Croydon International Film Festival

By - Wednesday 8th October, 2014

This autumn, Croydon will host its second International Film Festival at Matthew’s Yard. Donna Lipowitz shares her excitement, hopes and dreams

Croydon International Film Festival 2013 in full swing.
Photo by Benjamin Bridges, used with permission.

Last year, the artist Benjamin Bridges and I were searching for somewhere to screen a film we made together. To our delight we discovered Matthews Yard and met some amazing people (including Alice Cretney of Turf Projects) who helped us with the tech, screening, promotion and front-of-house on the day. In short, it was so successful that we just had to do it again!

I’ve been making my own documentaries for the past three years, so I’m relatively a newcomer to directing. I’ve worked in media as a standby props technician for almost ten years, chiefly on TV shows and commercials in Australia including Neighbours and children’s shows like Saddle Club and many others. I’ve worked in feature films too, including a terrible one called Horseplay with Jason Donovan. But my love for documentary film has always been with me. It’s a common misconception that such films are dry or just about nature or tragedy. In reality, documentary can be exciting, fun and accessible.

I’ve been very lucky in that my first longer film Dog Dancing School was screened on cable TV earlier this year. Now I’m making my second documentary for television, called Cat Show. The Croydon International Film Festival 2014 gives me, as curator, and the team the chance to share my passion.

We’re showing films that if you ate your dinner watching, it would go cold

Film festival logo.
Image by Benjamin Bridges, used with permission.

So what’s in the programme?

The festival will take place on Saturday 25th October and the programme is still being decided on. We’ve received over 170 entries from all over the world. What we’re looking for are films that if you were eating your dinner in front of them, it would go cold. We want to show films that hold our attention with an engaging story or are so fascinating that we can’t take our eyes or ears away. We want them to be humorous and to stand alone, without requiring additional explanation.

We enjoy showing films to audiences who would not otherwise get the opportunity to see them – and that’s the beauty of small festivals like ours. We’re not sponsored by anyone, or under governmental influence, so we have total freedom over what we choose to screen. No hidden agenda – just great films.

Last year’s festival went amazingly well! Croydon embraced it and we received great support from film makers. The studio theatre at Matthew’s Yard was so full that we had to bring in extra seating and fans to cool down the packed room.

We’d like to thank Saif Bonar of Matthews Yard for his generosity in hosting us. There are a lot of independent film festivals in London, but none yet that has stood the test of time in Croydon. We hope that this will be the second of many festivals to come.

You can click here for more information about Croydon International Film Festival.

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Donna Lipowitz

Donna Lipowitz

Donna Lipowitz makes documentary films under the title of LIPOWITZ FILMS. Based in London, but am originally from Brisbane Australia, she directed/ edited the documentary 'Dog Dancing School' (45’) which was on Cable TV earlier in 2014 (Animal Planet), plus a handful of short docs that have done the film festival circuit. She's currently editing her second TV documentary, 'Cat Show'.(45’). She loves hunting out fun, heartwarming films that are suitable to a wide audience and making films about regular people with modest aspirations who are passionate about something. I also co - run a small non-profit Documentary & Experimental short film festival in Croydon, UK, which has enabled me to look at other people’s work objectively and make decisions on what will or won’t work for my audience, and also what is just a good film.

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