Unfortunately I got wind today that the Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival has had to be pretty much cancelled this year, obviously due to the pandemic. For the last few weeks I had been meeting with the guys who usually organise it over Zoom to see what we could do. Needless to say, it was rather different to the previous years’ meetings, held on the second floor of Charlton House: while I wouldn’t say people lacked enthusiasm, I think we were all at a loss over how to solve the problems facing putting the festival on this year. Over the last few weeks it became clear that the only way anything was going to happen this year was if it was online. If you ask me, that misses the point. The whole idea of a local film festival is that it’s local to a specific geographic area, organised and enjoyed by the people who live there. A film screened over the web can be watched anywhere by anyone – it completely ruins the community aspect of the festival.
It’s a shame. I’m now rather gutted that I didn’t make my usual effort to contribute last year due to going through my break up; my heart wasn’t in it. If I had known what was going to happen this year, perhaps I would have made more of an effort, even if it was just to suggest a film to screen. That’s why I was determined to contribute this time by getting Crip Camp screened. I’m now kicking myself for not putting the effort in last year – I feel like I let the side down a bit. But then, who could have known we would all now be facing a huge, devastating pandemic? And I suppose there’s always next year.