Cannes, Toronto, and Tribeca are all home to famous film festivals. Thanks to Tilda Swinton, we can now add her hometown of Nairn to that list. You know Nairn — the adorable seaside town in northeast Scotland? Not ringing any bells? Well now you may know it as the new home of the Swinton’s film festival: The Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of Dreams. The festival is her attempt to “re-inject some romance into the film festival circuit.”
Swinton’s style of festival is very simple and much different than all the other festivals out there: no red carpets, no hordes of paparazzi, and no blockbuster movie premieres.
Tickets to attend the festival (which runs August 15-23) will cost a moviegoer three pounds ($6) OR a tray of baked goods. That’s right: in place of currency Tilda will take your cupcakes. And she wants it homemade folks, no Entenmann’s or Little Debbie’s will be garner you admittance. Tilda wants your baking sweat and tears in exchange for cinema. Try showing up with a Duncan Hines to Robert Dinero’s Tribeca Film Festival and you may get more than just, “Are you looking at me with that strudel?” (I’m sorry. I couldn’t help myself.)
To add to this casual theme, movie viewings in the ballroom will take place on (are you ready for this?) cushy beanbags! Tilda has eliminated the need to worry about someone stealing your armrest or your beverage holder. Have I died and gone to movie theater heaven? I hope the Lowes theater people are taking notes.
Swinton is more widely known for her roles in Michael Clayton and The Chronicles of Narnia (not to be confused with Nairn, which we all remember is in northeast Scotland), but she first made a name for herself with her performances in such movies as Orlando and Thumbsucker. Her roots are firmly planted in the indie film world so it’s no wonder that she would be the brainchild behind such a back-to-basics film festival that will feature small independent films.
The festival’s schedule is still not firm, but some of the day’s films will include the classic Federico Fellini film 8 1/2, a regular on lists of the greatest films ever made and one of Swinton’s favorites.
You have to admire Swinton (an Academy Award winner) for putting on this festival as a quiet rage against the Hollywood machine. She is, in essence, trying to create an anti-film festival. In light of that, The Daily News (of all places) brought up a good point and pointed to a thought provoking episode of South Park to prove their hypothesis: In the episode in which a small film festival is started in South Park, the whole town becomes inundated with lights, cameras and over population which inevitably destroys the town. Proving that no matter where you place your festival or how small or unaffected the town is by the movie industry, Hollywood will find it and capitalize on it. You can’t shake its shadow of profit no matter how remote of a village you go to — if celebrities are there, the Hollywood machine is right behind them.
But perhaps in this case, the abundant smell of baked goods in the air might be enough to dissuade the carb-fearing Hollywood elite.