Stories from the International Festival
On the 28th of August there will be a special one-off showing on the BBC Big Screen in Festival Square of films giving unique insights into the Edinburgh International Festival. These films offer a glimpse behind-the-scenes of the Festival, with staff and performers both getting a chance to tell their stories. The films have been produced by students at Edinburgh Napier University.
The films tell the stories of Festival’s unsung heroes. People like the Festival drivers, who are responsible for taking performers from bed to rehearsal to performance to bed and anywhere in-between. Sandie Bornet is one of the drivers, a piano teacher who drives for the Festival during the summer. David Lyle is a retired police officer who worked in the service for 33 years but originally trained as a professional musician and has performed in the festivals since he was a teenager. In the film, Festival Director Jonathan Mills says: “the people who do this are terribly dedicated and they’re as important to the festival as anyone. It’s a huge team effort.”
Another team member, then, is Piano tuner Norman Motion, who works for the Festival every year. He was eager to find a profession that allowed him to follow in his father’s – a cabinetmaker – footsteps, using tools. When one of his piano teachers suggested piano tuning, he leapt at the idea. Now, he says, “the Festival’s a real big part of my working year. You look forward to it every year and nothing else takes precedence over the festival because I enjoy it so much. It’s always a bit of a challenge and it’s good fun.” The film features beautiful footage of the process of tuning, showing the piano as the audience rarely sees it.
Another short film star is Julien Thibault, a dancer with Ballet Preljocaj. Speaking about being a dancer, he says: “you begin really young so you don’t have a teenage moment like everybody else. You have to concentrate, to keep focused, to keep working. It’s a lot of sacrifices and you have to be really, really mentally strong.” The film, with behind-the-scenes footage of the company rehearsing and personal descriptions of what being a dancer really means, is a fascinating insight into the world of dance.
All together, these films are an intimate portrait of the diversity of talent and experience that goes into creating the International Festival. The films will be screening from 7pm on Tuesday in Festival Square, and are available to watch online here.