It’s funny how you begin to reminisce about something almost immediately after it’s gone or finished. Recently, I found myself thinking back to a conversation I had in mid-October, with my vice-President of Rogue Productions and someone who was a stranger to me back then, Dr Alex Fischer of the Film Studies Department. We talked about what Rogue does, the possibility of putting on a film festival in St Andrews, and I had the minestrone soup. If you had asked me back then if I thought the 60 Hour Film Blitz was going to happen, I probably would have gone with a solid maybe. But as last week proved, that should have been an absolute 100% yes!
Between 12 midday on Tuesday 1st March and 12 midnight on Thursday 3rd March, 19 teams took on the challenge of making a short film in 60 hours. This in itself was a success in my mind. To see so many different people and teams taking part, ranging from complete beginners to experienced film-makers was fantastic, and a great mix of students and town members too. Blitz HQ in the Union was pretty busy during this time, with technical issues, teams registering with only 13 hours left to go, and of course, the final push to edit and submit! All the hard work paid off though, as all 19 teams managed to get their project to us, another great achievement and a big aim of the festival.
I think where my expectations were truly surpassed however, was at the screening on the Friday night. As an organiser, I didn’t have the luxury of being able to sleep in and recover from the previous 60 hours, so throughout the day I made many laps of the town, picking up this, that and the other, plus much more. Before I knew it, the time came for people to start arriving. I honestly didn’t know how many audience members to expect, which made me both excited but very nervous. Cue adrenaline and the quickest shower known to mankind, and I was back at the venue. I was greeted by a volunteer, informing me that we had run out of actual tickets, but people were still turning up and paying on the door. A smile came over my face that remained there for the rest of the night. As this year’s President of the Jury, Robert Burgoyne put it, “There’s a real buzz and air of excitement surrounding this event, I can feel it.”
Throughout the screening, the audience reactions were so positive, with lots of laughter, clapping and cheering after every film and a real collective sense of pride for the films that had been made. The winning films all deserved their awards, with ‘Comfortable Creatures in St Andrews’ by Laura Thompson winning the Freshers Category, ‘Bird Watching’ by Dani Glazzard, Charlotte Walsh and Cat Hamilton come out on top for the Honours Category, and ‘Lone Dancer’ by Jordan Bellamy scooping up the Audience Choice Award.
Now, obviously I’m a little biased in my opinion and review of the festival, but from the atmosphere at the screening and the enthusiasm of the film-makers, I would say that not only was the 60 Hour Film Blitz pulled off, but it was a great success. And now we look to next year, where myself and hopefully many more people will be asking themselves – what can you do in 60 hours?