VFF 2021 was a huge success, teaching our team a great deal about the filmmakers and audiences we serve and providing the platform for even greater success as we move into our second season.
Between August 1st 2020 - January 4th 2021, we received over 200 submissions from 32 different countries. The standard of submissions we received was colossal, with word of mouth surrounding our fantastic programme boosting our sales to 115 audience members who tuned in from around the world.
Available entirely online, our final programme consisted of 15 short films spread across two short film programmes ‘Side A: Tooth’ and ‘Side B: Claw’, 1 feature film, and the winner of our best documentary award 'While We Wait', which was available to view for free on our website throughout March. In addition to our fantastic selection of films, audience members were also provided access to our Industry Talks sessions, featuring: Primetime Emmy winning Sound Engineer and ADR Director, Paul Conway, (Band of Brothers, Hellboy 2 The Golden Army, Penny Dreadful) ‘A Viable Candidate’ actor Steve Toussaint (Small Axe, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, It’s A Sin) and Scriptwriter and MacFarlane Chard Literary Agents assistant, Magdalena Bird. On top of this, audiences also had access to all of the nominated scripts for last years’ VFF Best Script Award, as well as Q&A’s with the directors of our Official Selection films.
Driven by a desire to use film as a tool for positive societal change, we donated £800 to the disabled-led visual arts organisation, DASH arts, to help them support disability arts practise. Keeping a strong disability focus, we also made sure over ⅓ of our final selection was made up of films made by filmmakers with disabilities and that raised awareness of disability issues. Furthermore, inspired by the 5050X2020 film festival movement, we made sure that half of our selected films were helmed by directors that identified as female.
To close the festival we delivered our first workshop, in partnership with Rationale Arts, in March 2021. Ran by Nathan Geering, artistic director of the opening ceremony of the 2017 special olympics, the ‘Enhancing Accessibility Through Creativity’ workshop proved a hugely popular addition, and we can’t wait to explore opportunities to expand our teaching and outreach strands this upcoming year!