Re: [Frameworks] Current situation with Film Festivals

From: Seth Fragomen (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Feb 17 2011 - 16:30:06 PST

I agree with Chris that there should be more writing about film. In fact,
filmmakers should really be writing about their fellow filmmakers and
encouraging everyone in the community to become part of the discussion.
There seems to be a trend towards not really fully engaging in other
filmmakers work and the lack of writing about filmmakers, especially newer
filmmakers, is a part of that problem. Another part of the problem is that
writing is totally devalued in our culture and writing about film is
considered far less glamorous then making films. It seems like it would be a
pain, but writing about people's work is actually kind of fun.

On Thu, Feb 17, 2011 at 2:29 AM, Chris Kennedy <email suppressed>wrote:

> Going back to Dominic's original post:
> Let me start by saying if I had 1 in 20 odds at the lottery, I wouldn't be
> making films. I'd be on a south sea island somewhere practicing my Gauguin.
> 1000 entries! Isn't that great! Although, I know from experience not all of
> them are experimental works and I know from subjectivity not all of them
> are
> good (and just to be clear, I'm not speaking as a current employee of any
> festival), there's a lot of people making work! And from what Matt and
> Raymond pointed out, that's not even including what people are making and
> putting up on the internet or are just circulating in another way. That
> means there's a LOT of people making work.
> So, how do we deal with it? I think there's the local scale and the
> national/global scale. I think the local scale is the way that artists get
> their work shown, come hell or high-water, even if it means doing it
> themselves. I think SF is a good example of a place that has, over the past
> fifty years, a bunch of different venues to accommodate a bunch of
> different
> DiY attitudes (and serve as an inspiration to us all, thanks to that nice
> Radical Light book). Incidentally, I would argue that the 'net is a
> variation of the local, because interest is most often created through
> social networks, ie. someone tweeting or emailing someone a link (sometimes
> more than once). It's just a larger local.
> But sometimes the local doesn't translate beyond the local. Take the
> Spanish
> Experimental programming traveling around right now. Some of it is quite
> good, much of it is lovely to look at, but not a lot of it is any "better"
> than the stuff that I see in my local community. The stand-outs reinforce
> why we have heard about them before (the Sistiaga, for example). Watching
> the work in Toronto was kind of similar to the feeling I had participating
> in screening of Toronto work being shown in Korea. Some of the work that
> was
> shown I was awful proud to represent "us", but much of the work
> did-not-translate-at-all (I embarrass easily). But yes, the exchange on
> both
> accounts was valuable, and the work was "good to see", but...
> And so, yeah, the festivals. There's a ton of them, too, as anyone who's
> joined withoutabox knows (and hey, never knew about the one in Durham).
> It's
> great that Albuquerque has one and Gainesville has one, but I understand
> why
> I have a one in 350 odds of getting into those festivals. I would imagine
> they would cater to their audiences (either sympathetically or
> didactically)
> and figure out what works best for them. And its really important that they
> exist--and they probably create more filmmakers to add to the submission
> pile!
> And for the more major festivals, as Dominic calls them (not to diss FLEX
> or Experiments in Cinema), I would expect it to be more competitive to get
> in. Judging by the strutting each October during Views--the only time of
> the year you see normally slouching filmmakers stand up straight--there's a
> bit of pride in being among the chosen.
> RSH and Matt may disagree, but I don't want to watch the thousands of
> submissions submitted to a festival unless it's my job (in which case, I'm
> HAPPY to do it, and I'm available, by the way, come June). I KNOW a
> general
> audience doesn't. I learn which festivals I trust to be making the right
> decisions and then follow their programming and I trust they are robust
> enough to handle the 1000 submissions. I think we rely (in part) on those
> festivals to be a bit of the taste-makers for the year--to help establish
> what's important to see this year. And they often make resounding decisions
> (that's why we've seen Daichi Saito's Trees of Syntax, Leaves of Axis in so
> many festivals this year, including FLEX). And sometimes, they really are
> lame.
> I don't think the answer is to make the festivals longer. Can you imagine a
> longer version of Views, more than 6 programs of Wavelengths at TIFF, more
> than 10 days of Images, unlimited access to stuff on the web (I have yet to
> sit down and see more than one on Ubuweb)? As any filmmaker knows, editing
> within a given structure is how a work gets stronger. Very seldom have I
> heard someone say, "man, I wish it was longer". The same goes for festivals
> (and, I would submit, well curated distribution catalogues!). I think the
> artform gets stronger if we don't take our screenings as a given.
> What we DO need (and I'm to blame for this one, too) is more people to
> write
> about films. Having curators/programmers/your-tweet-buddy be the only
> arbiters of taste is a disservice to the artwork. I know very little about
> the film festivals from the 60s and 70s, but a lot about the films from
> that
> era because of the writing about it. There are some scribes out there
> serving the current crop, but not a hell of a lot of them. And I think
> that's the real culprit.
> Best,
> Chris
> Toronto/C'Ville
> On 2/16/11 12:49 PM, "email suppressed"
> <email suppressed> wrote:
> > Message: 1
> > Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2011 08:38:12 -0800 (PST)
> > From: DOMINIC ANGERAME <email suppressed>
> > Subject: [Frameworks] Current situation with Film Festivals
> > To: Experimental Film Discussion List <email suppressed>
> > Message-ID: <email suppressed>
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
> >
> >
> >
> > I am noticing an alarming trend these days with experimental film
> festivals
> > throughout the world. I received a notice from the Images Festival in
> Canada
> > that they received more than 1,000 entries for exhibition. I am sure that
> Ann
> > Arbor Film Festival received far more entries than the 150 films they are
> > viewing. Since is seems that almost everyone is a filmmaker these days
> that
> > the
> > structure and procedures of the major experimental film festivals should
> be
> > changed in major ways. Virtually all festivals charge an fee for entry.
> 1000
> > entries can mean $25,000 going to the festivals for admin/pre-screening,
> etc.
> > This does not include the donations, governmental grants, and other
> sources of
> > income. I used to run a couple of festivals and understand the purpose
> of
> > entry
> > fees to help defray costs. However, since the number of entries for many
> > festivals has risen more than 3 or 4 times the amount the festivals need
> to
> > consider extending their exhibitions to accomodate the amount of entries.
> Most
> > filmmakers are now facing a 1 to 20 odds of having their films shown in
> major
> > festivals. This is less than playing the lottery.
> >
> > It is distressing for me, having been making films for more than 40 years
> to
> > see
> > the festival situation become so debased. The volume of work being
> entered is
> > drowning these festivals in both admin, and creative decisions. I have
> served
> > on
> > juries in many festivals and noticed when I looked at the list of the
> films
> > rejected by pre screeners that many great films had been rejected. As a
> judge
> > I
> > requested to view those rejected and found most of the films selected by
> me
> > were
> > shown at these particular festivals. Since the volume of entered work in
> most
> > well known festivals far exceeds the festivals ability to manage this
> volume,
> > that a new structure needs to be put in place. This would be a great
> service
> > to
> > the filmmakers entering their works into these festivals.
> >
> > Dominic Angerame
> _______________________________________________
> FrameWorks mailing list
> email suppressed

FrameWorks mailing list
email suppressed