This coming weekend sees the Island play host to film makers and professionals from around the globe, as the sixth annual Isle of Man Film Festival gets underway. We talked with Christy deHaven, an organiser of the festival, to hear about the heritage of film making on the Isle of Man and what makes our festival special from other film festivals around the world. 

What makes the Isle of Man Film Festival (IOM FF) different to others around the world? 

Mark Kermode summed it up perfectly when he compared the larger film festivals to smaller ones like ours - the big international events, like Cannes, have become more about celebrity, big crowds, making deals and getting papped by the papers. The IOMFF - and Kermode's own Shetland Screenplay Festival - focus on the beauty and power of film and filmmaking, on bringing like-minded creatives together, celebrating independent production, screening short films, classic films, Manx made films and more. And, of course, all this in one of the most unique locations in the world. The Isle of Man has not only provided a stunning visual backdrop to an incredible variety of film productions in every genre and from every possible time period, but visiting filmmakers from all over the world tell us it is also a very welcome break from city life!

Why did you found the Isle of Man Film Festival and how has it changed across the 6 years? 

We originally founded the festival because Festival Director Dave Armstrong, and I were heavily involved in film production and training (within the MannIN Shorts scheme) but realised there wasn't really an outlet for local filmmakers to screen their productions and celebrate their craft. As mentioned above, it has evolved to become a celebration of film in general - from the smaller local productions, to multi-award winning international shorts, to screenings of classic features that you don't get to see on the big screen any more. We've also tried to bring in some unique and fun events over the years - introducing the big outdoor screenings (with the Goonies 'silent screening' on Douglas Head in 2014 for instance, which has since led to ELS's superb regular outdoor film events), short film screenings in the community around the Island, the ever popular movie quiz and the superb guests we've been fortunate to welcome, from BAFTA nominated Amma Asante to the late Sir John Hurt, who we are paying tribute to at this year's festival. And, of course, having the wonderful Mark Kermode agree to come on board as our patron has not only given the Festival itself a major boost, but has also helped raise the global profile of the Island and its filmmaking community.

What spot on the Island is a 'must see' for visiting film makers?

There are SO many! When we take visiting filmmakers on tours of the Island, they are always blown away by the variety of locations, the unspoilt countryside and coastline and the heritage of the place. But if I had to pick just one, I would say Niarbyl. Obviously it has become historically significant in film itself, having been a major location for the wonderful Waking Ned, but it is a spot of incredible beauty and almost has a mystical atmosphere to it. Possibly best seen from on board a kayak - and if you're lucky, you might have a Close Encounter with Jaws...

This year’s festival runs from Thursday 7th September and takes place across four jam-packed days.


The programme of events for Isle of Man Film Festival can be found on their website. Tickets can be purchased from the Villa Gaiety box office.

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