Breakfast with the programmers
Thursday morning in Watershed, festival programmers from all over Britain and Europe were invited to talk with filmmakers about their festival identity and selection process. Media Desk UK supported the event.
Francesca Walker works for Media Desk UK, the European Union’s support program for the film, television and new media industry. If you want to know how to apply to festivals, meet producers or participate in training programs, they are here to help. If you need to get a script written or to find a location, there is a special scheme for early production steps. If you are a film student with the desire to build an international team, the skills development scheme can put you in touch with other European students. And once your film is released, Media Desk will promote it, thanks to the 15 cinemas in the UK that are part of Europa Cinemas (meaning they commit to show a certain percentage of non-national European films); Watershed, one of the organisations hosting Encounters, is part of this network.
Thank you Media Desk!
Laurent Crouzeix works for Clermont-Ferrand short film Festival, in France. This major event (which will take place from January 31 to February 8) gathers thousands of spectators and shows each year hundreds of short films in 15 different venues…
After giving some advice to the young film makers on how to choose a festival (choose Clermont-Ferrand! It’s full of opportunities and cheaper than Cannes!), Laurent Crouzeix discusses the short film industry. France is known for its good support system — and for its meetings where everyone complains! This is not necessarily a bad thing, according to Laurent, as it means people stand up for their ideas and defend their projects.
He underlines that the UK has great actors, even in low-budget productions. Short film is a very creative on-going tradition here, and has revealed many talented artists (he cites animators Joanna Quinn and Joseph Pierce). At Clermont-Ferrand short film festival, the UK comes just after France in terms of number of films selected. No doubt, it says something about the quality of the films!
Laurence Boyce is a film journalist and programmer based in Estonia, with substantial experience in writing about film and festival programming. Boyce watches hundreds of short films in the lead-up to festivals, and he gives us his word that he watches them all, all the way through. Still, he’s yet to pass up a seemingly bad movie that has turned out to be a chef d’oeuvre in the end.
Boyce maintains his positive attitude when asked the uncomfortable question: “What is the actual commercial value of short films?”. He believes that, in the right context, talent is always marketable. It’s a matter of sending the films to the right places, taking into account the context and the audience. Short films are a format in and of themselves, he says, and are are no more practice for features than short stories are practice for novels.
By Lucile Bourliaud and Noemi Gunea