The first Bolton Film Festival, in 2017, went even better than Festival Director Adrian Barber expected and was voted a ‘Top 100 Festival’ from over 6,00 worldwide. Among the highlights was ‘The Silent Child’, a short film that won the ‘Film for Change’ award at the Bolton Festival and later went on to win an Oscar.
The 2018 Festival, from 2nd to 4th October, proved an even greater success than the inaugural event. The event featured 110 short films, almost double the 57 shown last year, and also included experimental work, industry talks, master-classes and opportunities for networking. Venues included the Light Cinema – a Platinum Sponsor of the festival – Neo Artist Galleries, Albert Halls, Bolton Museum & Library and the Holiday Inn. Other Platinum Sponsors were Bolton Council and Bolton at Home and there were a number of other sponsors and partners, local and national.
Opening night featured actress Maxine Peake, patron of the Bolton Film Festival, as well as many of the film-makers. The majority of film screenings took place on the 2nd and 3rd days and categories included Student Shorts, World Cinema, F-Rated (films made by females), Made in Bolton and Best of IRIS (the festival organiser partnered this year with IRIS, arguably one of the biggest and best LGBT festivals in the world).
Among the winners was Gulnaz Brennan, CEO of Women in Neighbourhoods and founder and editor of She Inspires and Chai Times. Her film, ‘Souls Migrated’, featured immigrants talking about the homeland they left and their reasons for coming to the UK. Gulnaz said: “The Souls Migrated project was an eye-opener. We think we know and understand migration but really talking to people and listening to their stories of loss, sacrifice and struggle was a very humbling experience.”
Winners in each of the categories were:
Best International: ‘Recall’
Best UK Short: ‘Wren Boys’
Best North West: ‘Landsharks’
Best Documentary: ‘High Chaparral’
Best Comedy: ‘Ouija Sex’
Best Sci Fi: ‘The Replacement’
Best Animation: ‘The Full Story’
Best LGBT: ‘The Ablution’
Best Women in Film: ‘Spinosaurus’
Best Experimental: ‘Interstitial’
Best Three-Minute Quickie: ‘1st Day & Next Minute’
Best VR: ‘Invention’
Best MA Student: ‘Lula’
Best BA Student: ‘The Messenger’
Best Sixth Form / College: ‘The Narrator’
Best Student Animation: ‘Garden Party’
Best Community: ‘Souls Migrated’
Best Cinematography: ‘Recall’
Best Performance: Andrea Kelly – ‘Scope’
Best Score: (O)
Film for Change: ‘Lady M’
Grand Jury Prize: ‘Recall’
Bolton Film Festival looks set to become another successful and richly entertaining annual event, further enhancing the growing cultural importance of our town. We hope to see the same exponential growth in its popularity that we have already seen in such events as the Bolton Food & Drink Festival and IronMan UK.