25th September 2008

The first Branchage film festival opens

Jersey’s first ever Branchage film festival opened with a screening of Man on Wire, the James Marsh-directed documentary, which used actual footage to tell the story of Philippe Petit’s 1974 tightrope walk between the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center. 

That first film was shown at the Opera House and, three days later, the festival’s final film, Faintheart, was shown at Gorey Castle.

A mix of films

The festival showed both English and foreign-language films, documentary and fiction, and offered a £10,000 prize for the making of a local film. Some of the films were supplemented by a live soundtrack.

Interviewed by Dazed, founder Xanthe Hamilton explained the festival’s commitment to “commissioning new work and bringing in musicians to put soundtracks to old films, hopefully we’ll be known for that… I really want to make it a festival that young filmmakers can come and bump into and have a drink with the bigger producers and I think it works in a place like Jersey because everybody’s thrown together in a small town, unlike the bigger festivals.”

A notable building

However, the BBC was particularly interested in one of the temporary buildings that was being used to host the festival goers. “The centre piece … is a tent on the Weighbridge … made of more than just wood – the Spiegeltent, hub of the Branchage film festival, is built from wood, mirrors, canvas, leaded glass and is detailed in velvet and brocade. The tent [which] has been touring fairgrounds and festivals since the 1920s, is the last of the Belgian Spiegeltents and is now simply known as – the Famous Spiegeltent”.

Other events took place in the Jersey War Tunnels and the Forum Cinema.


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