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Did you come to the festival? Did you work at Branchage? Did you perform at Branchage? Did you make a friend at Branchage? Did Branchage help your career? Did Branchage impact your life as an Islander?

We believe that arts & cultural events have an impact far greater and complex than can be captured in a statistic, or audience number. So as an effort to try and understand the impact of a cultural endevour in an Island community we would love to hear about your experiences.

 

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Farewell Branchage – Stephanie Walton

More than anyone else, I benefited the most from Branchage, which makes me amongst the saddest to see it end.

In 2008 I left Hautlieu with a couple of A levels and no plans. A couple of months later all my friends left the island to go to university in the UK, I’d had multiple job rejections, and I was still without a plan. A sign appeared for Branchage Film Festival at a tiny office at Weighbridge Square and it grabbed my attention. I’d always loved film and music, but I didn’t know working in that world was even an option. Growing up in Jersey everyone I knew worked in hospitality, finance, property or childcare. All essential industries but not where I saw myself. I emailed the address on the poster and a couple of weeks later I got a response. “Please come down to the office this week, and we’ll chat to you about how you can help out.” Little did I know this would change the course of my entire adult life, and effectively start my career. From that point on I arrived to volunteer every day and got involved, from decorating the festival office to research tasks for the marketing department to sourcing 100 bags of sand. I helped out in any way I could and learnt actual, tangible skills.

When the festival finished they asked me if I’d be able to continue working for them, as an intern in London. I was thrilled it had paid off, and I wanted to move. I saved up for 6 months working shifts between a clothes shop in the day and St Mary’s pub in the evening. I’d become ambitious for maybe the first time.

I worked for Branchage right up until the next festival, then I stayed in Jersey. I thought another job in London working in film would come up, but for that time I couldn’t afford to stay. Within a month I was offered an interview and job with Shooting People, the UK’s largest filmmakers network, purely off the back of a recommendation from the festival producer. Again, I was overjoyed, so I packed up and went back to London and I’ve been here ever since. I stayed with Shooting People for four years and had the opportunity to work with brands such as Channel4, BAFTA and PUMA. I traveled to Austin Texas, Copenhagen, Cyprus and Milan to represent the organisation and host sessions at film festivals. I helped countless filmmakers meet collaborators, raise funding and find audiences for their films. From there I moved into film sales and am now the Community and Partnerships manager of a new streaming platform called Colony, working on new releases and helping to grow an exciting start up. The only reason I even knew jobs like mine existed is because of Branchage, and the reason I could go after what I wanted is with their help.

In Jersey’s financial grant system I was a person who lost out. My mother earned above the threshold necessary to receive financial backing for island students, but that system has no consideration for outside circumstances, she was not treated as a single parent household despite being the only earner. However, I do not feel I missed out, and that is because of Branchage. As soon as I left the festival to work in the industry I realised I had skipped a few rungs on the ladder, and that is because of the quality of the festival and being directly associated with it. A reference from the team was like a first class degree in my world. I got my education from them.

I continued to stay involved with the festival each year in any capacity I could, for 2014’s edition I was on a pre-selection panel for the short film programme. We decided to give feedback to each filmmaker from the island personally with a panel Vimeo, Film4 and the British Council. This is an absolutely unheard of opportunity for short filmmakers and I was so thrilled to be a part of bringing that to the island to encourage a positive environment for filmmaking but without the festival to hold this kind of event, it probably wont continue. This

is the epicenter of what makes me so sad to see the festival leave. If there was 10 more festivals, there would be 10 more versions of me, happy open and willing to come back to the island and nurture a community of filmmakers.

And last, but by no means least, I made life long friends through Branchage with people who worked on the festival, and people who attended. It is a family.

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Molly
Guest
Molly
2 years 2 months ago

All possibilities lay in Branchage and dreams swelled up too!!!

Dave
Guest
2 years 2 months ago

Branchage was brilliant in the way it brought international films, music and art to a tiny island but also how it transformed the island into a stage for all sorts of adventures, experiences and experiments. I started as an attendee but quickly found myself helping out and made a lot of lasting friendships along the way. Sorry to hear that it’s ended but I know that all those involved are destined for even greater things.

