Overnight Film Festival 2018 - Roundup

Overnight Film Festival 2018_View from Hotel.jpg

In February this year, I attended the second edition of Overnight Film Festival in Eastbourne, UK. I heard about this festival in 2016 when the first edition took place, set in Queens Hotel in Eastbourne. 

I've always wanted to visit a British seaside town in winter. So when the 2018 edition was announced, I knew it was time for me to fulfil that wish, with  an added bonus of watching films for 3 days.

The entire film festival was inside Queens Hotel, a quintessential old fashioned British seaside hotel and the festival package includes sleeping there too. How perfect to leisurely wake up, enjoy an English breakfast, lounge around the hotel and watch a specially curated film selection in the ballroom turned cinema over a long cold February weekend. 

The festival is described as "a communal cinema experience" and it was a very warm and fun environment. We all wore name badges featuring our first film crush (mine was C. Thomas Howell from The Outsiders), so that was a great ice-breaker for amongst the attendees. , which was predominantly a crowd of London cinephiles and visitors from other parts of the UK. I never asked to find out if I was the only one that flew in from another country. 

This year's edition included a total of 8 programs of film screenings, 4 of them presented by this edition's guest curators Shiva Feshareki and Zing Tsjeng

Zing Tsjeng presented:

  • Velvet Goldmine (1998, UK-US, Dir Todd Haynes / 118 mins/35mm) 
  • Bound (1996, US, Dir Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski / 108 mins/35mm)

Shiva Feshareki presented:

  • Norman McLaren, Charles Eames & Ray Eames Shorts Programme
  • No One Knows About Persian Cats (2009, Iran, Dir Bahman Ghobadi / 106 mins/35mm)  


The Overnight Film Festival team presented the following:

  • Opening film: The Velvet Vampire (1971, US, Dir Stephanie Rothman / 80 mins/Digital)
  • Seventeen (1983, US, Dir Joel DeMott, Jeff Kreines / 120 mins/Digital)
  • The End of the World (Um fim do mundo) (2013, Portugal, Dir Pedro Pinho / 63 mins/Digital)
  • Closing film: 35 Shots of Rum (2008, France-Germany, Dir Claire Denis / 100 mins/35mm)

I enjoyed everything that was screened, Velvet Goldmine and Bound was a great Saturday double bill, but my no. 1 film that weekend was Claire Denis' 35 Shots of Rum, a melancholic yet soothing film about family and the passage of time. Claire Denis and her cinematographer Agnès Godard are masters when it comes to framing bodies on the screen, especially dance scenes. A film where body language, unspoken words and food plays an important part in the narrative. 

It was quite an enriching 3 days of film discoveries and discussions, with activities like movie quiz night, artist performance in one of the rooms, TV viewing in another room, communal breakfast and dinners, party room, fortune teller, fun decorations throughout the hotel  and a closing party that started with Bowie-oke and then just ended up with everything goes karaoke. 

I interviewed Chloe Trainer and Isabel Moir, two of the founding members of the festival for Tea with Culture podcast. We discussed how the festival started, the film selection and what they hope to achieve with this festival. You can listen to it by pressing play below. 

 

These are photos from the festival, taken by Paul Johnson

 

On my last morning after the festival ended, I woke up to a snowy Eastbourne, a view I was not expecting to see. I stayed in the room and enjoyed the view. A view like this doesn’t happen often to a gal from Dubai. 

 Photo by Hind Mezaina 

Photo by Hind Mezaina