Wednesday, 25 May 2011

ICO Cultural Exhibition, Day 3

Our third day on the course brought an area that perhaps is my weakest link: short, archive and moving image films. I’m a feature guy. We’ve shown some of these things in the past at the Dukes, mostly because of our relationship with the Screen Archive South East. Frank Gray, the archive director and also co-director of our Cinecity Film Festival, was here today to talk – and as always he was engaging and very non-didactic. Sue Porter, from the Moving Image Archive for Central England, made the somewhat arguable claim that “archive film has never been sexier”.

Then followed perhaps the juiciest bit of the day: Sandra Hebron, the director of the London Film Festival, pulled the curtain on how the UK’s largest international film festival is put together. What I didn’t realize is how much the LFF relies on sponsorship money: 50% of its budget. She then described the ‘arduous’ task of traveling the world’s best film festivals scouting for films all year long. The feeling in the room was not one I would describe as pity. One of the most interesting things she said was that the UK culture was undergoing a ‘festivalisation’, not just in film, but literature, music and art.

Mark Cosgrove from Watershed joined the discussion halfway through and described how the Encounters Short Film Festival was created and where it stands now. He resents the thematisation of programming and described his approach as ‘pix n’mix”.

We were then moved into the basement for a talk with Adam Pugh, former director of the AURORA animation festival in Norwich who derisorily described Cinema City as ‘conventional’ which didn’t impress a City Screen man like me. Straight afterwards we were ushered into NFT3 for a screening of short films. Apart from the first two films, The Anthem by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Guest of Honor by Miguel Calderon, every single one of the films confirmed all my prejudices about artist moving image and short films.

Things got practical after that: we’ve been broken up into groups and have some workshop homework to do. That’s always the best part about any course like this because you get to know your cohort and become animated and inspired.

Tomorrow it’s all about marketing and PR. Stay tuned!

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