Rebekah Louise Smith, the Film Festival Doctor, discusses what she expects this year at the festival as a judge, and also talks about her ‘doctor degree’ within film. Of course, this wouldn’t be a ‘young women’s voices’’ feature without an outlook on women’s voices and their place in society when the media and film industry are involved.
Rebekah what would you like to expect for this year at the film festival?
“I’m totally over-excited that ‘Perfect Roast Potatoes’ starring Catherine Tate will be competing for a B’Oscar, as Beeston is in fact the only UK festival which has invited the film to screen and since the filmmaker is English- he’s very happy. I’m also looking forwards to ‘Breakdown, IP-IS and Mum’, as they’ve all received many nominations.“
Are there any secret ingredients from a ‘film doctor’s’ list like yourself to include for the perfect cinematic experience?
“Yes- first and foremost: sound is crucial as that contributes significantly to the ‘perfect cinematic experience’ as does strong acting that is believable. So is the story because the fresher a story is then the more I’ll be talking about it after the screening.”
Are there any top genre categories of film at the festival that you believe may hold a B’Oscar this year?
“Yes Horror, horror, horror all the way! It’s always one of my favourites and is always difficult to choose.”
How does it feel to be the film festival’s first film professor who has received a doctorate degree? “It truly feels great to be recognised for this achievement and that I am ‘my own brand’ in a way and of course I’m genuinely the film festival Doctor!”
Do you feel that being a young woman in the 21st century takes its toll on the film industry?
“It is such a shame that there was an overwhelming amount of ‘me too’ stories that came up in the press after the Harvey Weinstein news broke out. I was definitely aware of the situation, but I was shocked to find out how many women were affected by this. I don’t see it as a negativity, however women are treated much differently and they will become far more strong and respected than previous years now that Weinstein is no longer part of the industry.”
How does this affect your outlook for female filmmakers who are apprehensive to enter such a male dominated field of work?
“Well I’m a firm believer in never giving into fear and never giving up! Follow your heart and plans. At the end of the day, fear= false evidence appearing real. Things are changing dramatically for women, in a good way, on an international basis; it’s important that we continue as normal and don’t let anyone hold you back.”
What does the future hold for The Film Festival Doctor in terms of your career and your participation within the festival this year?
“The future for The Film Festival Doctor is very exciting as we are currently working on several big films which we will be announcing the details of within the next few months. One of our specialist areas of representation is nurturing filmmakers from South Africa. We’ve currently got 10 films from South Africa on our slate, which are all outstanding and we are looking forward to expanding this slate over the next few months with more films from Durban based filmmakers. I’m opening up some workshops too, which will be super exciting!
Once again, it’s great being part of the Beeston Film Festival and discovering so many more trailblazing filmmakers. I always look forward to seeing the animation film programme as John receives so many.”