Four weekends and a coffee shop…

Four weekends and a coffee shop…

TEDx Bedford, where a film festival for Bedford really got going.

It’s absolutely incredible to be sitting here writing this blog post knowing that in just four weekends time Bedford Film Festival will be in full swing.

It’s been a hectic three months, since first getting together, as we’ve discussed themes, ideas, venues, sponsors, artwork, websites, workshops, guests and oh, yeah, films.

When the idea of a film festival was first talked about our idea was of a simple affair. A few films, perhaps three features over the weekend, carefully picked flicks that had not yet been seen publicily in Bedford and possibly wouldn’t be ever again. But you know how it is, ideas form, they grow, fuel gets added to the fire and all of a sudden you’ve got three days full of workshops, documentaries and feature films.

How did that happen?

Well as with many projects like this, it’s the people that make it happen.

A short step back in time to 15 June 2013 and Bedfordshire based director Richard Jobson is at the first TEDxBedford event. He’s there speaking about his career as a musician and film maker, talking to the audience about why sometimes little or no budget can be a good thing. The film industry assumes that the bigger the budget the better the film, but Richard’s experience shows him that the opposite is true. In the audience is Paul Hutchinson. Paul is not a film maker, he’s not a film expert, he just wants to watch a variety of films and for a few months he’s been discussing with a few other people the idea of organising a film festival.

During the break Richard and Paul start to talk. It’s the standard small talk to start with but then Richard reveals that he’s been looking for an excuse to try out a film festival idea and he’s heard about Paul’s plan. Maybe they could do something together?

Jumping head first into an idea is not necessarily a bad thing but following the sterling advice of De La Soul, three is the magic number. While Paul and Richard might only just have met, they both knew Stephen Judge, another film enthusiast and community champion who through a number of projects was able to bring invaluable experience to setting up a successful project in the town.

A couple of weeks later and it’s early on a Saturday morning. The three of us and Kayte Judge are sitting outside The Pantry at The Higgins Bedford. Over coffee we talk about our ideas and aspirations. Two hours later a plan is formed, a plan that looking back now seemed impossible but now, at the time of writing, will be a reality in just four weekends time. Since then, we’ve spoken with each other almost every day and every Saturday morning we’ve met at either La Piaza on St. Paul’s Square or Pensieri, Ram Yard. Our caffeine consumption has been ridiculous.

Writing this blog post now seems a little strange. Talking about something that, well, until now has just been talked about carries an element of surrealism to it. Looking at the proofs of the posters and flyers lying around the table near us, or seeing an email come in from a guest who is attending the festival from overseas, certainly creates a few ‘pinch me I’m dreaming’ moments but then reality sets in and you start to realise that, wow, this is actually happening.

One thing we’re sure of though is that as you browse our programme, as you read the synopses of the films and documentaries we’ve brought to the town, as you look through the workshops being delivered by internationally renowned film makers, the event that is Bedford Film Festival is one that the everyone in Bedford can be proud of.

In our next blog post we’ll talk about the people who showed blind faith and got behind Bedford Film Festival helping turn ideas into an incredible reality.