Filming the Fête: Abdel’s volunteer experience

Abdel Belabbes describes his experience volunteering at Ally Pally….

It’s difficult to quantify exactly what my feelings were when I was first asked to film Alexandra Palace’s Great Fête festival, but I would liken it to being invited to a family dinner on a seasonal holiday. Immediately the mind races and questions abound. “What do I bring? What do I wear? Is it a black tie event or something more casual?”

As a youth I had spent many a summer basking in the sun on the Palace’s slopes and my parents had signed many school trip letters that granted me the joy of skating in the Palace’s Ice Rink. Combine the feelings of childhood nostalgia with the promise of hundreds of guests and performers, all of whom I was responsible for representing through my limited experience in videography, I couldn’t help be feel more than a little daunted by a task that seemed as monumental as the Palace itself.

It is to the credit of the Volunteering Producer and the rest of the Creative Learning team that I was encouraged to mine these feelings and channel it into my craft. I was introduced to Natalie Kynigopoulou, a local artist and videographer, who was my mentor throughout the project. Natalie was able to help me assess my strengths and weaknesses and break the project down into simple, measurable objectives that would further my understanding of the craft. I had met Natalie before through Collage Works, a local organisation dedicated to the creative education of young Londoners, and was able to build upon that relationship through project based learning. I was taught to accept and work within my limitations, favouring intuition and not be afraid of interacting with the subjects I was filming.

Through this exploration I managed develop a visual palette that reflected the nostalgia I felt for Alexandra Palace, all the while paying tribute to the familial energy that I witnessed on the day of the celebration. I took on the project hoping to have a portfolio piece for my showreel, I left with a new found confidence in my abilities as a filmmaker and a better understanding of what I have to offer as both an artist and a member of my community.

Click here to view Abdel’s video