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Bolton Film Festival

With 150 film screenings and events spanning across 5 venues around Bolton town centre and an amazing, friendly atmosphere with engaging industry talks, master classes, networking and discussions the Bolton Film Festival was not only entertaining but also truly inspiring. As the Bolton Photographer shooting events I was honoured to be part of its 3rd edition.

Film screening at local festival of short films
Bolton Film Festival Screening

Consistently voted a "Top 100 reviewed" festival from over 7000 film festivals worldwide comprising of the best talent in moving image both behind and in front of the camera it didn't disappoint, setting the bar high as an amazing extravagance of short films not to be missed.

Showcasing moving pictures from narrative fiction, documentary, animation, comedy, student, dance, music, community and experimental films the showcase of emerging talent reached out to wide audiences, with something for everyone and a place for like-minded individuals and industry experts to enjoy and celebrate their love of the film industry as well as be inspired and find much needed guidance from their peers.

With home-grown talent such as Diane Morgan, Maxine Peake and Ruth Madeley all lending their support to the event there was plenty options for younger minds who may be making their first steps in the film industry.

Sometimes touching, other times brave, even scary and often entertaining, the short films were chosen from over 1200 entries. But my favourite part of the event were the workshops and talks. As a female Photographer from Bolton I mostly enjoyed the Women in Film panel with a conversation on the issues surrounding Women in Film. Discussing campaigns such as #StrongFemaleCharacter, the disparity and challenges for women in film, posing a question: is anything really changing? But also acting as a guide and inspiration for up and coming female film makers and industry creatives - thank you ladies.

The festival directory with Bolton actor and comedian Diane Morgan as the evenings special guest best known as TV’s Philomena Cunk and currently starring in BBC sitcom Motherland.
Adrian Barber with Bolton actor and comedian Diane Morgan on red carpet.

Working as an Entertainment Industry Photographer I often see eyebrows raised when I mention my studio is based in Bolton... it's not easy competing with the Manchester and London crowd, so it's great to see initiatives such as this happening right at my doorstep and with such a great result. Go Bolton!

The festival director Adrian Barbers event has succeeded in putting Bolton with his event firmly on the film makers interests map. Furthermore he wants you to get involved saying: “What we are trying to get across is that the industry is not just about acting or cameras or editing. There is also design, animation, special effects, set design. There is nothing it doesn’t encompass - the same skills you see being used on building sites can be used on a film set but you’ll be getting three or four times the salary! What we can do is reach those groups and say to them that they can step through the door as long as they believe in themselves.”

The festival is getting bigger each year and receives an excellent feedback from both the industry and film makers as much as students and the public. Everyone seemed to be embracing the festival as something that is really good for the town. I for one am already looking forward to next year's event. Bring it on!


Ania Pankiewicz #AniaPank

The Photographer


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