The fourth installment of the QUAD's very own international film festival is an utterly enjoyable weekend of fantastic, family-themed cinema.
While many of the film festivals that regularly take place around the world preview the best in upcoming cinema, iD Fest elects to showcase not only new films, but a selection of golden oldies, obscure masterpieces, intelligent shorts and everything in between.
Regular attendees will know that each year, iD Fest adopts a thematic vein around which it builds its programme and the theme for this year's festival was that of 'Family'. The difficulty with basing an entire weekend of film around one theme is that curators and programmers can fall in to the trap of crowbarring in content that has only a very tenuous connection to said theme.
That said, nothing I saw at iD Fest felt out of place or as though it had been shoehorned in simply to fit the whims of those responsible for selection. Evidently, the team behind iD Fest had dedicated a vast amount of time, attention and obvious affection in creating the programme and making sure that everything therein was there with good reason.
Every programmed feature of the weekend had a clear connection to the theme; from the joy and dysfunction of traditional family life in films like The Godfather, The Royal Tenenbaums and festival opener (and sure-fire gong winner), The Iceman, to the more subtle ideas of friends, fellow gang members, or even pets as familial substitutes, as portrayed in The Warriors and Furever.
The intent of the co-ordinators to create not only coherence, but ‘an experience’ at this year’s iD Fest was further evidenced by the minute – blink and you might miss them – details, like the family-themed music that played in the cinemas throughout the weekend, or ushers offering punters “wafer thin mints” prior to the screening of The Meaning Of Life.
It's an oft-used cliche to describe an event of this nature as offering "something for everyone", but you'd be hard pressed to argue to the contrary as far as this iD Fest 2013 was concerned. With a wholly diverse schedule of Hollywood, independent, foreign language, documentary, and short films – and much more besides – the programme truly offered something of interest to every viewer's palate.
The weekend presented attendees with the opportunity to hear true legends of stage and screen talk about and reflect upon their careers, including Monty Python’s Terry Jones accompanied by a screening of The Meaning of Life, and a charming, emotional hour in the presence of Dame Janet Suzman before a screening of Peter Greenaway's The Draughtman's Contract. It was a notable highlight of the festival – and an genuine pleasure – to see both Jones and Dame Janet awarded iD Fest’s Hero of Cinema award.
The festival also played host to panels made up of industry experts such as Saturday’s Directors Panel, which was attended by Hatch’d Magazine’s Tom and Lara. Panel members Dominic Burns, James Nunn and Dexter Fletcher shared some of their experiences of working in the film industry with a room of amateur film-makers and enthusiasts offering tips and advice on getting a foothold in the industry.
Throughout the weekend, iD Fest 2013 sought to promote local talent with Derbyshire-based actors and film-makers heading up a short film-makers panel, QUAD Director of Film and Co-Director of iD Fest, Adam Marsh, screening the trailer for his upcoming picture, Devil’s Tower, and a showcase of the results from ’ 24 hour film challenge closing the weekend. Derby sons past and present were also celebrated, with a an affectionate review of the career of Alan Bates, and upcoming star, Jack O'Connell in conversation, speaking with evident fondness for his home city, before a preview of his latest picture, The Liability.
iD Fest continues to be an event that clearly cares a great deal, not only for cinema, but for the experience and enjoyment of festival-goers. With a knowledgeable team behind the festival ensuring a diverse, engaging and rewarding programme, a demonstrative attention to detail, and a focus on the promotion and development of local film, iD Fest has already garnered a remarkable reputation for quality despite only being in its third year. Let’s hope that this fantastic home-grown festival continues to blossom and build upon the excellent, rich foundation it has established in its formative years.
Look out for our special iD Fest Podcast on the site early next week. To find out more about this year’s iD Fest, go to www.idfest.co.uk.