Since 2015, the Unscripted Twillingate Digital Arts Festival has been bringing photographers, filmmakers, sound editors, bloggers and other creative souls together to learn more about digital creation while sharing and celebrating each other’s works. Consisting of workshops that invite participants to take their tools and explore Twillingate’s beautiful landscapes, as well as plenty of music, food and other fun activities, the four-day festival has quickly become a highly anticipated artistic event.
Of course, this year, things will look differently due to the ongoing pandemic. But as a festival that celebrates all things digital, it’s well positioned to make the pivot online.
This year’s event will run from September 17-20 and will consist of a mixture of live and recorded events across several platforms such as Zoom, YouTube and Facebook Live, allowing anyone with an Internet connection to join in the creativity and fun.
“We were kind of jokingly referring to it as the first digital, digital art festival,” says Meghan McKinnon, Festival Manager and Coordinator of the new Digital Arts Residency in Twillingate (DART) program, which gives digital artists the opportunity to connect with the community while living and creating in Twillingate from July to September. (This year’s artists in residence are Pierre LeBlanc and David Downton.)
This year there will be six workshops, all hosted over Zoom, which look at everything from brand building and placemaking, to digital video storytelling and how to create engaging social media posts. (All workshops and artist talks are free, but people can choose to make a donation to the festival via their website if they wish.)
“It’s nice because it’s expanded the reach of who can come and who’s finding out about the festival and who can participate in the workshops from home. So we’ve seen a lot of interest and a lot of sign up. And I think that’s driven more interest in the festival than we’ve had before,” McKinnon says.
“It’ll be great to connect with people who might not have had the chance to come out to Twillingate or hadn’t heard of the festival before.”
For those who are in Twillingate, the annual festival dinner (this year prepared by chef Roary MacPherson) will be provided in take-out boxes so patrons can enjoy their meal while live streaming the evening’s musical entertainment. There will also be a limited number of tickets sold for those who wish to take in the tunes in person.
This year, instead of a physical gallery, an online digital art gallery will showcase the work of local digital artists, as well as the two artists in residence, throughout the festival. Artist talks will be hosted on Zoom and viewers can also participate in a Q&A to learn more about the work.
“COVID has given a lot of challenges, but it’s been cool to see how people have adjusted to those and made changes…it kind of gives the festival a new opportunity to expand its reach and try something new and creative to get people across Newfoundland and outside Newfoundland involved,” McKinnon says.
“We’re just looking at it in a positive light. I think the festival will be great this year.”