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Laura-Louise


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Reporting and blogging from the London festivals scene: coming soon Raindance...


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As the events of the London Film Festival draw to a close... here are a few words from an interview with Sandra Hebron

A few words from an interview with Sandra Hebron, Head of The London Film Festival 2007 

WHAT DO YOU REGARD AS THE KEY INGREDIENTS OF A ‘GREAT’ FILM FESTIVAL? 
Well I think the key ingredients really are great films; you can’t have a great film festival if the films themselves aren’t up to scratch. So, everything starts from the programme and the quality of the films. Of course, a festival is always about more than just films. So, having people here to present the films and talk about them is very important. And something which I think is very key to London is having very sort of engaged and committed audiences. When filmmakers bring their films to London, it’s one of the things they comment on. They’re really happy that the audiences come and really, have great questions, and are very engaged with what they’re seeing.  

AND TO SECURE THAT QUALITY OF FILMS, WHERE DOES THE SEARCH BEGIN? 
Well the search of the films never really stops. That’s the thing, it’s you know, as soon as we’ve finished one festival then, once we’ve kind of written our thank you letters, then we’re starting on the next one. And a lot of our work is very much, to sort of, keep a breast of what’s being made around the world, and know really which films might be ready in time for us. We start looking in earnest, in January and I go to Sundance, you know other programme advisors start to make their other trips around the world. So, from January to August really what we’re doing is gathering as much information as we can, travelling all over the world, looking at peoples films. And then, starting the negotiations on what films might come to London and what that might mean to have those films here.  

WHERE DOES LONDON FIT WITHIN, WHAT SORT OF UNIQUE QUALITIES AND CHARACTERISTICS THAT YOU WOULD SEE AS THE LONDON FILM FESTIVAL?
 I think the key characteristic about London is that it is first and foremost, a public festival. And obviously you know, we’re all very well used now to seeing reports from film festivals around the world, on breakfast news or you know, we get a lot of reporting now from international festivals.And there is very clearly the sort of you know, the ‘A-List’ if you like, the ‘Premier League’, which I guess would be; Venice, Cannes, Berlin. But they’re very much festivals which are about the industry. They’re not so much about the public. So, if you go and watch films in those festivals, you’ve very likely to be sitting next to either a colleague from the industry, or a journalist, scribbling in their notebook. If you come to London, you will be sitting with kind of, enthusiastic filmgoers. So, after that ‘first tier’ if you like, of Venice, Cannes, Berlin; then there’s the sort of next tier, which would include festivals like Toronto, which is another big public festival.

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About Laura-Louise

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Laura Hodgson and her associates

Reporting from the London Festival circuit for fest21.com and filmfestivals.com


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