Matt
Guest
Matt
2 years 2 months ago

RIP Branchage – you’ll be missed. You were a uniquely Jersey experience and our Island community will be all the poorer for your passing. I’m sad you’re gone, but you burned bright for a few years and your legacy will be to inspire creatives of all stripes to dream big. I was honoured to be involved. Big love Branchage, safe travels to festival heaven x

Rebecca Coley
Guest
Rebecca Coley
2 years 2 months ago
So the good ship Branchage sails away. It is a sad departure. There was so much hope and promise and ambition aboard. Not just for a few sunny days of the September’s festival extravaganza, but also for changing people’s lives and the way we live in a bigger way. Branchage gave Jersey’s culture a big platform and amplified that culture making it stronger and louder, giving it a name and a backbone. It brought Jersey to the forefront and put it in the world’s spotlight for good reason. How do we measure these immeasurable things? The spark of imagination in… Read more »
Chris Clifford
Guest
2 years 2 months ago

A truly sad loss and one which will be very difficult to replace. International in outlook, avant-grade in approach and the only credible cultural expression of Jersey in the 21st century. Brancage gave a voice to those of us who recognised that mainstream cultural programming had become less and less relevant to our interests.

Dominic Jones
Guest
Dominic Jones
2 years 2 months ago
Xanthe and her team needed to be bold, tenacious, forward looking and talented to deliver such a thought-provoking, inspiring, community-building and magical series of festivals and events. Jersey is a better place for Branchage: It demonstrated a small island community could compete culturally and get itself noticed on the world stage. It showed that with moderate States funding, great ideas and visionary leadership a group of Islanders from all backgrounds can galvanize to produce unique and powerful cultural spectacles relevant not only to our small Island but the wider world. Just think what Branchage could had achieved if the States… Read more »
Jenny Horwell
Guest
Jenny Horwell
2 years 2 months ago
I loved looking through this site and reminiscing about festivals past. The thing that has really got me is remembering what a brilliant and mixed bunch of people came together to make it happen. Each year that I was involved I got to meet a cross-section of Jersey people – literally from ministers to artists, shop owners to farmers, school children to pensioners – as well as the directors, performers and creative folk from around the world. I feel very lucky to have met and worked alongside all the inspiring, interesting and generous people who came together to support and… Read more »
Stephanie Walton
Guest
Stephanie Walton
2 years 2 months ago
More than anyone else, I benefitted the most from Branchage, which makes me amongst the saddest to see it end. In 2008 I left Hautlieu with a couple of A levels and no plans. A couple of months later all my friends left the island to go to university in the UK, I’d had multiple job rejections, and I was still without a plan. A sign appeared for Branchage Film Festival at a tiny office at Weighbridge Square and it grabbed my attention. I’d always loved film and music, but I didn’t know working in that world was even an… Read more »
Naomi West
Guest
2 years 2 months ago
For me this was the best cultural event in Jersey. It’s with genuine sadness that I hear the festival is closing. With so much money on this island it is completely beyond my belief that this spectacular innovative event cant find enough support…please someone who has more money than they persobally need help….I think this would be a fulfilling venture to support. It changed my life in bringing the eduacted and artistic young back to the island, preventing ‘brain drain’. It encouraged me as a young Jersey based artist to create more and updated my practise through interaction with incredible… Read more »
Philip Ilson
Guest
2 years 2 months ago
I genuinely found myself very moved scrolling down this website of 5 years of Branchage’s and it’s related events. It all seems so long ago, and a distant dream, but it was amazing times, and I’m humbled and happy to have been involved and to have been part of it. How would I know that my first meeting with Xanthe Hamilton in a coffee shop on Brick Lane, East London, one afternoon in early 2008 would lead to what you can see in these stunning photos and images? Truly magical and genuinely exciting and brilliantly creative, and to be welcomed… Read more »
Colin Livingstone
Guest
2 years 2 months ago
Ah Branchage. You brought sights, sounds & experiences to us that we normally had go away to see, hear & experience. We still speak of these festivals & will continue to do so. Just today I bumped into a couple I know in the fruit aisle in the Co Op & we lamented your loss. I personally can not thank you enough for those fabulous autumn weekends where I would crawl out of bed hungover & after not enough sleep to go out because there was something somewhere that I needed to attend, then several events & many hours later… Read more »
Drew Whitehouse
Guest
Drew Whitehouse
2 years 2 months ago
I hate goodbyes… especially to places, moments and people that have inspired me. Branchage was all three. Bold, extremely ambitious and striving to make our little island glow again, this arts festival was a cultural feast for all. When visiting the UK and trying to explain this piece of rock called home, the common things people recognised about Jersey were potatoes, cows and our tax credentials. Yes the older folk would recall Bergerac and the honeymoon period of the 50s & 60s. Some might even recall that we were occupied during the War. However in the end, it all kept… Read more »
Jersey Arts Trust
Guest
2 years 2 months ago

