Loco (26-29 January 2012) was my first festival in London since moving here in January and it was also the first time it was being held. Interestingly, it coincided with Death – Southbank Centre’s Festival For The Living (27-29 January 2012), both happening in the supposedly most depressing week of the year during a freezing cold and dark January. As Loco was about ‘championing the craft of comedy filmmaking’ and Death Fest about confronting issues around death it was intriguing to jump between the two.
Loco is based at the BFI where we had various comedy screenings, LoCollege (two days of industry panels for comedy writers and filmmakers), a mood lounge as well as a number of networking events in the Benugo Bar. Death Fest at the Royal Festival Hall had the most extraordinary ‘crazy coffin’ exhibition, tips on designing your own funeral, organ donation, a colourful and musical ‘death march’ by members of Kids Company and death rituals from around the world.
Volunteering with LoCo was a rather relaxed affair. We were a handful of film enthusiasts, some seriously into comedy, who did a mix of working the info table, assembling make-your-own-muppet packs for kids, decorating the mood lounge and generally being helpful. With Death Festival pretty much next door, it was intriguing to observe the different atmosphere at both events. I was surprised that I found Death Fest almost more cheerful than LoCo, which was at times really quiet, especially in the afternoons. What both events had in common though was to help us look at ways of overcoming the darkest part of the year by focusing on positive things. Which of the two strategies we would choose is up to each of us I guess.