Salford alumnus Greg Walker graduated in 2013 with a degree in Film Studies. Since then, he’s worked in film exhibition for the likes of Grimm Up North and Scalarama, as well as founding RAD Screenings, a specialist film night showing old-school double bills. Next up is Pilot Light, a brand new festival dedicated to the best TV content from around the world. We caught up with Greg to find out more.
What is Pilot Light?
It’s a festival dedicated to celebrating the past, present and future of TV and independent web series, with an eclectic selection of screenings and some great Q&As. Whether you’re a TV fan or someone who works in the industry, it’s the perfect way to celebrate the shows you love so much, while discovering new content from the fast developing world of indie TV.
What inspired you to start the festival?
I’m a huge TV fan and had been working at various film festivals when I thought: “Why isn’t there anything like this for TV?” That planted the seed, and as I was already attending screenings of things like Breaking Bad in bars and pubs, I realised that there was an increasing appetite for communal TV watching. 99% of us watch television on our own, yet we spend 99% of our time talking to people about it at work, on social media and so on. With Pilot Light I wanted to create a place where fans could experience, discuss and celebrate TV together, along with the talented people who make it.
Is this the first festival you’ve produced?
It’s the first one I’ve produced from scratch. The most difficult part has been building new partnerships. With film festivals, there’s an established way to deal with distributors, sales agents and producers, but the world of TV has proved very different; pretty much no-one I’ve encountered has worked with a TV festival before, so that’s been a real learning curve. On the flip side, I’ve received so much support and that’s been really humbling. Building something from the ground up has been an incredible experience.
What events are you most looking forward to?
Our Nathan Barley and Snuff Box events are two that I’ve been planning for a while now, so it’s going to be really exciting to watch these two great, but under-appreciated cult comedies with an audience, followed by panels with Charlie Condu and Matt Berry, who worked on the respective shows.
You’re showcasing web series as well as more traditionally viewed TV content. What have you got coming up in this strand?
We opened submissions for web series like a film festival would, and we had great content sent in from around the world. 90% of our web series were handpicked from these submissions, and we looked for shows whose pilots had the potential to be the next big thing. One of my favourite web series in the programme is Concrete Jungle, an animated comedy about animals and humans co-existing in New York. It stars John DiMaggio (Adventure Time) and Hannibal Buress (Broad City), and is created by Steven Cartoccio, who will be with us to introduce episodes 1-3 of the show, at the festival.