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world of shorts the cannes edition

a short film magazine published by daazo.com - european short film centre


the cannes 2011 special edition

WORLD OF SHORTS

daazo.com | blog.daazo.com | info@daazo.com “World of Shorts” is a magazine published by daazo.com - European short film centre

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CONTENT

5. EditoriaLTime to take shorts seriously 6-17:Interviews with 5 directors from the Short Film Competition (Ma Dahci, Wannes Destoop, Vladimir Durán, Nash Edgerton, Sam Holst) 18-39:ten directors from the Cinéfondation speak out (Aramisova, Nathanael Carton, Simão Cayatte, Anat Costi, D. Jesse Damazo & Joe Bookman, Pieter Dirkx, Kamal Lazraq, Mariano Luque, Jefferson Moneo, Son Tae-gyum) 40-41:The Importance of a Personal Tone Interview with Dimitra Karya, artistic director for Cinéfondation 42-43:managing the short film corner: Alice Kharoubi, project manager of the Short Film Corner 46-47:„We Want to See Something Special” Interview with Maike Mia Höhne, curator of the Berlinale Shorts 48-49:Talking Images Q&A with EFA winner, Katarzyna Klimkiewicz 50-51:Life after Cannes Interview with Bálint Szimler 53-55:Festivals vs. the internet Let the battle continue

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“In our digital age, it is not enough to be good at directing and photographing, but as a filmmaker, you have to be aware of the potentials of your film.”

Time to Take Shorts Seriously

editorial

These are just a few very basic questions of a short film’s self-distribution. We at Daazo. com think that it is time to take short films seriously. To get started, we - short film makers, producers, distributors, festival managers - should define the short film industry and what shorts mean to us - or at least have discussions about this topic. In this magazine, you can read interviews on these issues with the curator of Berlinale, Maike Mia Höhne; the programmer of Cinéfondation, Dimitra Karya; and the project manager of Short Film Corner, Alice Kharoubi. In a longer essay, we also try to summarize the most important trends of the short film industry.

We can say that now is the perfect time to start a career as a young filmmaker. It is a truism that everyone can make a festival-winning artwork or a funny one-minute piece seen by millions of people on the Internet. All you need is an average mobile phone camera - and a few more things. So, it has never been so easy to make a film. Technically. But the question is: would it be easier to make a good film in 2011 than back in 1960? We don’t think it would. It is not easier: it is different. Some of the things a successful filmmaker has to do are the same now as they were 50 years ago: for example, you have to come up with a great idea and an interesting concept to start writing a script. Then you get your friends together and set up your cast and crew. Undoubtedly, getting and turning on a camera is much easier nowadays (not to mention that you have the choice between several shooting formats and camera types), but the communication with your crew, as well as the instant artistic decisions on the spot, demand pretty much the same skills now as then.

Another reason why we decided to release World of Shorts Magazine was because we felt there was a need for a forum that highlights the most interesting short film making personalities. There are wonderful young directors with their films in the Short Film Competition of the Cannes Film Festival and in the Cinéfondation Selection, whose approach to filmmaking is sometimes more complex and instinctively intelligent than that of accomplished feature directors.

What is really different now, is the part of the job after the film itself is done. In our digital age, it is not enough to be good at directing and photographing, but as a filmmaker, you have to be aware of the potentials of your film. How should you start to disseminate your film? Which festivals do you start with: should you wait for the A-lister big fish or going for more awards at smaller ones? Is it worth paying for festival entries? Can you actually sell your work? When is it time to upload your films to the Internet and which platform should you choose?

In 2011, there are much more short films to watch than there were in 1960. The short film has recently turned into a very interesting cultural phenomenon, because lots of young people decided to express themselves through moving pictures. As Maike Mia Höhne said, it is a new “handwriting”. And a new language. With the World of Shorts Magazine, Daazo.com would like to help to learn this language. Both for short film makers and short film viewers.

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The Cannes Film Festival is not only about red carpet events, big Hollywood stars and well-known European auteurs showcasing their latest works. Cannes is also a festival for young filmmakers and for the celebration of the short film, a genre that is often unjustly neglected. The prestigious Short Film Competition discovers new talents year after year. Jane Campion and Lynne Ramsay both drew notice by making their debut here. This year’s official selection includes 9 films from 9 different countries with a great variety of cinematographic concepts, differing in style, genre and length. We talked to 5 aspiring filmmakers from 5 different continents with the most inspiring works. Read on and spot the next generation of filmmakers!

Cannes Short Film Competition


ma Dahci - Ghost Wannes Destoop Badpakje 46 Vladimir Durรกn Soy Tan Feliz Nash Edgerton - Bear Sam Holst - Meathead

THE FILMMAKERS

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ghost MA DAHCI (SOUTH KOREA)


“People here thought my films were too weird, and some of them said it wasn’t worthy to invest money in a film made by a young director who hadn’t even graduated from a film school.“

How would you describe your film? Ghost is a story about a man hiding out in an empty house. The man, who is chased by the police, is caught up in a fantasy with extreme hunger and anxiety. However, what he faces at the end is the darkest side of himself. You also have the writer’s credit on your short film. Where did you find the idea for the story? Over the past few years, the center of my films has always been the man in the alienated position. I didn’t intentionally go travelling to meet the characters, but after each journey, those characters remained most intense in my memory. Five years ago, the main character of a film of mine was a disabled man who was searching for a woman through online chatting. The next work, which was a dance film, dealt with a man who played an empty plastic bag abandoned on the cement floor. Recently, news of criminals who were convicted for sexual assault in redevelopment areas have become quite frequent. Meanwhile, my trip to Pusan, a big city in Korea last year made me recall a man who was hiding in an empty house since the city was filled with redevelopment areas.

