Behind the Scenes of The St Andrews Green Film Festival 2020

Events Green Film Festival

Over the years the St Andrews Green Film Festival has taken many shapes and forms. In 2020 in it’s own mixbag of venues, crowds and topics, the Festival captured attention, provoked deep thinking and sparked vital discussion. Here we have a recap from Jorika Smolikova, one of the co-directors of this year. Read into behind the scenes where she uncovers the committee’s approach to the week’s events and shares her emotional highs and lows and stresses and joys.

The official part of this year’s Green Film Festival has come to an end. We stayed true to the theme of “collaboration” by making a majority of the events become a reality, not only thanks to the Green team but many other societies and initiatives. This allowed us to create more events and, in turn, bring an element of diversity to the audiences and the settings of the film screenings. Including anything from the informal atmosphere of the Aikman’s cellar bar with a white bedsheet instead of a screen and chatting over pints, to the packed Byre Theatre room with leather chairs and a proper panel discussion.

Approaching it from this way, made our events available for many different groups – students, uni-affiliated people, the local community and many more, therefore spread the awareness about GFF in many directions.

This also meant putting a large workload onto ourselves and sometimes would manifest itself in having 15 people on one screening and 50 on another and we would not know how to tell which it is going to be.

Having four out of the six events in one week also made it a bit hectic to plan them all thoroughly so sometimes we might have been just plain lucky. Like when we were struggling to think of and find speakers to the River Blue film screening in the Byre and then the actual director himself offered to skype all the way from Canada to talk about his film and answer any questions.

Luckily, it was not only the people with which we worked but also the visitors who came to our festival that made our lives easier and better. We are so happy that they never failed to show up (sometimes in huge numbers, sometimes in smaller), donated quite an amount of money that kept this whole show going and also asked questions and shared their opinions until we would be kicked out of our venues for staying there too long or (as it happened at the last one) until the panellists exhaust themselves.

I am also very pleased about the last event of the week on Sunday the 16th of February. This screening of Leonardo de Caprio’s documentary green film “Before the Flood” was organised by Lorna Hutcheon, the Green Shoots Coordinator at Hope Park and Martys Church, and co-hosted by multiple church groups across St Andrews. This collaboration particularly reached out to the local community, attracting over 70 visitors. The screening was also followed by a panel discussion about possible actions of an individual or community towards climate emergency and hosted, among others, Transition’s Ali Macleod. 

It was a new partnership for the Green Festival and I am happy to say it was very successful.

I wish to thank everyone who contributed to the Green Film Festival 2020 in any way. I advise you to stay tuned for next year because it will be even better! Also, if you would like to collaborate on showing green films in your group or organisation please get in touch.