The 23rd of November saw the Indieburgh film festival take place for the very first time in Edinburgh showcasing just under thirty short films over five hours all in the hopes of garnering more recognition for independent cinema.
The films on show at Indieburgh covered a range of genres from horror, animation, comedy, to experimental, and all were crafted by writers and directors from all over the world operating on a miniscule budget and with no support from large production companies or media outlets.
These filmmakers are not motivated by academy awards or making it big at the box office, but instead they’re spurred on solely by their passion and love for the craft itself.
Organised entirely by four Napier University students as part of their second year project, Indieburgh itself is an impressive feat with an even more ambitious goal.
Starting with absolutely no budget these students have funded, promoted, and organised the whole festival in just two months while also juggling university work, jobs, and social life. With the help of Edinburgh based studio Dragonstone Pictures, the students were astounded to receive over nine hundred submissions from budding directors across the world eager to have their place at Indieburgh.
Speaking with Catarina Guerreiro, one of the four students behind Indieburgh, she explains why they chose to take the road less travelled and why it was never just a university project. Catarina says that independent filmmakers have never received the attention their talent deserves and without such exposure that talent simply fizzles out.
Through Indieburgh Catarina and her classmates hoped to not only give directors the chance to make connections and break into the industry, but to also create a platform for debate and discussion amongst the dedicated community that continues to support independent cinema.
Many large film festivals charge extortionate submission fees and so exclude the talent that thrives amongst low budget filmmakers however, with Indieburgh, these students chose not to charge any submission fees for directors and only aimed to break even solely through ticket sales.
Catarina reasoned that the success of the event was not determined by the amount of money made or by the number of people who came, but instead they simply hoped the audience would enjoy the films shown and become more aware of this humble side of the film industry. Overall, the festival’s aim was to reassure new directors that not only will their work be recognised and adored, but that their dreams aren’t as impossible as they may think.
City Café’s downstairs bar was chosen as the location for the film screenings as the students felt it contradictory to show indie films in a large theatre. Instead the bar created a much more relaxed atmosphere and gave the whole event a much more personal feel to it. After five exhausting but fantastic hours of films, the judges finally awarded best picture to the five minute long drama Corinthian.
All four students hope to make Indieburgh a recurring event as a way of giving even more attention to indie filmmakers, but they require a lot more support to do so. With the success of the first, hopefully we will see Indieburgh develop into a much bigger festival capable of attracting a much wider audience.
Given the quantity of films on show at the festival, qmunicate reviews the highlights and encourages the reader to check out these talented directors and to support the growing beauty of independent cinema. A short trailer for Indieburgh’s films can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLafCoLtMhqylXLcP12uVM8tDODmBbQBjE
Corinthian – Mark A.C. Brown
A gritty glimpse at the sheer brutality of an underground bare-knuckle boxing match. Brown shows unbelievable skill with some truly excellent cinematography and choreography encapsulating the intense fight. Corinthian definitely deserved to win best picture and it’ll be exciting to see what Brown will do next.
Cake & Desolation – Damian Swarbrick
This short and sweet film follows a man whose rigid daily routine is disrupted by a spritely young woman refusing to just leave him be. It may not be a paradigm shifting concept, but Swarbrick delivers a well shot and delightful romance that warms the heart with every viewing.
Another World – Nicolás Grone
8m55 (Science fiction drama)
Another World follows a lone astronaut watching his family’s messages as the Earth begins to die below him. It’s nothing short of amazing that such a strong emotional impact has been condensed into an eight minute run time, especially when it is accompanied by spot on acting, a beautiful score, and visuals that could easily rival any blockbuster.
How to: The Ikea Way – David Howard
It may be one of the shortest films on show but Howard’s minimalistic animation about the frustrating trials of assembling IKEA furniture is not only hilarious but unfortunately, very relatable.
Cineaste – Martin Alison
Alison’s short sees a film lover suffering the frustrating habits of obnoxious audience members in a movie theatre, and although it is noticeably one of the lower budget entrees, Cineaste is a very charming piece of work. Not to mention it has some great acting, sharp camerawork, and a hilarious plot reminiscent of old silent comedies.
Luke Spiller: The Struts – Christian Tama Roberts
Whether you’re familiar with the Struts or not, Roberts’ documentary is definitely worth a watch. The film focuses on a short interview with lead singer Luke Spiller after an especially emotional gig as he discusses the band’s determination to achieve against all odds, while also expressing his love for the fans that continue to support them. The film is incredibly well done with a very professional feel to it and gives a real insight into who Spiller is.
Love letter – Oling Kesski
This wonderful animated short follows a young schoolgirl who literally fights to deliver a love letter to her crush. Unlike other animated shorts Kesski delivers some truly gorgeous and stylish cartoon artwork of a dark world contrasted with a rather fun and sweet storyline.