Ceri Shaw



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Attic Theatre Film Festival - An Interview With Glenn Ibbitson

user image 2023-06-24
By: Ceri Shaw
Posted in: Featured


AmeriCymru: Hi Glenn and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. Care to introduce the Attic Film Festival for our readers?  

Glenn: The inaugural Attic Theatre International Film Festival is organised by the Attic Theatre, a group of artists, actors, writers, film-makers and technicians based in Newcastle Emlyn, West Wales, who are captivated by the medium of film. 

Our designated event team for ATIFF are;

Carole King: an artist, bookbinder and printmaker -and the reluctant leading lady in the film ‘Tatsuko’, which will be shown as part of the Sunday screenings. She holds a particular interest in narrative film and documentary material. 

Melanie Davies: an actor and playwright  who won the  2022 Cynon Valley Film Festival Director’s award for devising and acting in ‘Thoughtpolice 4891’. “As an actor/writer/director of theatre, it has always been the telling of the story that has excited and intrigued me. And it seems that with current technology we can hear and see stories now, that have been left untold. The democracy of film making is liberating for many voices and small film festivals like ours help to give audiences for those stories. Sharing a good story is a universal need it seems to me and participating in that is a great joy.               Peter Mount: is the theatre company’s  sound and visual effects technician and is a big fan of black and white film. ”Like millions of others, I’ve watched films all my life. We watch them to find out about the world and to see it through other people eyes. Life without the enrichment of film, would just be so much duller.”

Glenn Ibbitson: artist and former scenic artist for film and television, through which I enjoyed a brief acting scene with the late and much lamented Robin Williams -which oddly ended up on the cutting room floor, but that’s a story for another time. I hold a passion for silent film -the world’s only truly international language.

Visual interest is our shared criteria, though of course that is subjective; we felt that four directors could better able to argue the merits of each submission and prevent one personal taste predominating.

Together, our aim is to encourage excellence in film-making and to present the medium of movie to our audiences through a free weekend-long event. We invite submissions of short film from  a few seconds long [this is the age of TikTok after all] to a maximum running time of about 20 minutes. We are a genre fluid event with no particular theme. We already have submissions which are silent films, music videos, documentaries, animation. 

Our submission fee is kept at a nominal level. This is simply to cover festival expenses. We are not out to make a profit. 

Our main concern was to make this a free event for our visitors. The public can use this as a drop-in event; watch a couple of films, take a break and return for more , or stay for a whole day session. This guarantees that our selected filmmakers are showing their work to an actual live audience.

AmeriCymru: What can you tell us about the venue - the Attic Theatre? 

Glenn: The theatre/cinema is sited in the elegant Grade Two listed Town Hall above the Market Buildings. The building dates from1892.

The raked auditorium itself has a capacity of 80. The plush seats were retrieved from a cinema in Pembrokeshire They give our audiences the authentic and comfortable theatrical experience. We have a digital projector and a large screen, so this is a genuine big-screen experience.

Attic Theatre Auditorium.JPG

AmeriCymru: How many entries are you aiming for and what are the competition categories? 

Glenn: We really don’t know how many entries to expect to be honest. The rate of submissions has accelerated in recent weeks; a viewing/selection process which last month seemed quite relaxed is now looking more like a task -one which as fans of film, we are more than happy to address.

Films considered for completion will be shown on Friday evening of the 13th October and Saturday 15th from 2pm-9pm. With intervals between hourly blocks of film, we expect to offer 6hours of film. Sunday is reserved for invited works and those made by colleagues at the Attic theatre. These have been excluded from competition to avoid any conflict of interest. This will comprise  another 4 hours or so of movie.

The Festival Categories eligible for awards are:

Best Made in Wales
Black & White

The ATiFF Award -this will be a film chosen for special mention by the co-directors of the festival.

The actual design of the award statuette has not been finalised as yet. We are split between a figurine and a stylised clapperboard! Watch this space for an update!

AmeriCymru: What is the deadline for the receipt of submissions? 

Glenn: August 19th for the regular deadline and September the 8th for the last minute deadline. This allows us just enough time to get a comprehensive festival programme to print.

AmeriCymru: Submissions are welcome from around the world, correct? 

Glenn: Yes; so far most submissions have been from the UK, but films have come in from  from Canada, the U.S, Japan, India -and Cardigan, which is 10 miles down the valley!

AmeriCymru: Will this become an annual event? 

Glenn: I would hope so; the impetus for this event -quite apart from our enthusiasm for film, was the feeling that our venue could be used for a greater variety of events throughout the calendar. My personal hope is that ATIFF can occupy a regular Autumn slot on an annual basis from now on.

AmeriCymru: Any clips that you would care to share? 

Glenn: We have no trailers as yet; it may be a little too early for that kind of pre-publicity, but we have stills from several submissions and invited films which I have enclosed [labelled with title and director’s name] together with photographs of the venue and posters.

AmeriCymru: Any final message for the readers and members of AmeriCymru? 

Glenn: If you have a camcorder, if you have a stills camera with a movie mode option on its function dial, -if you have a mobile, you can make movie. If you think you have something to share with an enthusiastic audience, let’s see it -you could be walking off with an award come October. Ffilm hapus!

Emlyn Town Hall.jpg