Each year when the Beaufort International Film Festival rolls into town, I am a woman torn. While I relish our relationship with the festival, I always find myself struggling with the following dilemma: How do I spend my time there? Each year, we set up our blogging table (which looks like an ad for Apple), determined to share the spirit of the Festival with the “outside world.” But here’s the thing: I’m no good at blogging on the fly. I’ve never been a fast writer – I stress over every syllable – and trying to dash off anything of substance in five or ten minutes, between films, is damn near impossible for me. And then there are the people! How am I supposed to sit quietly, my face buried in my computer screen, when there are all these fascinating filmmakers milling about, even stopping by our table for a chat?
The upshot is that I usually find myself missing movies I really wanted to see, cutting short conversations I really wanted to have, and still having little to show for it, blog-wise. (In the meantime, I also manage to neglect my child, who, at 11, is more independent than she was, but hasn’t quite learned to stop needing her mom for four straight days.)
Here’s the thing: As much as I love the socializing, and even the social media-izing, BIFF is really about one thing – independent films. Yesterday, I only found time to see three of them – The Runner, Wallenda, and 1426 Chelsea Street – and each was astounding. As much as I love “major motion pictures,” I’d forgotten how powerful the short film can be. It’s a whole different animal, really, hitting you fast and hard and deep. I saw three short films yesterday, and three times… I cried. Three times, my mind stretched and my heart expanded. Three times. What a gift! But I’m greedy. I want more.
So I’m off to set up the blogging table again, but I’m not sure how often I’ll be there. I’m determined to see the films I want to see today. And talk with their creators. I can’t write under pressure, anyway, so I’m not even going to try. I’ll post pictures and quick thoughts – and Mark will post filmmaker interviews! – and we’ll show you the spirit of the festival. But at the end of the day, the real “spirit” of BIFF is found in a darkened theater, not online. I can’t “tell” you about it. Not really. You have to see it – and feel it – for yourself. I hope you will.
- Margaret Evans