This film festival takes you to watch films at night in the forest

This film festival takes you to watch films at night in the forest

Let’s wander in the forest. Most people who don’t have corpses to dispose of don’t hang around in the forest in the middle of the night. Bucolic places for strolls popular with families on Sunday afternoons, the undergrowth quickly becomes creepy once the sun goes down. Yet it is on the borders of the state forests of Raismes and Saint-Amandon a moonless night, that 20 minutes and 200 other lost souls fell into the clutches of the fearsome and elusive blair witch.

Appointment was given, Thursday, at 10:30 p.m., at GPS coordinates materializing a point in the middle of the forest of Raismes, in the North. As we arrive at the crossroads of barely passable roads that only lost people take, a man in green appears out of nowhere and greets us very courteously. He is an official of theNational Forestry Office (NFB). He tells us to follow another bumpy road at the end of which we will have to abandon our vehicle and continue on foot. The indications of another employee of the ONF direct us towards a muddy path that we will have to descend to, finally, tumble into a vast clearing. At the back, there is a gigantic screen in front of which are arranged rows of deckchairs.

“It will be our first horror film”

“We are on the site of an old hunting cabin which burned down under suspicious conditions. The ideal location for the film we are going to screen tonight,” Elise Michaud of the NFB tells us. The film in question is the Blair witch project », an American horror feature film by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, released in 1999, which has two particularities: it takes place almost essentially in a forest and was entirely shot with a subjective camera. “I insisted that it be shown at the Branche et Ciné festival, it will be our first horror film,” continues the official. Winning bet, the 200 places having been reserved in just three days.

This festival is very young since it is only in its 4th edition. “It is the one and only in France organized by a public institution and implemented by ONF officials whose job it is absolutely not”, explains Guillaume Bénaily, archaeologist at the ONF and director of the festival. . This year, 22 films will be screened “in cinema condition” on large screens in around fifteen sites in the state forests of Hauts-de-France, Île-de-France and Normandy. For programming, there is something for everyone, the only imperative being the “relation to the forest”. And for once, “The Blair witch project” falls right into it.

In addition to the desire to entertain spectators for free, the NFB also places its marbles. “The idea behind this festival is to make people aware of our missions, to offer them an experience by discovering the forest differently. At night, it shows another face,” insists Guillaume Bénaily. The cries of animals, the mist evaporating from the rain-soaked ground, the rustle of leaves… On Thursday, we experienced the misadventures of the three students chased by the Blair witch a little too immersively, even if, a priori, no spectators disappeared that evening. So, if you don’t mind wandering through the woods at night, the festival continues until July 9. Reserve your seats on the NFB website.

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