To our dear Branchage, how can we ever thank you for all you have done? You brought a truly international vibe to our shores becoming a nucleus where artists, musicians, filmmakers, industry and audience could meet, be themselves and grow. Friendships, collaborations, new projects and ideas were all born under your nurturing wing. You are already greatly missed but never forgotten and your legacy lives on as a shining beacon of how things can be …

Douglas Smith
Guest
2 years 1 month ago
I loved the Branchage! Not only sorry but also surprised to see it go – it seemed to be very popular and successful. Useful information that will help people interested in organising future ventures would be (a) how much did the whole thing cost? (b) how much did the States contribute? (c) who else contributed? Was it like 90% funded by the States and just got the plug pulled completely, or was the States’ withdrawal one of the straws that broke the camel’s back? If there’s a better understanding of this then people who think about doing something like this… Read more »
David Wilson
Guest
2 years 1 month ago

I have the eternal honor of knowing that our fest, True/False, was an inspiration for Branchage. But even more important to me was how much Branchage inspired me. Watching Superman on the side of the dam and Battleship Potemkin in the harbor helped push me to create more and better site-specific screenings and events at True/False. What’s more, Branchage showed me that a festival could (and should) be always willing to experiment, to take risks, to reimagine what a festival can be. Thank you Branchage. You’ll always have fans in Columbia, Missouri.

Evan Grant
Guest
2 years 1 month ago

The festival was a game changer for us and the industry we helped kick start, doing one of the first ever projection mapping projects on Gorey Castle for Branchage. I don’t accept its over, from the ashes of tight financiers it will rise again 🙂

Michael Pierce (the cinema maker)
Guest
Michael Pierce (the cinema maker)
2 years 29 days ago
Ah Branchage – island of dreams! How proud I am to be part of this magical experience. The first time I heard of it, I was being told I was already part of it – a case of mistaken identity with the other Michael Pearce, the Jersey-born filmmaker, but it was certainly a way to hook me in. Now, 8 years later, I still live with Branchage dreams in my heart, having moved to Liverpool on the advice of Xanthe, and with the spirit of the festival in me as I approach community, friendship, creativity, good films and loving peace… Read more »
James Solomon
Guest
2 years 1 day ago
I was privileged enough to be part of what turned out to be the last Branchage Film Festival in Jersey 2014. I photograph for many of the local events here and hands down this has been one of the best festivals of its kind to grace our shores. It is a huge testament to the team who shed nothing short of blood, sweat and tears to put this amazing event on and are the reason this has been such a successful festival over the years. I made some life long friends working at the festival and will hopefully continue to… Read more »
Lightpimp
Guest
1 year 11 months ago

I attended a few events not many but what a chance to see and hear such diversity Jersey has always viewed art with a distant unwillingness to fund except the art center seems to be well funded and supported yet other venues and events suffer and scrimp and save like the Opera House cap in hand and hand to mouth for many a long year. I shall miss Bronchage and all that it brings we can only hope it returns to its island home!

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