Burgh Hall film festival initiative could be a big idea for Dunoon

The ever-inventive Dunoon Burgh Hall has come up with an event which has the legs to be real seller for Dunoon.

Festival Director, Allan Hunter, a director of the Glasgow Film Festival, is to create a film festival for the town, running in 2013 for a modest three days from 14th – 16th June.

If three days seems on the light side, there is to be a preceding three day summer school beforehand. This will be for would-be film makers and will host some workshops and eventsĀ  for school pupils in the area and for families.

Given that Dunoon Grammar School has its in-house television service, DGS TV, there should be plenty of well informed interest for this element of the programme.

The only hint so far about the focus of the film festival itself could be said to look like an easy option – doing the Scottish film historicals, the classics and featuring the iconic national stars. On the other hand, this should be highly popular and the name of the game is to crank up the audiences to try to secure a second festival next year. The trouble with the theme for the first of anything is that it can set a precedent, creating expectations you can get hammered for later if you move away from them.

What is interesting here is that Helensburgh Heroes’ – up the watter – are currently ramping up the buzz for a well supported initiative to create a digital skills academy in a warehouse conversion with studio and work spaces, a cinema and offering training and production hard wired to needs and contracts in business and industry.

A film festival would be a natural event to grow out of – or in to – this academy. Argyll could end up with competing film festivals in its two inner Clydeside towns.

Dunoon, with two multi-boat ferry services to the town, offers easy and quick access to passengers and vehicles from the huge conurbation of Inverclyde, just across the water. A well marketed summer film festival – perhaps in July of August when the full spectrum market is available – could be a hugely attractive draw.

With regard to Dunoon Burgh Hall, it is interesting to note that the Dunoon-born and internationally renowned architect, John McAslan – who gave his expertise and funding from his family trust to get the restoration of the Burgh Hall going – has seen his practice, John McAslan and Partners, selected as one of the six finalists for the competition to redesign Glasgow’s George Square.

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