John Tomkins director of the English Riviera Film Festival was interviewed by D&CFilm editor Lee Morgan at Torquay Museum for a Torquay Museum Society lecture.
John described how his desire to create a platform for both filmmakers and Torbay grew from its early beginnings as part of the English Riviera Fringe Festival into a multi-venue, multi-stream event with both national and international connections.
The event was part of the Torquay Museum Society’s lectures and took the form of an ‘on stage’ interview, with a backdrop of scenes from the English Riviera Film Festivals, promos and winner’s acceptance speeches.
As a filmmaker himself, John was keen to recognise a need for an audience for the work he and fellow filmmakers from Torbay and Devon were making. He also wanted to open up the magic of filmmaking to new audiences with exhibitions and demonstrations from behind the scenes to accompany the screening.
In 2015 the ‘celebrating film day’ at Torbay Hotel was the first outing of the English Riviera Film Festival. For 2017 its main venue was at the Riviera Center, with satellite events taking place at Blue Walnut, Paignton Picture House, Cockington Court and Brixham Edge. The festival moved to the Palace Theatre Paignton in 2018. And it found a home at South Devon College High Tech and Digital Center in 2019, where it has been – including at restrictions induced online festival in 2020.
As it went online in 2020, John incorporated online interviews and panel events to reach out and engage filmmakers as well as offer new perspectives for film watchers.
The English Riviera in 2017 introduced awards, and it has attracted attendees from throughout the UK and even filmmakers have travelled internationally to attend.
The festival was touched by the wave of tragedy in 2021 as former winner Halyna Hutchins, who was awarded best cinematographer for her work on Treacle in 2019, died on a film set.
All award-winners receive a unique piece of Cockington Crystal, which John has the great joy of’ sending a piece of Torbay’ around the world.
Closer to home, John helps develop burgeoning film talent with the South Devon College filmmaker of the year award.
The ERFF is a treat for us at D&CFilm as we get to chat to such a variety of filmmaking talent. Delve into our coverage.
The English Riviera Film Festival plans to return in November 2022. Explore the website for past winners and what’s to come.
And, if you’re in the area, take a look at the variety of talks on offer from Torquay Museum Society’s lectures.
Top image: from left to right David Wills, Torquay Museum Society president, Lee Morgan, editor D&CFilm, John Tomkins director of the English Riviera Film Festival.
📷 courtesy of Jim Elton