MAASTRICHT. A film festival, a kick-off in the Stadspark and of course lots and lots of workshops: the seventh annual WE Festival, from 24 April to 1 May, will be the most extensive one yet. The festival is organised by volunteers – many of them students – who have encouraged as many organisations and people as possible to collaborate and contribute to the content of the programme.
The biggest addition is the three-day Film Festival, hosted at Lumière Cinema and the Brandweer Kantine. "It started out with one of our volunteers thinking it would be great to have screenings of work by young filmmakers”, says PR staff member Zoe Gorringe. “Everyone was very enthusiastic, he built a team around him and the thing got huge.” The festival received over 11,000 submissions from filmmakers from all over the world. Feature films, shorts and documentaries will be shown in addition to new work by young filmmakers.
Also new is the kick-off on Sunday 24 April in the Stadspark. “It’s the first time we’re having an open-air event for the whole of Maastricht”, says Gorringe. “It starts at 11.00 and lasts until 23.00. There’ll be music, food, dancing and a DJ in the evening.”
Is Gorringe worried that, with the expansion and professionalisation of the WE Festival, the original spirit of a small-scale, interactive, community festival might be lost? “I think it’s still a festival where everyone’s ideas are welcomed. The scene has grown – our team now has 30 to 40 members and then there are the volunteers – but there’s still a lot of collaboration and interaction going on.”