SCHOOL COLUMN: Duchess’s Community High School

Berwick Film and Media festival
Berwick Film and Media festival


Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival is an annual, five-day cinematic extravaganza in which dusty corners of the local streets are filled with surreal short films, which are eye-opening, controversial, and certainly get you thinking.

Berwick Film and Media festival

Berwick Film and Media festival

The Maltings theatre screens a host of feature-length films, in addition to many other fun activities. The theme of this year’s festival was Border Crossing and everything shown reflected this.

The atmosphere at The Maltings last week was that of a family movie night, so effortless, you’d be forgiven for assuming a member of staff had glanced over their DVD collection and pulled out a few outstanding examples of independent cinema before leaving the house.

However, I can assure you that this is not the case. Months ago, I was part of a focus group made up of school students between the ages of 15 and 17.

We viewed two movies and debated intensely on which should be displayed to the public.

This was incredibly difficult, due to the quality and merit of both films, and the day concluded with much bloodshed and broken marriages, as well as a decision that Approved For Adoption was the victor.

It’s the semi-autobiographical story of the director, Yung, focusing on when he was a young boy abandoned in his home of South Korea and adopted by a Belgian family.

It deals with his disenchantment with cultural identity, and struggles with integrating among any culture.

The film is primarily animation, all illustrated beautifully by Yung, who is also a graphic novelist.

The film also included footage filmed of him and his family when he was a child, and clips of him revisiting Korea as an adult. The audience viewing the film on Saturday had the chance to find out more about this, as myself and others who had selected the film had the opportunity to host a question and answer session with Yung.

The audience asked engaging questions and created such a positive atmosphere, prompting Yung to tell us tales of the process of filming and family skiing holidays.

If you live in Northumberland, or visit it regularly, and you haven’t yet been to the Berwick Film and Media Festival, it’s definitely worth planning a date in your diaries for next September.

Each year, the festival seems to grow from strength to strength, and is a welcome alternative to the Hollywood-produced mainstream films that our multiplexes are full of.

Lucy Stewart, Year 13