Volunteers, the keystone of the Groix Island International Film Festival

“Without the volunteers, there would be no festival”, assures Christian Guyomar, co-president of the 20e Groix International Island Film Festival (Fifig), in Morbihan, which takes place from August 18 until Monday August 23. This purebred Groisillon knows it all the more since he himself is a volunteer and does not envisage his function. “Only like that, otherwise it doesn’t make sense”. To the point of sleeping one night in his car on the grounds of Fort du Gripp (where the concerts take place) because no guard could be found to monitor the equipment. This year, 140 of them – aged 12 to 85 – are busy for free so that the festival can exist. They donate time, energy, part of their vacation since the start of the event. In addition to these selfless workers, there are about twenty volunteers from the management team or the board of directors.

Only a very small part of them are paid. Audrey Pesché, who took over the general programming and coordination of the festival in March, is the only full-time employee. Some, like Laurent Morisson, in charge of musical programming, Thierry Bastien, in charge of administration, or the accountant are paid part-time, while a dozen intermittents are employed during the festival (sound system, decoration , lighting, general coordination, kitchen). Not to mention the circus circus agent called “Le Crieur”.

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Fifig’s budget amounts to 250,000 euros, explains Alice Lecoq, the treasurer. Local aid comes from the region, which provides the largest ecot (40,000 euros), followed by the agglomeration of Lorient, the department and the town hall. The latter gives 10,000 euros per year, “The largest grant awarded to an association”, ensures the mayor of Groix, Dominique Yvon. He never calculated the economic impact of the festival on this small island 8 km long and 3 km wide, which has 2,360 inhabitants. “This year, with the difficulties associated with Covid-19, the region has assured us to come to our aid if we were in deficit”, underlines Alice Lecoq, who foresees a loss of 30,000 euros.

The pandemic has upset the organization

The return of the festival, after an almost non-existent year 2020 due to the pandemic, has proved complex. The management hesitated until the last moment to maintain this event, which combines a competition of very demanding documentaries, focused on islands around the world, and parallel selections devoted to Regards d’îliennes, to young audiences, to the Ponant Islands. , etc. Not to mention the concerts, exhibitions and meetings.

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