Soundtrack Festival 2008: BRWC Chats With Dan Thomas

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Soundtrack Festival 2008: BRWC Chats With Dan Thomas

I managed to have a quick chat with Dan Thomas, Head of Audience Development at the Film Agency for Wales, about Soundtrack Festival. Read and enjoy.

What did you think of the Festival ? How did it all go ? We’re delighted with the way the festival went. We knew we had something unique and distinctive with Soundtrack and it really seemed to capture the imagination and inspire a lot of people. The feedback’s been fantastic across the board.

Do you have any favourite bits from Soundtrack ? Danny Boyle was fantastic. His schedule promoting Slumdog Millionaire has been pretty intense, but he took time out to come to Cardiff and gave a genuinely warm and honest Q&A. I also have to mention Gabriel Yared whose concert at the Wales Millennium Centre was amazing and very emotional.



How long did it take to realise, from the idea of a film festival to the finished product ? Talk me through it. The idea for a film and film music festival was first discussed about 18 months ago when the Film Agency sat down to discuss how we could replace Cardiff Film Festival. There are so many festivals in the world, and so many doing the same kind of thing,that we felt we needed something to stand out, be distinctive and unique, whilst also being able to attract key people from the film and music industries. It also had to have a programme with a wide public appeal. We tendered the festival and Push 4 pitched with a concept that later became Soundtrack. The key then was to get a high profile film consultant on board who would give a first time festival real credence. Former Edinburgh Festival Director Mark Cousins was approached and we were all delighted when he accepted. Once the team was in place the Agency worked with Push 4 to develop the festival, talk through the various ideas, and then finally put a programme together. Soundtrack was developed over a year, which is what you need to put something of this size together.

Any film or event that left a lasting impression with you ? The Gabriel Yared concert was the one that really stood out. The evening was dedicated to his collaborator and friend Anthony Minghella and it became a very emotional occasion.

As for films, I really like Justin Kerrigan’s I Know You Know,Hunger was astonishing, and Slumdog Millionaire is my favourite Danny Boyle film since Trainspotting.

I do have to mention The Singing Ringing Tree however which I’d never seen before. Mark Cousins chose it specifically for that Saturday morning slot and everyone loved it.

Have you received feedback, ideas, submissions for next year ? Yes, lot’s of feedback and ideas during the festival and we’re in the process of evaluating everything now. I can honestly say it’s all been positive feedback.

What’s the plan for next year ? This first event was very much treated as a pilot with a view to informing how we run a bigger festival next year. The planning for next year starts now as we’re into the evaluation. All I can say is that we plan to build on this very successful first year and deliver something even better next year.

What films would you love to see at Soundtrack ? Anything that uses music and sound in an innovative or inventive way and embodies what Soundtrack is about – the relationship between film and music. The beauty of this festival is that its unique theme opens up a whole treasure trove of material. What about a film music composer retrospective such as the work of Bernard Herrmann, or an international focus looking at European or World soundtracks? The possibilities are great. What it must retain however is that Welsh film strand, which was particularly strong this year.

Anything you want to get off your chest right now ?! After 4 days of attending everything I’m suffering from festival withdrawal and can’t wait for November 2009.

Thanks for your time Dan.


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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.

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