GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - The Garden Route International Film Festival (Griff) concluded in Sedgefield last weekend, bringing to an end two-and-a-half weeks of virtual film screenings and drive-ins across the greater Garden Route area.
A descendant of the Knysna Film Festival held for the first time last year, the Griff was forced to go online this year when the Covid-19 pandemic came knocking. However, they refused to be limited to just that, and set in motion plans to bring back the good old days of drive-in movies to the Garden Route.
This would see 19 films screened in nine different towns over the course of 17 consecutive days, starting out in Riversdale on 25 September with viewings of Die Seemeeu and Wonderlus.
From there, the movie "roadshow" moved on to Ladismith, Calitzdorp, Oudtshoorn, Mossel Bay, George, Plettenberg Bay, Knysna and, finally, Sedgefield. The crews at the helm of the Griff ship had no breaks between screenings, and would pack up and set up again every second day when they travelled to a new town.
"It's been a very busy couple of weeks for us, the crew are all knackered," said festival director Patrick Walton.
The festival was not only a landmark in the return of drive-in cinemas, but lucky Knysna moviegoers on Saturday 10 October had the opportunity of watching the worldwide premiere of Mr Johnson, which is only set for release next year.
This South African film was recently awarded the best film and best actor awards at the Global Nonviolent Film Festival in New York.
While Walton acknowledges that support wasn't always what it could have been due to difficulties encountered along the way, they remain grateful. "We struggled with obtaining permits from various municipalities in the Garden Route, and therefore couldn't always market the drive-ins the way we would have liked," he said.
"But, that is not to say that we do not appreciate the support we did receive. Thank you to everyone who came out in support of our festival."
Organisers are yet to announce the winners of the festival's competition, which saw 74 movies entered to battle it out for various prizes.
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