age. With one elderly woman berating the director – THE DIRECTOR – over the apparent nuisance of subtitles, it is clear that there is work ahead if we are to look forward to a cinematic array as (if not more) diverse as that which we enjoy today.
Ongoing until the 6th of November, still to come from the Discovery Film Festival are films including You’ve Been Trumped, Light of the River and the intriguing Twigson (Knerton) – Norway hasn’t let me down yet. And that’s without mentioning a screening of The Adventures of Tintin introduced by university lecturer Chris Murray, who will tie the film into the city’s own comic past (Dundee is home to the Beano and the Dandy dontchaknow). This is the perfect opportunity to introduce the next generation of moviegoers to quality world cinema, and to maybe even learn a thing or two yourself.