Why We Started Rebel

By April 6, 2018Rebel Film Blog

We Are Rebel

It’s been 5 years since we had the rather grand, if somewhat foolish notion of starting a film festival, and what better way to celebrate that than with an even grander idea. Welcome to Rebel Film Festival.

The Rebellion Is Coming

The festival circuit is important for filmmakers, but the control of the space is gradually being bought by huge studios masquerading as small indie houses, and that makes it really hard for real indie filmmakers that don’t have huge studios or budgets behind them. There is a widening disconnect between those trying to break into the industry and those already inside. We feel like festivals have a duty to quality, to honesty, and most importantly to the filmmakers who they serve.

No politics, no nonsense, no pretense, just great films and our undying gratitude to those filmmakers. We are rebels not because we are anti-industry, quite the opposite, we dream of an egalitarian industry that recognises talent over all else. We’ve never accepted grants that came with hamstringing stipulations, and we never will. We will always have the best interests of our community foremost in our minds.

Our Drive

When we started the Plymouth Film Festival it seemed like a pretty simple thing to us, we’d been to other festivals and often been disappointed, so we asked why. What was it that we, as filmmakers, wanted from our festival experience? And that single question is how we approached everything.

There were a few things that really stuck out for us as important, so that’s where we put our focus:

  1. A comfortable and high quality viewing experience. Tiered seating, and a good projector and sound system were a must.
  2. Being made to feel wanted, welcome and looked after. Hospitality goes a long way.
  3. Festival atmosphere. Meeting and hanging out with like minded people.

Number 1 is pretty simple, and just involves finding the right venue. As an extra requirement, we also deem it necessary for there to be a bar too of course. The second and third are pretty closely related, and in our experience, the larger the fest the harder they are to provide. Spreading over multiple venues, over a two week period is sure to dilute the atmosphere, so we had a simple solution. Short events (2 days), packed with great films, in a single location (with a bar). As we grow it will just become harder to get tickets, we’ll never expand an event to the point where the atmosphere is lost by holding it at several locations scattered across a city.

Future Plans

Over the next year we are looking for suitable locations to fill with our own brand of film fun. We have 3 currently; our spiritual home in Plymouth, the UNESCO city of film, Bristol, and the cultural powerhouse that is Edinburgh. By this time next year we hope to have 6, including one in the US.

The events themselves will be fun, sociable celebrations of film in the vein of the Plymouth event over the last 4 years. As our community grows we are hopeful of being able to attract press to the events too, as we know how much value reputable outlets can offer filmmakers. Then, as we establish more industry links we will launch the final phase of our plan, which will enable us to assist in production and distribution for filmmakers.

Initially it will be our goal to secure distribution deals for features which screen at our events, and our ability to market and present a selection of high quality films to distributors at the same time, along with our reputation, will hopefully help secure deals for indie filmmakers that would otherwise struggle either financially, or with getting in front of the right people with their films. Production will come after we have a few distribution successes under our belts, as we look to support indie filmmakers any way we can, including financially.

We hope you’ll join us in our journey.

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Author Will Jenkins

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