Small films for the big screen


Dublin’s Darklight film festival proves that there’s light at the end of the tunnel for hopeful filmmakers, as Ciara Andrews discovers

Film fanatics and filmmakers alike will be flocking to The Factory on Grand Canal Dock this month to attend the annual Darklight Film Festival. Established in 1999, Darklight has developed on an international level over the past twelve years, allowing the festival to bring new and exciting work to Irish audiences.

Spread across three days, Darklight welcomes talent from all corners of the globe and showcases the best in low-budget independent films. As Festival manager Sinead Ní Bhríon explains to Otwo: “We don’t programme blockbuster films, it’s more like a special niche of smaller independent films”. The festival also places a strong emphasis on the different channels for financing, producing and distributing these films, instructing the filmmakers of tomorrow on how they can get their films made and seen.

The days are filled with workshops and guest speakers who will recommend more left-field ways of getting your film into the public domain. Jeanie Finlay will be screening her film Sound it Out and talking about how she financed the film through crowdfunding websites, in order to promote and encourage the idea of a successful crowdfunding campaign. Andrew Heatherton, the man behind one such website, Fundit Ireland, will be speaking about securing finance from friends, fans and followers across the world to make a successful film.

Each year the Darklight festival is based on a theme, which compliments and guides the screenings and workshops. The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Strictly Roots’ and Ní Bhríon describes the idea behind this theme as “a grassroots approach to filmmaking at ground level. It involves people getting their own projects made, cutting out the middle man and putting the eventual success of the film into the audience’s hands”.

The films this year are made up of submissions from communities, collaborative filmmakers, and friends who have come together against the backdrop of global financial meltdown and managed to make moving, challenging and highly entertaining films.

Out of all the screenings, Ní Bhríon recommends Sound It Out most highly. She explains that this is “a film about the last remaining record store in a town in North England. It was beautifully shot and really well thought out and it’s got an amazing soundtrack as well”. With a programme packed full of film screenings, talks and workshops, the Darklight Film festival is a must for any cinephile or hopeful filmmaker.

The festival runs from Thursday 20th to Saturday 22nd of October. One day passes are €10 and all access weekend passes are €20.