A big thank you from Kathy Gray

*Firstly, a big thank you for what was a lovely opportunity and a highlight of my year. The chance - the obligation! - to make the most of a free pass to an entire festival was one I'd never had before and one which was so very welcome. Winning a 'Golden Ticket' made me feel like a child let loose in a chocolate factory...

I certainly tried to make the most of the festival week, seeing eleven films in eight days; but those films have stayed with me for all these intervening months, and I am still haunted by images and moments from some of them. I can't tell you what a treat it was to see films from so many parts of the world: films in different languages and without language; films made in different styles and genres and covering such a wide range of human experience; films recent and old; animations, documentaries, thrillers, dramatisations... For all my hunger at the time, I don't think it's possible to really see so much so quickly, and I have needed the time since to digest, relive, and ponder them.

The best part of Borderlines for me was being reminded of the richness and diversity of what's out there cinematically - how small and narrow and particular Hollywood is; and that the Western view of the world is NOT universal. It wasn't just that I saw movies made and set in different cultures and countries but that I saw how different countries make movies differently. The ways in which films from Vietnam, Cuba, Romania, Tibet (for example) were put together, the way the stories were told, layered - and which stories were told; all this showed me more of the world than I'd seen in Hereford for a long time.

And it made me feel differently about Hereford and Herefordshire because of the things I saw here. Does it matter where you are when your mind is opened? Hereford felt more exciting, a place of more possibilities, less isolated. And it was lovely to be introduced to Flicks in the Sticks - to have a taste of that communal movie-going experience: it's somehow so different when you're sitting on temporary chairs and the projectionist takes your ticket and makes the tea and sells you homemade cakes and the other movie-goers look you in the eye and chat and have a laugh and the film is stopped for an interval halfway through...Loved it all. I discovered parts of Herefordshire I hadn't known before - another treat.

Thank you for so much pleasure, so much wealth, so much life, and so much to remember. This festival is so valuable in making us aware of the borderlines between our prejudices and our perceptions, in overcoming the boundaries between rural and urban, and in preventing our location keeping us only local. Having it here feels so important, if only to remind us that the West is not the world, that there are dreams beyond those peddled by Hollywood, and that there are so many ways of dreaming and living and being: and of course so many different ways of making movies.

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