Independent filmmakers from around the world will have the chance to showcase their work at the UK Film Festival, which returns this month to the Aubin Cinema in Shoreditch.
The festival, now in its third year, provides unsung talent as well as more established independent filmmakers a platform to have their work screened to a wider audience. Last year’s big discovery Buzkashi Boys, directed by Sam French, went on to achieve an Oscar nomination, and the festival was also instrumental in broadcasting another winner Why Don’t We Do It In The Road on Channel 4.
Filmmakers Murray Woodfield and Mahdi Hussein Nejad set up the festival in 2011 as an alternative to major festivals which they believed no longer served those ‘unheard voices’ in film.
“All major festivals will tell you that they’re looking for the next big talent but they become mainstream and so sought after that new voices don’t get much of a look in,” says Woodfield.
By the festival’s second year they found they were receiving a lot of submissions from established filmmakers, leading them to change
“We decided that half of our films would be from quite well established people and other the half from that very new emerging talent. It is not very difficult because there are so many extremely talented new filmmakers out there making it easy to find amazing material done by people that no one – even in the film industry – has heard of.”
This year the festival has brought in the acclaimed director Petros Silvestros to help choose the films, a move that Woodfield claims has raised the level of professionalism.
He says: “ The films in the first year were good, the lms we had in the second year were excellent – but these ones are exceptional and I’m not just bandying these words around.”
Three features already on the programme are the Italian drama Miele (Honey) by Valeria Golin, romantic melodrama The Broken Circle Breakdown directed by Felix Van Groeningen and Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant based on the Oscar Wilde story of the same name.
Festivals like Raindance already claim to be celebrating the best of independent film, but Woodfield is confident that the UK Film Festival offers something different.
“We’re newer, we’re younger in terms of what we look for and although I’ve got great respect for Raindance we’re not doing quite the same as them – we’re taking a younger look.”
The UK Film Festival is at the Aubin Cinema, 64-66 Redchurch St, E2 7DP from 11-15 November