Tell us a little bit about the production of the film. What kind of difficulties did you have to face while shooting? Funding was the biggest problem. Not only this film, but also the other films I’ve made had the same problem. People here thought my films were too weird, and some of them said it wasn’t worthy to invest money in a film made by a young director who hadn’t even graduated from a film school. Therefore, the entire budget came out from my pocket. What do you expect from the Cannes Film Festival? It’s always nice to meet various people who have a different perspective toward my film. I can learn from them, and expand horizons. Also, I really like to make friends at festivals because I’ve been working independently after dropping out of school at the age of fourteen. Are you planning your first feature film or do you want to keep on doing shorts? Yes; I’m planning to make my first feature film. I hope I can have the opportunity to do it soon!

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badpakje 46

WANNES DESTOOP (BELGIUM)


What is your short film about? Chantal, a chubby girl of twelve, is having a hard time finding her way through life. She doesn’t have a lot of friends, and at home she can only turn to her stepfather for support as she doesn’t get along with her mother or stepbrother. Only in the local pool, where she is training intensively for an upcoming swimming competition, does she truly feel at home. But when she needs a new pair of goggles, things don’t go as smoothly as planned and she uses every means to get hold of them. You also have the writer’s credit on your short film. What inspired you to make this film? I wanted to do something about teenagers and the difficulties of puberty. I specially wanted to tell the story of a teenager, who is not like every other teenager, and who has problems concerning her weight. I read a lot about teenagers who have weight problems and one day, I found a story on a forum about a girl who went shopping with her mom. She had problems to fit in a pair of pants she tried on and her mom said really mean things to her, such as “Look at you, you’re too fat and you’re only 14”. I was very touched by this scene and I really wanted to do something with it. This was the foundation of the story.

“I would love to work with some non-actors and write the story based on the improvisations I do with the teenagers themselves.”

What was the production like for the film? How long did it take you, how did you fund it? Badpakje 46 is a student film and I had to finance the film (€16000) all by myself. Because of that I had to find a cast and crew who were willing to work for free, otherwise it wouldn’t have been possible to make the film. I had a wonderful cast and crew who worked for 6 days, totally for free, because they really believed in the project. The shooting was a very intense period, but also a very inspiring experience. I was really blown away by seeing Janis Vercaempst (playing the main character: Chantal) acting in a way that was so natural and ‘real’. What do you expect from the Cannes Film Festival? I guess it will be an extraordinary experience. I’m very excited to present my short film in Cannes. I’m very curious to know what the reactions of the press and public will be. Besides the parties and dinners that everyone is talking about, I think in the first place it will be hard work (interviews, promotions etc.) What are your plans for the future? I really want to do something about teenagers again. I would love to work with some non-actors and write the story based on the improvisations I do with the teenagers themselves.

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soy tan feliz Vladimir Durรกn (argentina)


How would you describe your short film? Soy Tan Feliz is sort of an exercise and exploration of bonds between teenagers with a minimal literal narrative. It is a work that relies more on sensorial aspects and atmospheres, and on a will to signify conflicts that are not made explicit. You also have the writer’s credit on your short film. How did you find your story? I wrote the script following writing improvisations based on atmospheres relating to my own childhood and adolescence in Colombia, my relationship with my large number of brothers and sisters, the latent attraction during my teenage years for friends or strangers and all the heavy load that this implied. Then I found the style and dialogues based on improvisations with the actors. Actors are the fundamental basis of the cinema that interests me and the creative freedom of an actor improvising, playing and embodying the character is very hard to match in front of a computer screen.

“Actors are the fundamental basis of the cinema that interests me and the creative freedom of an actor improvising, playing and embodying the character is very hard to match in front of a computer screen.” What do you expect from the Cannes Film Festival? I would like to have fun, see all the movies I can and to meet exciting and interesting people. What my film achieves is no longer in my hands... I already did what I had to do.

Tell me a little bit about the production. How long did it take, was it easy to managethe crew, did you have to face financial difficulties or it wasn’t an issue? I produced the film myself with the help of production companies like Gale Cine, Imaginaria Films in Colombia and Peluca Films in Argentina. A wonderful DOP, Julian Ledesma, did the cinematography. I consciously limited the story to few locations in order to free myself from logistic issues and concentrate on the actors and the bonds between the characters. It took me 4 days of shooting and 6 months for the entire process, starting from pre-production until the Argentinian release at the 13th Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival/ BAFICI 2011 where it was awarded the best short film prize.

What is your next project? I would like to make some short films more based on improvisations with actors, with a minimal production scheme. At the moment, I am writing a long feature script. It is the story of 2 brothers, perhaps aliens inside human bodies, travelling in a South American city. That’s what I know, so far.

