Times past, for most Islanders the term Branchage meant that tiresome cutting back of overgrown foliage between June and September , but these days it also stands for Jersey’s unique International Film Festival. This year the Branchage Festival takes place over five days between the 24th and 28th September, and promises to bring yet more vibrant and forward thinking events to the island.The Branchage Festival is not just about film and the atmospheric soundtracks that accompany them, but also branches out into poetry, storytelling, photography, art installations, and the Eat Your Own Island food and drinks events. Free from the usual pretentions of other film festivals, this year’s theme is Make Your Own Island and community participation is the key to its success – the star of this year’s trailer is 100 year old resident Midge De La Haye!
If you’re not one of the volunteer festival crew, treat yourself to a Branchage Festival Pass, which gives you free admission to all daytime and evening events, allows you to book tickets online in advance of box office opening, roam between events and also to join the Hedge Jumper Queue for empty places 10 minutes before the start of events and films. The Branchage Festival Gold Leaf Pass offers a total immersion experience, with added extras like invitations to filmmaker and artist private networking events and parties, free entry to all parties and the opening and closing galas, a one-to-one consultation to help you the select events that best reflect your interests, and first dibs at online events and film reservations 7 days before Festival Pass holders. You can also combine your Festival Pass with tickets to one or more of the infamous Branchage parties. Choose from La Bordee Codfish Ball in the Spiegeltent at Millbrook Park, The Wrestling Party at the Watersplash or the Heavenly Recordings Party at the Havana Club and add a bit of craziness to your culture fix.
French designer Agnes b, also known for her love of black and white films and owner of the production company Love Streams, is a guest curator, along with the original Radiophonic Workshop team, who created the iconic Dr. Who theme tune and the soundtrack for The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. Folk-rock trio Stealing Sheep will open the festival, accompanying the 1973 French/Czech film Planete Sauvage and local duo Semu Ca will provide an atmospheric backing to the Scandinavian silent horror film Haxan. Don’t miss the spectacular closing event, when St. Aubin’s Fort will be illuminated by 3D mapping technology to an exclusive score by Radiophonic Workshop – unmissable, as anyone who saw the amazing 2009 display at Gorey Castle will tell you! There are over 60 events to choose from, so be there or be square, as they used to say back in the day, when Branchage meant the wielding of sickles to avoid a hefty fine of 50p!