At 3am Monday morning, the latest Bootleg Film Festival came to a close, not with a whimper but with a bang; the bang of an Edinburgh cavern full of inebriated filmmakers and film lovers from all over the world rocking out to some good old-fashioned karaoke, after three days celebrating the best of low and no budget movie-making covering every genre you can possibly think of.
Team Bootleg is led by founder Tom Wilton and Neil Rolland, Creative Director of Bootleg Edinburgh, and they and their compatriots pulled out all the stops to make their debut in the city a weekend to remember.
The festival started off in fine style with Strings, the first feature from writer-director Rob Savage. Telling the story of four young people and their intersecting love lives over the final summer before the intrusion of adulthood, Strings is a movie that revels in the ups and downs of that time in our lives – the feeling that nothing will ever be as good as it is right now – while still pointing out the immature self-absorption that comes with being 18 and the centre of the universe. Made when Savage was himself the age of his earnest protagonists, Strings definitely marks out a talent to watch.
Other hits on Saturday included two shorts from first-time directors: Londoner Deloris Collins’ Once Upon a Time and Notes by Glasgow’s John McPhail. Running at less than 15 minutes between them, these two films take a skewed look at how relationships can start or finish with hilarious results. For the rugby fans (and non-fans) there was James Brown’s documentary Red, White, Black and Blue which followed a boys and a girls rugby team from a school in South Central L.A. on a tour of New Zealand. It is a fascinating, emotional and uplifting film that shows the power of sport to bring together people from such disparate backgrounds, and it can bring a tear to the eye of even the most jaded audience member. Not me though; I just got a speck of dust under my contact lens.
Representing the home team, Craig-James Moncur was here with his film Extra Time (shot in and around Tynecastle Stadium) about a man dealing with the loss of his father, while the first night was brought to a rousing close by David Barras’ Edinburgh-based comic book movie (with a twist) Electric Man. The tale of two hapless comic-store owners getting unwittingly caught up in the hunt for the fabled Electric Man issue 1 was a huge success with the crowd at Banshee Labyrinth.
So that was Day 1. Be sure to stop by again later for more on this great weekend.