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bear

Nash Edgerton (Australia)

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How would you describe your short film? Dark, funny and honest.

“I like making shorts. Some ideas and stories are just meant to be short.”

Bear is a follow-up to one of your previous works: Spider. What’s the connection between the two stories? Bear continues following Jack (from Spider) but this time with his new girlfriend. You started your career as a stuntman. What inspired you to start making short films? I actually started making short films as a way to do stunts and get more stunt work. But I continued making film because I fell in love with filmmaking and storytelling.

What do you expect from the Cannes Film Festival? I’m just really looking forward to showing the film to an audience and seeing fresh films and getting inspired to make more things. What are your plans for the future? Do you plan to keep on doing shorts? I’m writing a new feature film at the moment - so I am hoping to make that next. But yes I like making shorts. Some ideas and stories are just meant to be short.

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meathead

sam holst (new zealand)

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How would you describe your film? A short drama about a seventeen year old kid’s first day on the job in a rural New Zealand meat works. What kind of approach to the story was important for you as a director? The script had elements of atmosphere, tone and a sense of experience that required a great level of detail and authenticity. It posed lots of challenges to realise as a film, due to where the story is set and that being a very particular world. So having the time to work out how to approach things was important for me. It took many months and research to figure out what it would be, but that time and space was essential. After scouting several meat works locations and spending a lot of time in them while they were on-shift, the choice to shoot everything in a live and functioning environment was made. Then it was a matter of working out how that could be achieved. The basic idea was to go into a real meat works while it was fully operational and shoot things very realistically with our cast and crew integrating into that world. In terms of casting, I wasn’t interested in actors so much, once again for reasons of authenticity. So the casting of non-actors, real meat workers employed on the locations where we filmed and people from the surrounding rural areas were an important aspect of the overall approach too. Really though, it was about exploration and discovery. Seeing where it went. It was about making a film in a unique way, like no one else really had before and seeing what came of it. What kind of difficulties did you have to face while shooting? We were adapting and blending into a distinct world rather than creating it on a set or even an off-shift factory location, so that was challenging in a lot of ways. Especially because it was a narrative rather than documentary film. As much as possible shoots are usually controlled affairs, but this wasn’t so much. That was the idea though, and it allowed for wonderful opportunities which would not have been there otherwise.

When filming, the difficulty communicating between crew was tough due to the sheer volume of the environment. There were no radios or megaphones. There was a lot of sign language and yelling though. It was also slow going in terms of shoot pace due to where we were and the fact moving and set ups were negotiated with the functioning meat works going on all around us. The rooms were either very hot or very cold and always busy, so all the elements were testing for a film crew, but that’s fine.

It wasn’t for the light hearted but it was an incredible and exhilarating experience. Everyone on the crew and at the meat works pulled together and made it happen. It’s all there. What do you expect from the Cannes Film Festival? It’s difficult to know what to expect. The idea of even being there is something that is still sinking in. I just want to keep my mind open to the whole experience and enjoy it. Are you planning your first feature film or do you want to keep on doing shorts?). I am interested in making more shorts definitely, but also moving toward features. Currently I’m writing in both forms. Regardless of duration it’s really about falling in love with something. That idea, story, character, image or whatever that drives you toward its realisation on film. When those moments arise, you just can’t stop until it’s out and up on that screen flickering away in the dark. When that happens I think that’s when you know you’re onto something.

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Cinéfondation- The Selection The Cinéfondation Selection within the Cannes Film Festival was created to inspire and support the next generation of international filmmakers. This year 16 graduate films were selected from film schools all over the world. We interviewed 10 talented filmmakers and possible winners of the prize who present the freshest and most forwardlooking shorts of this year’s Cinéfondation. Check out their stories and find out how they made it to Cannes!


Cinéfondation

the filmmakers Aramisova - Cagey Tigers (Slovakia) Nathanael Carton - Suu et Uchikawa (Singapore) Simão Cayatte - A Viagem - The Trip (U.S.A.) Anat Costi - Befetach Beity - On My Doorstep (Israel) D. Jesse Damazo&Joe Bookman - The Agony and Sweat of the Human Spirit (U.S.A.) Pieter Dirkx -Bento Monogatari - The Lunchbox Story (Belgium) Kamal Lazraq - Drari (France) Mariano Luque - Salsipuedes (Argentina) Jefferson Moneo - Big Muddy (Canada/U.S.A.) Son Tae-gyum - Ya-Gan-Bi-Hang- Fly by Night (South Korea)

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CAGEY TIGERS

aramisova, slovakia famu, Czech republic

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Cinéfondation

How would you describe your film? Cagey Tigers is a relaxing movie, where nobody dies or loses anything. It is a psychological film about the friendship of two best friends. They face an inner dilemma when they fall in love with the same guy: how to be honest with your intimate feelings and when fulfilling those feelings and desires, how to be considerate of the people around you, especially of those closest to you. What kind of approach to the story was important for you as a director? I tried to involve the actors in the creative process. I wanted to keep just the core of the story and let the actors be themselves in those situations, to say everything in their own words. I encouraged them to remember their own real experiences from their real lives. Sometimes this was successful, other times not so much - those times I had to come up with a script. Tell us a little bit about the production of the film. What kind of difficulties did you have to face while shooting? Cagey Tigers is a film from my second year at FAMU. We should have shot the film on video, but as I hate video I decided shooting on film stock with the budget for a video film. A lot of film lovers from the film industry supported us. We had got cheap, slightly expired film stocks, managed to rent the camera equipment for nearly free, and my very good friend Radek Piotrowicz from Poland who worked at a film lab in Copenhagen developed our film stocks for free at weekends. During the process of shooting, the most difficult thing for me personally was to keep breathing after having received a phone call that said that Radek had had a car accident and was not alive any more.

