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“This one is definitely one of the tops,” says US filmmaker Todd Thompson

Renowned US filmmaker Todd Thompson recently expressed his admiration for the Bahrain Film Festival, praising it as one of the top festivals he has encountered in his illustrious career. In an interview with Bahrain This Week, Todd shared his thoughts on the festival’s exceptional organisation and the palpable enthusiasm and creativity that permeate the event.

“It’s been a great experience being here and in this,” he said.
“I wish I could stay longer. Well, it’s been great being here; everyone has just been extremely hospitable. The festival is amazing. I’ve had my fair share of experience at film festivals around the world, and this one is definitely one of the top. It’s just not just the way it’s been organised but just the enthusiasm in the energy and creativity here, and I think most of it is the love of cinema; you can really feel that. You can taste it here. It’s just fun to be around, especially when you’re hanging out with film makers and storytellers all day long. It is just that the wheels are constantly turning and the energy is flowing. So it’s been a great fun ride.”

Todd screened his movie “Woman in Motion” at the festival that was organised by the Bahrain Cinema Club, supported by the Information Ministry and the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA). On the second day of the festival, movie enthusiasts gathered at Seef Mall Cinema to witness the screening of “Woman in Motion”.

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The movie features the story of Star Trek actress-turned-NASA-recruiting-pioneer Nichelle Nichols. It goes into depth on the Star Trek actress’ journey as she formed the company Women In Motion, helping recruit over 8,000 minority men and women for the space programme.

As a boy, he grew up watching Star Wars on the big screen, and Todd knew what he was meant to do the rest of his life. As a boy, he experimented behind the camera, making short films with the help of his family and friends and his grandfather’s 8mm camera. Today, Todd is a creative director, producer, and writer who has enjoyed a career both in front of and behind the camera. His favourite role, however, has always been that of a storyteller, and he grew up with a “poetic” and “romantic” dream to be a filmmaker.

“In Bahrain, I’ve had a chance to talk to school kids and talk about my journey, and it’s cool to look back. I remember when I was there, watching movies and getting so influenced by what I saw, and I had such a passion for storytelling. I would literally spend my time at home writing, writing stories, and writing books. My love for storytelling – I credit that a lot to my parents and my grandparents. I had an uncle who owned a movie theatre in the town where I grew up. So I got to see all my movies there on Friday nights. But I didn’t watch it from the seats, but from up in the back, where the projector was. So I had a different type of movie experience, and I think all that influenced me as I grew older. And funny, I didn’t study film in school. I studied business, marketing, and advertising, but it was always, like, inside me. So now that I’m older and I’m a filmmaker, I look back and I realise that, you know, whatever that passion is inside you is what you should listen to. Because that’s what you’re supposed to be doing.”

Todd has over 20 years of experience working with The Walt Disney Company and other well-known consumer brands, including ESPN, ABC, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Smucker’s, Jif, Folgers, The Orlando Magic, Atlantis, and NASA. Todd also boasts a modest resume of award-winning films and is currently in production on PRE FAB!, the incredible story of one man, his drums, and a culture that gave birth to the biggest band the world has ever known.

Getting recognised with awards is nice, said Todd, adding that it inspired him to do better. However, he noted that rejections were more powerful.
“Because it motivates me to work harder and be more focused.”

The focus of the art or movie-making is the story, said Todd, urging aspiring movie makers to be good “story tellers”.
“For me, I like telling stories that enlighten humankind and make the world a better place. I want to leave the world a little better than I found it. I like to bring attention to stories that teach us things.”

He concluded by crediting the festival for its variety.
“There are people coming in from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and they’re flying in from everywhere to be here. I’ve been to small hometown festivals, and they’re great. But to me, this (Bahrain Film Festival) is a rather large festival. Maybe it’s a small country, but it’s a big festival and it’s an important festival,” he added, acknowledging the royal leadership and the US Embassy for all the support.

“It’s just been personally great to meet everybody and get to share my story with everyone. If my story can influence or touch one child, one filmmaker, or one storyteller out there, I’ve done my job.”

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