Nightpiece Film Festival is attempting to do something quite lovely. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is an open-access festival but for filmmakers, this has never really been the case. Film festivals at the Fringe are curated and restricted by theme or selection process. In reaction to this, Nightpiece is attempting to create a film festival with the same open-access ethos as the Fringe itself. Any film between 10 seconds and 10 minutes with some kind of narrative and a certain technical standard is acceptable, on a first come, first served basis. It sounds lovely, but unfortunately it doesn’t make for a particularly lovely afternoon of cinema – at least, not on the afternoon that I reviewed, which was billed as a selection of ‘the weird and wonderful’. Weird it was, wonderful it wasn’t.
If you’re a bit of a daredevil with your money and don’t mind taking a chance, you might find something worth savouring
An overall problem with the films seemed to be an inability to tell a story visually. A large majority of them were over-written, or resorting to language when an interesting visual solution could have been found. The horror genre was overrepresented, and the majority of these offerings were sorely lacking in tension or actual horror. Other ‘short films’ included a preview for a feature and what seemed to be a music video. Beach Potato, by Jamie Sims, was the clear standout - a beautifully shot production, with a neat, clever idea that utilised it’s cinematic medium to the advantage of the story and didn’t overstay its welcome. On the other end of the scale was Theatre of Souls, a production that managed to be offensive and sexually exploitative in mere minutes. I do understand the good intentions behind the Nightpiece Film Festival; however, their open-access ethos results in the support of films like Theatre of Souls that glamorise and sexualise violence against women.
Based on what I actually saw, I wouldn’t recommend this festival to anyone. However, each day does have its own program. If you’re a bit of a daredevil with your money and don’t mind taking a chance, you might find something worth savouring on the other days, but I can offer no guarantees.