“How to be honest with your intimate feelings and when fulfillingthose feelings and desires, how to be considerate of the people around you, especially of those closest to you.”

What do you expect from the Cannes Film Festival? I am glad that I can meet all my leading actors in Cannes. They are great people and we see each other rarely because we all live in different countries: Lynne Siefert is from the USA, Marsel Onisko from the Ukraine and Alena Ninajova from Slovakia, but she studies Portuguese in Lisbon. I am from Slovakia and I study at FAMU in Prague. I haven’t been to Cannes before and I am open to anything that might happen there and afterwards. I can already see, even before it has started, that the selection for the Cannes Film Festival has helped me with my filmmaking. We have been able to make a 35mm print, which would be just a dream without Cannes. Are you planning your first feature film or do you want to keep on doing shorts? In the future, I would like to do both.

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Suu et Uchikawa

NATHANAEL CARTON, FRANCE NYU Tisch School of the Arts Asia, singapore

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Cinéfondation

How would you describe your short film? Suu et Uchikawa tells the story of an elderly Japanese man and his young Burmese partner finding their union at threat when the immigration services discover that she resides in Japan illegally. It is told in the form of a long interview across their home, blurrying the line between fiction and documentary, and brings about the intrusive nature of an investigation into a very intimate setting. You also have the editor’s credit on your short film. How do these two artistic approaches work together? I tried to wear very different hats by staying away from the footage for about two months from the moment I got it back from the lab. Going back to it with fresh eyes helped me look at it objectively and see what we shot as opposed to what I wanted to shoot.

“[the story]is told in the form of a long interview across their home, blurrying the line between fiction and documentary, and brings about the intrusive nature of an investigation into a very intimate setting.”

What was the production like for the film? How long did it take you, how did you fund it, etc? Seven 12-hour days of shooting. The movie was shot in a three-storey-house, in the centre of Tokyo. It was rented empty, for ten days. This left us enough time to dress it for the first three days (from wallpaper to furniture and props). Myself and my cinematographer then slept on the premises during the shoot, and would pre-light for the next day each night. Our crew from NYU Tisch School of the Arts Asia got help from Japanese producers and local students interested in the project, all working for free, which helped us keep the budget under 7,000 dollars.

What do you expect from the Cannes Film Festival? To gain access to professionals potentially interested in my first feature project, to be shot in Paris and Tokyo. But also to get my short film distributed, meet future collaborators, and watch great films in a great setting. What are your plans for the future? To keep directing narrative and documentary films, ideally for projects involving France and Japan since my roots are very much anchored in both countries.

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A Viagem (The Trip)

sim達o cayatte, portugal Columbia University, u.s.a.

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Cinéfondation

How would you describe your short film? A Viagem (The Trip) tells the story of António, an elderly retired man from Lisbon, Portugal, who spends his days drinking at the bar while his wife passes the time by watching mindless TV shows at home. Their life has become a mundane routine devoid of passion. But one day, António suffers an unexpected accident, which allows him to look at life in a new light. He realizes he is still in love with his wife, and therefore decides to use all of their savings and rent a convertible to go on an idyllic holiday. But things don’t quite turn out as António expected... and the couple gets lost. Alone, in the middle of nowhere, they must stick together in order to survive. What kind of approach to the story was important for you as a director? The story was inspired by a beautifully metaphoric short story of the same title written by the Portuguese author Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen. Taking that as a starting point, I created these characters and asked myself what would happen if they were to be taken out of their natural habitat and put in extremely harsh circumstances. António is fighting for an almost impossible dream and to me there is heroism in trying. As a director I wanted the actors’ performances to come in first place. The techniques I learned at Columbia University allowed me to use the camera as a way to tell the story with shots, advancing the narrative and hopefully trying to get at What was the production like for the film? something poetic. Pre-production lasted almost 2 months, after a period of 10 drafts of the script. Principal photography took 8 days. It was very intense, as we had demanding décors (very hot days under the sun, extremely cold scenes in the woods at night, etc.) but the spirit of wanting to do something different kept us going. I feel very fortunate to have had the help of a very hard-working and enthusiastic cast and crew.

“Alone, in the middle of nowhere, they must stick together, in order to survive.”

What do you expect from the Cannes Film Festival? Being a part of the Cinéfondation at Cannes Film Festival is a huge honor. I am looking forward to having my film being screened there, meeting likeminded aspirants, and industry professionals, as well as having a good time. What is your next project? I am currently working on two feature scripts, one which takes place in Lisbon, and the other one in New York.

