The festival weekend showed what we had done well and what could have been done better. As AFF drew near, our schedule was looking somewhat shaky. Luckily enough, it held all the way. The actual festival days hadn’t been planned in as much detail as the run-up and the disappearance of a person and some communication problems caused a tedious moment or two. Who was it again who was supposed to pick up the snacks for the VIP lounge? Who has the keys? When can we start rearranging the furniture ( = start pulling chairs from under students having their lunch)?
Because the festival was located in Arcada University of Applied Sciences, it was important to make sure the information moved efficiently inside Arcada. It turned out on the first festival day that there were members of the staff (such as the cafeteria staff) who hadn’t heard anything of our event or the special arrangements related to it. So. In order to minimise conflicts, have everybody informed and the information up to date.
The preparations had required mostly brainpower but the event day preparations required muscle. AFF treated everyone to a lunch and a great atmosphere, which spurred everyone from the producer to us media team members to work together and build the AFF festival scene piece by piece. We had a small furnishing team picked out beforehand and they used their small budget extremely well, managing to make the big, gloomy hall user-friendly and homey. The fabrics donated by Finlayson and the patient lugging around of benches and tables completed the final look. Vegemesta, R&A and Castbook came also and put up stands that provided diversion for breaks between shows. Next year, we could arrange a photo exhibition or something to achieve a more festival-like feeling.
The furnishing was a success and gained positive attention but a few other things we had been planning didn’t pan out in the end. A film flea market, an opportunity to buy and sell films and film-related things, never happened because no sellers turned up. We didn’t promote the flea market enough in our publicity efforts and there wasn’t enough time between the media visibility and the would-have-been flea market. People didn’t have enough time to react. What upset us more, though, was the deplorably meagre interest in our seminar. The minority theme was exciting and the speakers fascinating but scarcely anyone attended the seminar. This was mostly due to insufficient publicity efforts, responsibility piling up on one person and confusion about the schedule. In the future, a seminar like that should be on a Friday, as a continuation for the week at work/university. The seminar should also be advertised more widely.
Out of the different competition categories we received the most praise for documentaries, even though there were a few visitors who had seen some of them before. A small delay in the schedule created a chain reaction and the info desk had some trouble trying to calculate when film X or Y would be on. Along with student works, AFF Labo was a hit. Labo was a small room where experimental films were ran in a loop. The comfortable space and exciting short films created a modern, artistic atmosphere that was enjoyed by many visitors. Seeing the popularity of the arrangement, we could develop the concept a bit further for next year and hone the details.
All events feature happy moments of achievement but also areas you could work on for the next time. It’s not a bad idea to write down ideas for further development. We had a final meeting after the festival where we went through the feedback we had received, how everyone was feeling about the event and all those details we should take into account the next time. Our goal is to get an even better turnout and attract the attention of professional film-makers. We’re thinking of widening the scope of the festival to cover children’s films next year. Another thing we need to work on is to think how to include the students of film in the event.
Translation by Pigasus Translations.