Future Encounters: The Pick of the Fest
Forward-looking programme Future Encounters singles out ten filmmakers that have pushed the boundaries of filmmaking and brought something special to this year’s festival. The event epitomises Encounters Festival because it helps those filmmakers with a unique voice to amplify that voice, to find audiences and most importantly to keep making films.
Five out the ten made it to the event, which consisted of short clips of their films placed within an informal discussion about the why and how of filmmaking. Make no mistake this was no directing master class, I’m sure anyone attending in the hope of bagging some practical tips on shooting a festival winner would have left unsatisfied. The international panel members were hesitant to label themselves as exclusively film directors and if they were expected to announce grand plans for feature length films, well… sorry to disappoint. Instead the conversation was a refreshingly honest exploration of the filmmakers’ varied and deep-seated need to make films, something that each struggled to elucidate but clearly felt.
The diversity in format, style and background among the filmmakers made their consonant answers on questions of idea generation and development quite interesting. For example a common theme among the animators and live-action folks was a desire to set parameters and constraints for themselves. Animator Adam Wells does this by modeling a 3D space or a world before he can conceive who might occupy it or what might occur. Spanish filmmaker Pedro Collantes spoke on his tendency toward very long shots when filming, restricting the framing and allowing his dialogue to carry the viewer. As he puts it this style gives him “more time to write and less time to edit.”
The conception and development of an idea is more fruitful when taken out of context, proposed animator Felix Massie, a sentiment that yielded accordant nods from the rest of the panel. He explained that taking the basis for an idea you know and are comfortable with, and placing it in an unknown environment allows you to see it differently.
So how does the near future look for these festival highlights? The two animators, Adam Wells and Felix Massie will continue to divide their time between commercial money making projects and personal short films. Jesse Armstrong heads back to writing desk, Pedro Collantes to a his next full time editing gig and Brisbane multidisciplinary artist Audrey Lam returns to an ongoing short film project. We don’t know what’ll come next from these diverse talents, feature films still feel like a leap to most, but based on their showings this year whatever they get up to will be worth looking out for.
Of those not in attendance, we can only presume that their absence was due to an urgent meeting with a large distributor.