What a whirlwind of a weekend we’ve had here at Veteran Films. If you weren’t at our festival this weekend, then it is safe to say that you missed out. But to all those who were there, watching, enjoying and celebrating with us, thank you so much for coming – we had a blast and we hope that you did too. For those who unfortunately missed it – fear not! – there’s always next year and we can confirm there will be a next year, the submissions for which have already opened UKInternationalVeteransFilmFestival so why not send us a film for next year?
Our FIRST festival has sadly ended but we can’t end it without a brief comment on how we think it went. I wish I could say it began without a hiccup, but I’m not one to lie. For the few who were there at the start – and to the few who received desperate phone calls – the search for a cork screw was a long one but thankfully we found one in the end (I say one I think we finished the night with three!) Once we were in, the wine flowed, the red flowed a little too much (sorry we misjudged the amount red wine lovers!) and then the first film screening began. ‘Kajaki’ opened our film festival and I don’t think there was another film that could have done it better. Most of the audience were watching it for the first time and if you haven’t seen it I suggest you do because it is truly powerful and completely realistic. One viewer said, “If I was at home, I would have said no, OFF.” But that’s not to discredit the film. Yes, there were parts that were difficult to watch and for a few veterans too difficult to continue watching. But that in itself shows how REALISTIC this film is.
Scott Kyle, as you should have heard by now, one of the ‘Kajaki’ actors, joined us for the weekend. The 7 hour drive he had from Glasgow to Aber did not discourage him, as most of you know Aberystwyth is virtually on the edge of the world. Scott participated in an insightful Q&A alongside Jason Palmer, who is a veteran of Afghanistan and also a newly added patron of ours, which will be available on our website soon so keep an eye out for that if you missed it. Scott also stuck around for our gala dinner on the Sunday night. Thank you Scott, it was great to have you! We hope to see you soon.
As for the weekend itself, we had a variety of people appear for the 7 showcases across the weekend, directors and audience members alike. Over 40 films were shown made from directors all over the planet, and although you couldn’t watch them all, every person who came seemed to walk out pleased with what they had chosen to see. We also gave audience members the opportunity to pick their favourite film and the overall audience choice winner went to ‘All’s Well’ so congratulations for that. Additionally, a big thank you to the volunteers we had from the National Library and to everyone else
who helped us across the weekend, we really appreciated it!
Sadly, the weekend came to a close on the Sunday with our Gala Dinner. The roast dinner we had, courtesy of The Marine Hotel, was fantastic, beef, pork, turkey, gammon, lamb – it was all there even down to everyone’s favourite the cauliflower cheese. Or perhaps not! The wine flowed once more – without the need of a cork screw this time – and Kirsten Osborn, our singer for the evening and one of our Patrons was fantastic. She even got the crowd onto their feet to dance the night away. So another big thank you to Kirsten! We announced our winners, ‘The Space’ winning Best in Festival – click here for the full list – and raffled the prizes. We also previewed a few personal accounts made by Veterans talking about their experiences in war which will also be available soon, so keep your other eye out for this.
But once the weekend ended, Sean received a quote from, Jamie C Boot, the winner of Best Screenplay with his film ‘Wazir’ and who flew from New York to be with us. This is what he had to say: “I cannot thank you enough. You helped turn the most horrifying moment of my life into the best moment of my life.” And that’s exactly why the festival exists.
See you next year!