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Befetach Beity On My Doorstep

Anat Costi, BEZALEL ACADEMY OF ARTS AND DESIGN, Israel

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Cinéfondation

How would you describe your short film? My film is a personal 6 minute animated short. It tells the story of a lonely young woman dealing with her personal and emotional defenses, and what happens once the defenses she worked hard to put in place and live with are compromised. The film is an attempt to explain the feeling a lot of us get in life, when dealing with certain situations, when for a brief second our world is turned upside down. You also have the editor’s credit on your short film. How do these two artistic approaches work together? How can you perform both roles? Making an animated film is a little bit different than a live action one in this respect, at least when talking about a personal graduation project. While I was directing the film on paper, I already did a lot of the editing, from the storyboard to the video board stage, so that I had an edited rough version of the film before I started working on it. In the end, after animating the film, I already had all the shots and scenes in place. Every shot was timed when I animated it and already fit together with the entire context of the film. Probably, on a different project, I would have worked with an editor as well. What was the production like for the film? How long did it take you, how did you fund it, etc.? The film was made as a graduation project. I worked on it for less than 10 months. Most of the time was for developing the story and main character, looking for the general look of the film, and directing it. Only the last 2.5 months were for animating the whole 6 minutes, and at the same time Noam Elron started work on composing the music and building the soundtrack. I was lucky to find people who related to the film and agreed to contribute to it, like Noam. The film wasn’t funded by anyone so I had to save in different aspects, doing most of the work myself on the film, relying on friends and some teachers for critique and advice and good friends and family for assistance with the film.

“The film is an attempt to explain the feeling a lot of us get in life, when dealing with certain situations, when for a brief second our world is turned upside down.”

What do you expect from the Cannes Film Festival? I think the thing I’m looking forward to most is both screening my short film in front of fellow filmmakers as a part of such a prestigious film festival, as well as meeting young and experienced filmmakers from around the world. I hope that getting to know filmmakers from around the world will open the possibility of collaboration and cooperation in the future. What are your plans for the future? I plan to continue making films and being involved in different creative projects. I truly love telling stories and striving to touch people in the process. So I plan working on that by making more films and hope that meeting fellow filmmakers in Cannes may be the gateway to new collaborations and opportunities. I am also currently in the stages of developing the concept for a new short film. It will be very different than this film (Befetach Beity) in structure, genre and technique.

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THE AGONY and Sweat of the Human Spirit

D. jesse damazo & joe bookman University of Iowa, U.S.A.


Cinéfondation

How would you describe your short film? Our film is an offbeat comedy about a professional ukuleleist and his annoying manager who are in the process of recording a children’s folk album. At essence, the film is about the glory and absurdity of pursuing a hopeless dream.

“At essence, the film is about the glory and absurdity of pursuing a hopeless dream.”

How did the two of you work together as cowriters and co-directors? For the most part, we did everything as a team. Preproduction and writing was very much a collaborative effort. On set, we both actively communicated our vision to the crew. We didn’t do much in terms of delegating responsibilities. Ultimately, we just wound up spending a lot of time together.

This film heavily relies on characters, so casting must have been an important issue. How did you pull it off? We cast ourselves. What do you expect from the Cannes Film Festival? We have no expectations from the Cannes Film Festival, but we are eagerly looking forward to it. What are your plans for the future? We are currently at work developing a feature film based on the short. Ideally, we would like to shoot it in the summer of 2012.

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Bento Monogatari (Lunchbox Story)

PIETER DIRKX, Sint-Lukas University BELGIUM

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Cinéfondation

How would you describe your short film? It’s a story about a couple that’s been married for a long time. They both feel like there’s something missing between them and they each escape into their own, very different worlds. The woman tries to get her husband to follow her into the world of Japanese (pop-)culture. The whole story is constructed like a Japanese legend, but it takes place in a Western setting. How did the story come to you? I read somewhere that there are women in Japan who wake up at 5 am each morning to create a little edible piece of art for their children. Food is cut out with great care to look like characters from popular anime and manga series. For me, this was a perfect subject to write a story about because I wanted to make a short movie that drew from the Japanese films which influenced me the most. What was the production like for the film? Was it easy to get the financial background? How long did it take to make it? I worked on the film throughout my last year in Sint-Lukas. It was filmed on a very low budget, and I was really fortunate to have a lot of people who believed in the project and invested their time in it. There were also some big setbacks, but they’re easily forgotten when you see that people appreciate the re- What do you expect from the Cannes Film Fessult. tival? I still don’t really know what to expect. The Cinéfondation programme was created to give young directors a platform to show their work, so I hope there will be some opportunities to get some advice from people who have already proven themselves in this world. The only sure thing is that it will be a very unique experience and I’m very fortunate to take part in it.

“I read somewhere that there are women in Japan who wake up at 5 am each morning to create a little edible piece of art for their children.”

