Today is the day that #blogjune gets a little easier, though I haven’t had a problem posting so far. For the next two weeks, I’ll be posting daily reviews of the films I see at the Sydney Film Festival. This is my 19th festival, which staggers me just a little. I’ve sat in the same area the entire time, though I have moved seats 3 times, happy enough with the seat I have now.
The official opening was last night and I start seeing films tonight. All up, I have 26 movies to see in my subscription programme. This is a far cry from the 90 or so I used to see in the early days. I think it’s also a drop on last year, as I recall seeing 30 movies though I did buy a couple of additional tickets. I haven’t looked at this year’s films yet though I probably should I s’pose and see if there’s anything else I want to see outside the subscription programme. Quite a few films do sell out.
The downside of a subscription programme is that you’re mostly stuck with a set list, and you don’t know when you’re booking your pass what’s included and what isn’t. I think the subscribers are seen as more of a traditional, old school filmfest sort of group, based on the sorts of films we get. Whereas I like a variety of stuff, not to mention gaming and popular culture. Paul Byrnes, who was the fest director for my first several festivals, had an interesting piece in the SMH earlier in the week on the future of film festivals. One of the original aims of the Sydney filmfest was to screen films that never made it to Oz. These days, the screening world is a little different with arthouse cinemas and streams well established, not to mention good TV options. Plus of course, the ease of access and downloads via online (some legal, some not).
The thing I like about the festival, and being a subscriber, is the conversation and engagement with other folk who like watching a broad range of film. I’ve been to other film fests as a regular ticket holder and I don’t get the same conversational experience, folk tend to stick to their groups and it’s harder to engage across those bounderies. While I sit with the same bunch of folk each year, they’re a diverse crowd and we all only see each other at the fest. Other folk seem to join in the conversation as well. The other thing I love is seeing films in such a grand room as the State Theatre, that too remains a major attraction.