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This year was a first for me, although there’s always a preview screening for the Inverness Film Festival, I normally don’t go. Partly because I like the mystery element of going to see films based purely on their blurbs in the programme – and whether or not I can fit them in based on the packed timetable – and partly because I tend to avoid the big name films on the theory that they’ll be back. However this year I decided to do things differently. This year’s festival is shaking things up and doing a more spread out format; so it seemed fitting that I switched things up too.

I must confess that I’m a sucker for a good trailer, and all too often at film festivals past I’ve seen a really intriguing trailer only to discover that it clashes with something else I’m already booked in to see or its on a ‘too many films’ day. (Through trial and error over the years I’ve discovered that three feature films in one day is my absolute maximum, anything beyond three screenings and my brain starts to melt a bit.) So it was good to get a jump on that feeling before I booked my tickets. Though I must confess it was a relief when I got about six trailers in and there were a run of a couple of films that I didn’t fancy, as up to that point I’d wanted to see every last one of them!

It’s also quite helpful for gauging the emotional intensity of the films in question, so I don’t overload on too many intense films in one day. So for example Flatland is getting a second screening on the last day of the festival – a day when I’m planning to see only one other film – so I’ll be seeing that then rather than as the third film of the day on Monday straight after The Report. Equally, I really want to see the Georgian film And Then We Danced but I suspect seeing it as a double feature with The Nightingale (and after a documentary about caving and mental health) will probably be a bit overwhelming so I’ll be seeing the clashing screening of Laurel and Hardy instead!

As much as I’d like to see all the films, there are limitations to the possibilities that go beyond scheduling. I really don’t know how professional film reviewers do it – they must go numb at some point!

This year, I’m delighted to see that there’s a good range of documentaries on offer again, and the new format means that I can in fact see every last one of them should I wish, and I do. We’re also being treated to not just one but two silent film special features this year, so I’m looking forward to doing a compare and contrast between two very different styles of silent film accompanist.

All in all it looks like a highly promising year for the festival, I’ve managed to schedule in most of the films I want to see and with space to see some short films if the mood takes me. Roll on November; IFF I’m ready for you.