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What are your plans for the future? Do you want to keep on doing short films? The project I’m working on right now is a feature length film because I’m impatient to have the time to tell a story on a larger scale. So far I’ve constructed my stories as if they were going to last for two hours on the screen, leaving away all the excess to make it fit into a realistic budget and small amount of shooting days. However, I’m not opposed to making other short films or music videos because I also like the larger amount of freedom they give.


drari

Kamal Lazraq La fĂŠmis, France


Cinéfondation

How would you describe your film? Drari is inspired by the friendship between two young men coming from opposite social backgrounds. The film was shot in Casablanca, Morocco. It’s between documentary and fiction, the main actors are non-professional actors and they are acting their own life. The main subject is the difficulty for these two characters to have a normal relationship despite the difference of caste. What kind of approach to the story was important for you as a director? The two young men are friends of mine. As I was spending time with them, I felt that their relation was telling a lot of things about the Moroccan society, the social inequalities and the caste system that is still very present, especially in a city like Casablanca. So I tried to write a story very close to reality, which can subtly make us understand what is behind this friendship.

What kind of difficulties did you have to face while shooting? To shoot with non-professional actors is very exciting and also very difficult. I had to do my best to obtain all what I was expecting from them despite all the technical difficulties which always occur during a shooting.

“To shoot with non-professional actors is very exciting and also very difficult. I had to do my best to obtain all what I was expecting from them despite all the technical difficulties which always occur during a shooting.“ What do you expect from the Cannes Film Festival? I’m very happy that I will have the chance to show my film to a large audience during the festival. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of Moroccan films that cross the borders. I’m really curious to see how people who are not familiar with the Moroccan culture will receive this film. Are you planning your first feature film or do you want to keep on doing shorts? I’m currently writing a feature screenplay. But I’m planning to make another short film in professional conditions, with people who are there because they are paid. I guess it’s very different to a school film, especially as far as the relation with the crew is concerned, and I want to experience that before trying to make my first feature film.


Salsipuedes

Mariano Luque Universidad Nacional de C贸rdoba argentina

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Cinéfondation

How would you describe your short film? Salsipuedes is a particular approach to different shades of violence against women in a family environment. With this film, I attempt to explore how this violence is maintained and naturalised verbally. I also try to create a contrast between the harmony and peace of nature and the tension and ambiguity of our human world. What kind of approach to the story was important for you as a director? I am interested in talking about this kind of violence, very present in my social environment in this particular way, to the women. Also, when I travel by bus in Cordoba (Argentina), where I live, I often hear others talking with a high dose of violence hidden in humorous comments. I think this resource - overhearing ordinary people’s chats - is very rich. I believe this is an oddity of Cordoba. What kind of difficulties did you have to face while shooting? The film was made ​​with a low budget but this turned out not to be an impediment. On the contrary, it strengthened the creativity and commitment to work. We shot the film in 6 days in 3 locations, relatively close to each other. The main difficulty was the rain, the classic enemy of the shooting. It rained a lot those days, fortunately we were able to rearrange the schedule and we managed to adapt. We worked with a very willing crew, we all got along great. They have even created new job opportunities together since.

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What do you expect from the Cannes Film Festival? My main idea is to see how the most important agent of legitimization in the world of film works. I’m intrigued to find out how this mechanism works. I would like to meet people and see lots of movies. In the official competition this year, there are several directors whom I admire and it’s all very exciting. I’m going to Cannes with the purpose of networking so that Salsipuedes could continue to be selected at other festivals and could be released in other countries, also in Argentina.

“The film was made ​ ​with a low budget, and in the end it’s not an impediment. On the contrary, it strengthens the creativity and commitment to the film.“ Are you planning your first feature film or do you want to keep on doing shorts? I am planning to continue the Salsipuedes project with a film of 65 or 70 minutes. Now, I am travelling to Cannes with a new project that is in the process of script development, looking for funds to be able to finish it. The title is “Amorosas” and it deals with human relations within the family and in the workplace. Its background is a recent historical event of Argentina, a political conflict between the state and the agricultural production sector, that has a high purchasing power. As a resolution, the state tried to tax soy exports. There were many protests of the financial upper class on the streets. I’m interested in researching how the middle class supported this wealthier class and how the lower classes, with their real needs, were left out.


big muddy

jefferson moneo, CANADA Columbia University, U.S.A.

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Cinéfondation

How would you describe your film? The lost chapter from an obscure Western pulp novel. What kind of approach to the story was important for you as a director? I wanted to make a film that was stylistically ambitious. I’m not at all interested in naturalism. My life is already like that. I want to live in a different world when I go to the cinema. What kind of difficulties did you have to face while shooting? We shot in the middle of nowhere in Saskatchewan, Canada. Our crew was tracked by a lone wolf for two days. At night you could hear him howl. Our lead actor, Johnny Brodsky, killed the wolf with a shovel after he got too close to the set. Afterwards, we wrapped the wolf in a table cloth and re-wrote the script to include a dead animal.

“I’m not at all interested in naturalism. My life is already like that. I want to live in a different world when I go to the cinema.” What do you expect from the Cannes Film Festival? Great films, interesting people. Are you planning your first feature film or do you want to keep on doing shorts? I’ve written the feature length version of Big Muddy. I’ll still make shorts. Anything to keep working. I’m miserable when I’m not busy.


