Vegan Film Festival

Vegan Film Festival_JPEGThere are many reasons to hold a film festival. Usually film festivals are held to showcase the work/experiences of a particular community or group of people, particularly those whose movies are unlikely to hit the big screens or even the tv screens otherwise.  The Vegan Film Festival provides an opportunity to give vegetarians and vegans an opportunity to enjoy movies about, by and/or for us, and to have an entertaining night out where you don’t have to check if the ice cream is vegan because you know everything is. New Zealand’s first Vegetarian Film Festival was held in October 2006. Organised by the Christchurch Vegetarian Centre, the festival played in Christchurch and also Auckland where it was organised by Meat Free Media. The festival was a great success but no plans were made to run it again because apart from the fact there are not enough suitable movies held annually to fill a programme, it is a lot of work and we were then busy organising the Vegetarian Expo.

After living through the devastating earthquakes in Christchurch in 2010 and 2011 and the ongoing aftershocks, plus coping with the loss and difficulties of living in such a ruined city, it was decided that 2012 was the time to hold the festival again for some light relief and as a community building event. With more than half the city’s cinemas and vegetarian restaurants lost, the Christchurch Vegetarian Centre, its own office and resources destroyed in the quake, again stepped up to run the event with the support of the New Zealand Vegan Society which the Christchurch Vegetarian Centre represents in Christchurch . Films were selected and most of the film makers kindly gave their permission for them to be shown for free in order to show support.

There will be more New Zealand vegan film festivals in the future – when there are enough good films and energy to organise it! So get out there and make some great vegan films! Do you have a film that you would like to be submitted for the next Vegan Film Festival? Please contact us to let us know if you have a title which we might be interested in. We are looking for films which feature vegan themes or characters, both fictional and non fictional. Short or long films will be considered.

Organising your own festival

re you interested in bringing the Vegan Film Festival to your town or city? We’d like to help! We are happy for you to loan our films and copy our schedule and will even loan you the dvds. We can give you the contact details for the film makers so you can ask for their permission. You will need to set a date, book a venue, hire a screen, projector and speakers if your venue doesn’t have suitable equipment, and do the promotion. We can help publicise it through our website and amongst our contacts, but you will need to do your own promotion too. If people don’t know about it, they can’t come.

There’s a lot more to running a film festival that what it seems. Plan it for a date at least 6 months from now and you should be ok to get everything sorted in time. The more time you have to prepare, the better. You may be able to secure funding for venue hire and other expenses such as promotion and equipment hire. We can advise on how to go about this process. You’ll need to apply through an existing organisation if you are not part of one already as most funders don’t grant money to individuals or groups which are not legal structures. We can advise on which organisations may be prepared to work with you on this and some good places to apply to for funding. A film festival can be organised by just one person, but it’s easier with more help. If you have enough volunteers, everyone can have responsibility for a key area each: films, venue, promotion, funding, administration and food. On the day of the festival you will need at least five people to run it, one of which should be prepared to welcome/farewell the audience and introduce each movie. You might want to run a raffle on the night to raise funds and of course sell vegan ice cream, pop corn, drinks and/or snacks.  It’s only polite to ask the film makers permission to show their film – most film makers want as many people as possible to see their movie and are delighted to allow you to show it. Making films is an expensive business and some may want you to pay for a license. Check all these things out first, and after the event, don’t forget to thank them and tell them how it went. You can use our website and Facebook page to promote your fest but you’ll want to do a lot more pr than that. Road signs are the best way to let people know about it. Local papers and radio stations may cover the event if you ask them. List your fest on event websites and leave flyers and posters in cafes, libraries, notice boards and video store counters. We have found that leaflets in letterboxes are not useful. It is always good if people pre book (and pre pay) for their tickets. But it takes a lot more work to organise and most people are reluctant to pre book. Make sure you open your box office on the day well ahead of the start time to get a head start on ticket sales and avoid delaying the start of the movie because people are still queuing to buy tickets.

Vegan Film Festival 2012

The first ever Vegan Film Festival was held in Christchurch, New Zealand on Sunday, 11 March 2012,  6pm – 10.10pm at Elmwood Theatre, Aikmans Rd, Merivale, Christchurch. Christchurch had been through a lot with 18 months of earthquakes by then. The Vegan Film Festival offered our vegetarian and vegan community a day to chill out, enjoy some vegan treats – such as pop corn, vegan ice cream, and gourmet vegan meals – and watch some vegan themed movies together. We would like to thank you to the Lion Foundation who gave us a fantastic grant of $2,800 towards the venue and equipment hire and promotion of the 2012 Vegan Film Festival. There were ten films over two sessions :

Vegan Triathlon (NZ 2008) – A short film from Meat Free Media about Christchurch’s 2008 Vegan Triathlon. See vegans swim, cycle, run and sweat – all for fun and vegan community of course! Sadly since the closure of QEII due to the earthquakes no future triathlons are planned.

Vegetarian Expo (NZ 2009) – The Christchurch Vegetarian Expo is New Zealand’s largest vegetarian event. Attracting thousands, the day showcases veg community, business with a focus on good food and fun. This short movie shows some of the highlights of the 2009 Expo. The 2012 Expo will be held on September 30th.

Tofu the Vegan Zombie (USA 2003) – Tofu is a friendly zombie, created from a botched experiment in Professor Vost’s laboratory. Monkey # 5, one of Vost’s lab animals, stuffed a block of tofu into the zombie boy’s open skull after accidentally losing the brain. As a result, Tofu eats only vegetables and grains and has no taste for human meat. However, if Tofu ever loses his ‘tofu-brain’, he turns into a dangerous zombie creature, craving human flesh. www.tofutheveganzombie.com

Tegan the Vegan (Australia 2010) – Tegan is 12. She’s in love with the coolest boy in class and just found out where meat comes from. Tegan faces intolerance and peer pressure as she struggles to find the strength to follow her heart. This short stop-motion animation won Best Australian Animation at the 2011 WOW Film Festival, and won the Canberra Critics Circle Animation Award. 

Making the Connection (UK 2010) – The UK Vegan Society’s film asks the question: do you have to choose between a healthy, fun, modern lifestyle and a fair, sustainable, compassionate lifestyle? UK vegans talk about their lives and why they follow a plant based diet. www.vegansociety.com

Jill’s Film (UK 2005) – An inspiring and beautiful film about the life and tragic death of vegan animal liberation activist, Jill Phipps. The film tells the life story of this incredibly dedicated activist, while weaving in the history and achievements of the animal rights movement in the UK, and the wider social and political issues and movements of the time.  A personal window to the often hidden history of resistance movements. www.jillphipps.org.uk

Chew on This (USA) – PETA’s 3 minute visually striking film presenting the top reasons to go vegetarian. www.goveg.com

Vegan Profiles (NZ 2008) – Four kiwis talk about being vegan: what’s good, what’s tricky and what it’s like to be vegan in Aotearoa today.

Vegan Love (UK 2009) – A romantic comedy about a vegan man’s quest to find a vegan girlfriend in London.

Get Vegucated (USA 2010) – Vegucated is an award winning feature-length documentary that follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. There’s Brian the bacon-loving bachelor who eats out all the time, Ellen the single mom who prefers comedy to cooking, and Tesla the college student who avoids vegetables and bans beans. What they discover along the way could change everything. Winner of the Best Documentary jury award at the Toronto Independent Film Festival and a Chris Award at the Columbus International Film & Video Festival. www.getvegucated.com

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