And so to Sunday. Much like the weather outside, Sunday at Bootleg Edinburgh was a day of dark drama with light occasionally breaking through. The highlights for me included Irish short Kara, directed by Traolach O Murchu with a captivating Laura Erangey in the lead. The French film Lapse by Gilles Guerraz had shades of Jason Bourne as an amnesiac discovered his life to be much more complicated and morally dubious than he had imagined, while Edward Andrews’ revenge drama Darker Shade of Green built a fantastic sense of dread as an old man tried to atone for the guilt in his past. My top feature of the day was Brett Harvey’s Weekend Retreat, a tense flick about a husband and wife who go away to try and fix their marriage only to become hostages to a pair of brothers desperate for money.
The light among this darkness was ably supplied by Jim Hickey’s hilarious The Download Horror. Inspired by cult US series Mystery Science Theatre 3000, this flick featured the voices of producers Robin Mitchell and Keith Bradley as Robbo and Dougie, two typical Scottish guys passing comments as they watched the latest movie their pal Big Al had downloaded for them. The source of this merriment was Sacrificed, a film Bradley himself had directed a few years ago but had been ultimately disappointed with. Personally, I really hope these three turn this into a regular series. I can’t wait for the further adventures of Dougie and Robbo and their big bag of crisps.
The final film of the weekend was the latest from Bootleg founder Tom Wilton. Pale Horses is a New York-set tale of friendship, love and loss that manages to be both life-affirming and heartbreaking at the same time. The movie is even more remarkable for the fact that its debut screening was less than fifty days after Tom first put pen to paper on the script. When it comes to the Bootleg spirit of “just get out and do it” filmmaking, it’s clear that Tom Wilton leads by example.
Due to the high quality of submitted films and the three-day time constraint, there were two screening rooms set up in Banshee Labyrinth throughout the whole Bootleg weekend. Unfortunately this meant that I was unable to see all the movies that were playing, but even though my selections were mostly random, I was never disappointed. As fate would have it, I missed several of the festival’s award winning films but hopefully I (and you) will get another chance to catch them in future.
Here’s a list of all the awards from Sunday night’s ceremony:
Best Cinematography (Feature) – Autumn Wanderer
Best Cinematography (Short) – Postcard From 1952
Jeff Goldsmith presents Best Screenplay (Short) – Pro Kopf
Jeff Goldsmith presents Best Screenplay (Feature) – Kenneth
The Masques Agency presents Best Actor Female (Short) – Laura Erangey for Kara
The Masques Agency presents Best Actor Male (Short) – Harry Macqueen for Plastic Love
Best Actor Female (Feature) – Esther Hall for Weekend Retreat
Best Actor Male (Feature) – Duncan Casey for Kenneth
Best Scottish Film – Notes
Distrify presents Best Directer (Short) – Fabrice Bracq for Time 2 Split
Distrify presents Best Director (Feature) – George Kane for Discoverdale
Philip Curran presents Best Film (Short) – Plastic Love
Edinburgh International Film Festival presents Best Film (Feature) – Weekend Retreat
Write Shoot Cut presents the Audience Award (voted for via Twitter) – Discoverdale
After all that, there was only one thing left to do: rock out at the now-traditional karaoke Closing Party. And what happens at the karaoke party stays at the karaoke party.
Bootleg Edinburgh was a huge success, with every film playing to a packed house of appreciative fans. For those of you who missed it, I am reliably informed that Edinburgh is likely to become a regular destination for this travelling festival, so you’ll have no excuse for missing it next time. I’ll see you there.
You can find out more about the Bootleg Film Festival at their official website.