So HIFF is over for this year. I managed to fit in three screening as well as attending the press conference, with my busy schedule I am happy I made it to that. Of course there was a lot more that I missed out on but that is life. The first screening I made it to was Mudbloods, a documentary about the magic sport of Quidditch. I have read all the Harry Potter books and they bring back a lot of memories from my childhood so it was a natural choice to see this one. And I was not disappointed, on the contrary it was an amazing sports documentary. The second screening I went to was A Year in Champagne, another documentary. In this one we get to experience one year in the district of Champagne in the north of France. France is one of my favorite vacation spots in the world but I have never been to Champagne, after seeing this documentary though, it will not be long until I travel there. The last movie I watched was Haider, a Bollywood adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This was actually the first Bollywood movie I ever saw, I went with a friend who has seen some Bollywood movies before and I was amazed by the visuals and the compelling storytelling. One of the best movies I have seen this year.
Before the screening of Mudbloods, there was a small event where people got to compete in a Harry Potter contest (you can read more in my coverage of the event here). Also the director and producer were there to host a Q & A. This was one of the highlights for me during the festival but my best experience came from watching Haider, I was really surprised. I expected a colorful and crazy musical movie that sort of exemplifies Bollywood. But instead it was a dark story about war and suffering. Like I said, one of the best movies I have watched so far this year.
Attending HIFF is an excellent way to get out of your comfort zone when it comes to choosing movies. The film festival has a lot of movies from all over the world and it is a great place to watch movies from countries you might not have that much experience from. Especially movies that cross the border between east and west. That blend is something that I am taking with me, even though I just managed to see one movie that was not produced in the west it was enough to open up my eyes and see what else is out there.
The one negative thing I have experienced during HIFF was when the screening of A Year in Champagne got cut short. Apparently there was something wrong with the distribution of the film, which resulted in the fact that we missed out on the last five minutes of the movie.
The collaboration that HIFF has with HPU is great, it allows students to integrate with local media and local culture in an environment that is not a classroom. I really appreciated this experience and hope that students in the future will be as lucky. I would recommend anyone who has the possibility to attend the festival to do so, and at least watch one maybe two films. It is a good blend of entertainment and learning.