Do you love movies? Are you looking for somewhere to go this weekend? If you answered yes to both of those questions, then here is the solution: the Bootleg Film Festival at Banshee Labyrinth. Now in its fifth year, the BFF is the maverick alternative to the more famous festivals like Cannes, Sundance and our very own Edinburgh International Film Festival. Bootleg was founded by London-born filmmaker Tom Wilton in the basement of a coffee shop in Glasgow in September 2008 and has since visited the USA, Canada and various cities across Europe, and become a fixture on the calendars of low- and no-budget filmmakers the world over.
The Creative Director here in Edinburgh is Neil Rolland, a screenwriter and teacher who is also behind the Write-Shoot-Cut website and the monthly short film night of the same name which has been packing them in at the Banshee Labyrinth for just over a year. Neil has been working with an international team since August last year to whittle over 200 submissions down to a programme of 67 features and short films from all over Europe and North America, and as far afield as Argentina, Australia and Hong Kong.
Neil was kind enough to take some time out of his very busy schedule to pick some of his personal favourites that are not to be missed:
Red, White, Black and Blue is a film Neil calls “almost too good for Bootleg”; a documentary about youth rugby teams from South Los Angeles travelling to New Zealand to pit their skills against the locals. James Brown’s film has already picked up awards at other festivals and is getting its European Premiere on Friday 22nd in the 4pm to 7pm block.
One for all you music fans, Discoverdale is a fly-on-the-wall adventure following the cult comedy rock band (and Edinburgh Fringe stalwarts) Dead Cat Bounce as they try to unite lead singer Jim with the man he believes is his long-lost biological father: Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale. In the words of the guys themselves, “If you like musical, buddy road movies set in Scandinavia soundtracked by ass loads of Whitesnake, then this is the film for you”. Discoverdale is screening on Saturday 23rd at 7:30.
Neil’s picks from the short film selection include the dark Irish drama Kara (Sunday 24th in the 1pm to 4pm block) and Liars, a comedy about the awkward truth (showing on Saturday 23rd from 3:30).
Around 40 filmmakers will be attending the festival to show off their work, and taking part in various Q&A sessions and panel discussions over the weekend, and Neil and his team have laid on some great side events too, from a host of live bands on Saturday night to the awards ceremony and karaoke to cap the festival off in fine style on Sunday.
Bootleg represents a rare chance to see some great films from emerging talents with an audience of like-minded movie lovers, and all screenings and events are free. I’ll be there reporting on the whole weekend as it happens, but you have no excuse for not coming along yourself.
The Bootleg Film Festival at The Banshee Labyrinth, Niddry Street. 22-24 March 2013 Doors open at 12:30 and the bar stays open until 3am.
For more info and a full programme, check out the official Bootleg site.