YA-GAN-BI-HANG

(Fly by Night)

Son Tae-gyum Chung-ang University South Korea

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Cinéfondation

How would you describe your film? I want my films to be seen as poetry for those who have to fight for their happiness, and an attempt to closely depict the hidden part of life that people don’t usually like to talk about. What kind of approach to the story was important for you as a director? I am interested in human nature in its deepest aspects. Naturally, it is important for me to observe and describe the lives of people in detailed reality. Their actions, especially the ones that are tabooed by society are what mostly make up my films. Besides, those who make such actions usually end up facing ironical situations that vividly unveil the problems in our current society. It is the only way for me to appeal to the audience and convey certain emotions. What kind of difficulties did you have to face while shooting? The main problem is finance. In addition, there’s always the matter of the gaps between what I had pictured in my head and the images I got in the end. I am not very familiar with technical stuff either, and it’s also hard for me to control the film crew because sometimes I can’t be angry even when I should be.

“I want my films to be seen as poetry for those who have to fight for their happiness, and an attempt to closely depict the hidden part of life that people don’t usually like to talk about..” What do you expect from the Cannes Film Festival? I am very excited about being actually invited to the Cannes Film Festival, which I only used to read about in magazines and stuff. Besides, being able to be at the same place with such filmmakers as Pedro Almodóvar and Gus Van Sant is an honor for me. I am also expecting to see all the various works of filmmakers from around the world at Cannes... Are you planning your first feature film or do you want to keep on doing short films? Once I’m more settled as a filmmaker, I would like to make both feature and short films. Of course, making a feature film that can be screened in major theaters has been my dream, but short films do have their unique attractions. Considering the realities, I assume I will make a couple of more short films before I’m able to make a feature film, if given a chance.

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interview with Dimitra Karya, artistic director for Cinéfondation There are many movers and shakers in the short film industry worldwide, but Dimitra Karya is definitely one of the most important personalities in the world of film. She decides about who is getting into the Selection of Cinéfondation at the Cannes Film Festival, probably watches more student films than anybody else and can help in kicking off a career in the film business.

What is the brief history and the main objective of Cinéfondation? How does it fit into the Festival de Cannes programme? The Cinéfondation was created by Gilles Jacob in 1998 to discover talented young filmmakers right from the very beginning of their career: every year, we select about fifteen student films submitted by cinema schools all over the world. The four Cinéfondation programs, approximately 90 minutes each, are part of the Official selection of the Festival de Cannes and are screened in the Buñuel Theatre (this year on May 18, 19 and 20). The Cinéfondation and short films Jury, presided by Michel Gondry, will award three prizes (15,000€, 11,250€ and 7,500€). Apart from the Selection, you have The Atelier and your Residence programme. What is the connection between these sections? The three actions of the Cinéfondation are independent and complementary: The Selection, which I program, highlights school films that deserve international recognition. The Residence, created in 2000, welcomes a dozen young filmmakers in Paris every year, accompanying the writing of their first or second feature screenplay for four and a half months. The Atelier, founded in 2005 as the latest step in the Cinéfondation experience, selects fifteen feature film projects every year, invites the directors to the Festival de Cannes and puts them in contact with potential co-producers to speed up the production process. In theory, the same filmmaker could join the Selection with his school film, come to a Residence session for his feature project, and then be invited to the Atelier for another project, but since there is no automatic link between the three Cinéfondation departments, the postman does not ring twice that often. Georges Goldenstern, the General Manager of the Cinéfondation, selects the projects for the Residence (with the help of a jury) and the Atelier.

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How does the selection procedure look like? How many films do you get yearly? Who is responsible for the selection? Every year around 1,600 school films, up to 60 minutes, fiction or animation, are submitted to the Cinéfondation, before February 15th. Unfortunately, most of them, even those finished months before, arrive at the office just at the deadline, which means that hundreds of them must be seen within a month or so. As the director of the Selection, in charge of viewing all those films, I’d like to convey a message: it is highly recommended to send a film as early as possible, so that it can be seen in better, less stressful conditions, which is beneficial to all parts for obvious reasons.


All the directors are invited to the Festival. What happens to them in Cannes? Do you have any specific programmes, or networking events for them? All the selected directors are invited by the Festival to stay a few days in Cannes. The Cinéfondation is a rather intimate section, but just imagine their excitement to be part of the Festival de Cannes, to see their film screened in the Palais, have a photo call, cross the ‘Red Carpet’ with the prestigious jury, expect recognition at the Awards ceremony, have a press meeting and at last, attend the official dinner at the Hotel Carlton, followed by a short film party. And, in the middle of all this, the most important: to be able to watch some of the best movies of the year and feel the presence of famous directors just a few rows away in the same cinema.

