Recently, Victoria Film Festival started up last week and that means it’s streaming online, like most festivals. Adjustment was tough, but then it was for so many festivals this year and last year. But that doesn’t mean we still can’t have fun. Online festivals are like Youtube or TikTok with some extra UMPH. There is plenty of stuff to check out for Victoria Film Festival which started recently. I asked Kathy Kay some questions about what went into making the festival what it was and she was happy to oblige.
HNMAG: What was it like converting to an online festival?
Kat: I guess it was a little bit raw. We kept on holding out hope that we could at least do a hybrid. Some live and some online, but we let that go. We had some venues set up, but then we had to set up a new process. We had our own ticketing system, but then we had to find a new one to please the distributors as well as a streamer. There was a lot of research involved trying to get up to speed on how to use it all.
HNMAG: Were there things you had to look up and study for this new system?
Kat: We wanted our online festival to be easy for customers to use, so more intuitive. I think sometimes customers have had a little bit of trouble navigating the ticketing system we had. So that was part of it, the cost, what their fees are. As far as I’m too concerned they’re too expensive, but you have to settle on something. Then in terms of a streamer, one that distributors are comfortable with, and easy to use, which again is just as possible as one click and they’re watching a movie.
HNMAG: What were some of the biggest challenges while doing this?
Kat: We sort of had to reposition people who had tech skills, and had to build a tech team. It’s very straight-forward to watch a film on your computer or phone, but it’s different if you want to stream it on television. So we had to build a tech team so if people didn’t know how to do that, then we’re here to support them.
HNMAG: Do you feel you’ve adapted to the online system?
Kat: We feel like we’re doing pretty well. We’ve got a great guy who’s head of the tech but we won’t actually know until it all happens.
HNMAG: Are you hoping the event will still be as great as the last festivals over the years?
Kat: Well, it’ll be very different, obviously. The big part of a festival is being in-person, to chat with other people and that component’s missing in a way. We’re going to have nightly film chats so people can sign up and specific movies will be designated and so you can watch that film and then chat with our programmer or one of our screeners.
Now that we know a little more about what went into preparing the festival, here’s a little taste of what is happening at the festival. Here’s a couple films for example, but Shaun has plenty of words about plenty of movies, take my word for it.
The Secret Garden – This movie takes us on an absurd journey to an early time in India where a little girl named Mary (Dixie Egerickx) lives alone in her big house in India until some bad happenings happen. She is then sent to England to live with her Uncle Archibald (Colin Firth) where it is safer. On her way back, Mary decides she is no longer a child and decides and starts her life anew in her Uncle’s mansion. But the new place is almost always dark and Archibald barely shows himself at all. The mistress of the house Mrs. Medlock (Julie Walters) is certainly one of the more forceful types in charge with her little tolerance for mucking about. After too many struggles, Mary decides to go exploring around the rather large yard which expands into a forest dwelling where she comes across a stray dog and other strange mysterious things. It seems Mary can’t find companionship, she keeps meeting the dog, discovers a large wall where the dog lives, meets a young man named Dickon (Amir Wilson) and gets to know her cousin Colin (Edan Hayhurst) whom she never heard of. Despite her struggles at first, Mary adjusts to life and even encourages her Uncle not to send her to school so she can enjoy her outside time more. One day Mary and the dog who she has named Jemima frolic together until poor Jemima gets caught in a bear trap that Mary frees her from. After that, Mary decides to over the wall she found earlier and discovers herself in a whole new place. It looks kind of like Lynn Canyon to me. Mary explores the new land and discovers beautiful trees, ancient ruins, and lovely lakes. Now it’s looking like all of my nature walks. She also learns about her family who were in England, and shows some of her new friends to her secret garden. The best way to describe this film is… magic. The film mainly focuses on the beauty of the landscape contrasting from the dark tones of the interior to the bright beauty of the great outdoors. The story itself is a rare tale indeed that I would definitely like to make one day myself, a tale of a young explorer in a magical forest. The characters have good variety and personalities that make the movie stand out even more. Some of the visual effects at the end make things sadder when it adjusts to a darkish tone A great film that should definitely be watched and admired. You learn that sometimes you never know what you’ll find when you explore, or what something is like until you try it, or even that there is a safe haven or two from struggles. This film is magic, beauty, and serenity. With some anxiety-inducing moments as well.
All In Madonna and director Arnold Lim– Some of us here have talked about All In Madonna, but we haven’t talked about the director, Arnold Lim. This happens to be his very first feature. Arnold has done plenty of short films and also served as a producer, but All In Madonna is his latest and greatest work ever. Originally a short film he made a couple years ago, he managed to rework it into a feature to cover more ground and make more story. And now the feature is featured at this festival! It’s sure to be pretty cool.
SpringBoard – An important insightful two-day program that talked about the future of film. Subjects that were discussed included how to make successful documentaries, proper distribution, and what people are looking for. The only downside was I wasn’t able to attend it.
This is just little bits of info for now. If you haven’t already gotten tickets for Victoria Film Festival, go ahead and do it. You’ll have a great time. I’ll just end this article now so you can have some fun watching films online.