August 15, 2008

Baking and Beanbags at Star’s Film Festival

By John Ross

WITH no red carpet, paparazzi or glitzy after-show party, and not even a cinema, Scotland's latest film festival is by no means conventional.

The first Nairn Film Festival, founded by Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton, launches today, showing an offbeat mix of classic, unusual and obscure films - in a former ballroom. Entry is GBP 3 - or free if you bring a tray of home-baked cakes - and the audience will sit on beanbags.

The idea for a festival on the Moray Firth came when Swinton, "on a quixotic whim", according to Mark Cousins, a former director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival and co-organiser, decided to rent an old ballroom in the town, known as the Ballerina, where Pink Floyd and the Who once played.

The festival will run for eight and a half days because when Swinton came up with the idea she was making a film about falling in love with cinema at the age of eight and a half.

Federico Fellini's 8 will close the festival on 23 August.

The event has attracted movie buffs from the US and Finland and extra screenings of some films in the 200-seat venue are being arranged to match demand.

Swinton, who lives in Nairn, will break from filming the romantic drama I Am Love in Italy to attend.

Matt Lloyd, spokesman for the event, said: "We could have sold out twice over for some films. People are attracted because it's so different, the spirit in which it's being done and the fact the programme is quite unlike anything else.

There seems to be a set model for film festivals and this is an attempt to step outside that repetitive model."

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