It was very hot in Luxembourg in August reaching over 30oC - just as the 2011 UNICA
Festival was taking place in Luxembourg City. The event was held in a newly refurbished
theatre that provided a great venue, with one small snag - the air conditioning was
not quite complete. Once again, The IAC was well represented, with 24 of the participants
(out of about 250) being from the UK - five from Nuneaton Moviemakers.
Luxembourg proved to be frighteningly expensive, being awash with bankers and eurocrats,
whose huge salaries and expense accounts pushed up prices.
On to the UNICA festival itself. We were treated to the usual sumptuous opening and
closing banquets but the week was, of course, mainly about the films. Thirty-three
countries, from as far apart as Europe, Korea and Argentina, submitted programmes,
each lasting about one hour. Some included entries from film schools but, as they
obviously have a good deal of professional help, they are judged separately. The
UK programme no longer seems to have any of these, as our films are selected from
BIAFF winners, and our film schools rarely enter the IAC's own competition nowadays.
As expected, the standard was generally very high.
Having arranged to arrive a few days early, there was plenty of time to explore.
The city of Luxembourg is fairly small and set on a plateau divided into several
parts by deep, steep valleys. The older parts are very attractive, with narrow streets
snaking up the hillsides and many traditionally styled buildings. A number of very
high bridges join the various parts of the city, with the impressive Pont Adolph
bridge claiming to be the highest stone arch in the world. The city is surrounded
by extensive fortifications and we had the opportunity to explore the casemates,
a network of defensive tunnels, said to be tens of kilometres long, excavated into
the steep sandstone cliffs.
And there's more. For the second year running, the UK won the 'World Minute Movie'
competition, with Keith Baker's short comedy 'Benefit'. This competition, with entries
from 36 countries, is judged by the audience in a series of knock-out pairings. Unfortunately,
the two UK entries (the other was Lost for Words, also by (Keith Baker) were drawn
against each other in the first round. Otherwise, we could possibly have come both