We are pretty sure that Cinéfondation has many success stories. Can you mention a few names that had participated in the Selection of the Cinéfondation and made successful films later? Indeed, fourteen years after its creation and thanks to the work of Laurent Jacob, its passionate programmer for the first twelve years, the Cinéfondation selection can take pride in the Cannes debuts of talented filmmakers such as Jessica Hausner, Catalin Mitulescu (whose new film is at Un Certain Regard this year), Vimukthi Jayasundara (Caméra d’Or 2005), Kornél Mundruczó, Corneliu Porumboiu (Caméra d’Or 2006), Antonio Campos, Marco Dutra and Juliana Rojas (also back at Un Certain Regard in 2011), Roland What kind of films are you looking for? Do you have Edzard (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs 2011), Nikoany preferences considering the genres and themes of lay Khomeriki, Ágnes Kocsis, Hagar Ben-Asher the films or the artistic approach of filmmakers? (Semaine de la Critique 2011)… to mention just The Cinéfondation is looking for gifted young directors a few. ready to take risks and escape from the mainstream path. Their films don’t have to look like exercises What do you think about the relationship bein style or showpieces for technical virtuosity, they tween short films and the Internet? What is may have weaknesses (after all, they are school Cinéfondation’s approach to sharing shorts films!) but they should bear witness to a personal online? tone. I have my own preferences for some genres After they disappeared from most of the movie and themes but as a programmer, I’m trying to baltheatre landscape, short films mainly rely on ance the selection by inviting films that convince me festivals to meet an audience. Due to the limited most, in a variety of genres, representing as many duration fixed by many festivals, some very good countries and schools as possible, an equation not but longer films are less widely circulated than always easy to solve, not to mention the ever unsatthey would deserve. Broadcast on TV channels reisfying men/women ratio… mains marginal. In the Internet era, some websites have begun to attract directors, viewers, professionals, to share ‘a meeting point for discussing and promoting short films’, as you at Daazo do. “In the Internet era, some web- I believe in the extraordinary possibilities the sites have begun to attract direc- Internet offers and I think it completes all the traditional media, but I do hope that it won’t tors, viewers, professionals, to other totally replace them one day! The Cinéfondation share a meeting point for dis- shares its selection online with a limited number cussing and promoting short of professionals(programmers and buyers).

films.”

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Until recently, the official short film selection of Cannes was completely separate from the Short Film Corner. Since last year, short films have been presented under a common section. What was the reason for this change, and what are the benefits? Do you think they strengthen each other now? Indeed, we decided a year ago to have a common section for the short films at the Competition and for the Short Film Corner. This decision has been made in order to have a “unity” for all the short films presented in Cannes. The benefits are already visible. People can watch all the short films here at the Digital Film Library, they can meet all the directors, producers, distributors, and buyers of the short films. All the short films have a “special place”. They definitely strengthen each other. What is the relationship like among the different short film sections ofCannes, and what is the role of the Short Film Corner among them? The relationship among the different short film sections has existed since the Short Film Corner was founded 7 years ago, even if we had not had a common section since the beginning. The Short Film Corner offers an annual, tailor-made program of industry meetings, workshops and conferences, that deal with strategic issues. People are able to network with all the biggest industry players - institutions, financiers and the most important international reps in the film business.

What do you think about the phenomenon of the Internet? Does it help filmmakers or is a problem for them (since many of the short films are available online, and that’s not quite what the industry usually likes)? I think the Internet is really helpful. It can allow filmmakers to build projects with fellows from other countries that have access to some other facilities. Regarding the online availability of the films, we usually advise directors and producers not to put their films online for free, but to give a limited access to their films to selected people (buyers, festival programmers…) in case people cannot be present at some events like the Festival de Cannes.

“I think the Internet is really helpful. It can allow filmmakers to build projects with fellows from other countries that have access to some other facilities. “

Q&A with Alice Kharoubi, project manager of the Short Film Corner

managing the

short film corner 42


What can a filmmaker do when visiting the Short Film Corner personally in 2011? For filmmakers, the best thing to do is to be present and to meet people at the Short Film Corner. They can prepare their Festival by using our website www.shortfilmcorner.com, where they can have access to all the short film buyers’ profiles and they can also go on the database Cinando, where all the information on the people coming to Cannes is available. After this, they just have not to be shy and introduce themselves. The daily Happy Hour (from 5.00 to 6.00 pm) is definitely a good time to network!! Tell us a real success story of a film or filmmaker at the Short Film Corner! We have several stories to tell‌ A lot of short film makers have presented their films here and now they have done a feature or their film has met with great success, e.g. Mounes Khammar with his short film The Last Passenger, or Hendrick Dusollier with his short film Babel.

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Hungarian Winners of Palme d’Or on Daazo.com

At Daazo.com, we seriously believe that digging out masterpieces from the past is just as important as finding new artworks. As our site is based in Hungary, we’ve looked into that past and selected all the short films of Hungarian film’s history to have won the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes International Film Festival. Overture János Vadász was the first winner of the award, with his experimental film, Overture, in 1965. This wonderfully photographed documentary tells a very natural and elementary story: the birth of a bird. Fight In 1977, Marcell Jankovics won the Palme d’Or with his exceptional film, Fight. He used very simple visual effects to draw, literally, a fight between a statue and a sculptor. Moto Perpetuo In 1981, Béla Vajda received the Palme d’Ore for his animation, Moto perpetuo – which takes usual situations from daily life in Hungary as its subject matter. At that time it was a very brave work politically, made with perfect technical features. Wind Marcell Iványi’s film, Wind (winning the Palme d’Or in 1996), is definitely one of the classics of European short film culture, inspired by Lucien Hervé’s photograph “Three Women”. With the unique “one-take” technique the director managed to create his own atmosphere, in which the slow rhythm and strict camera movements of the film perfectly describe human nature in inhuman times. After Rain The last film in the list so far is After Rain, which won the Palme d’Or in 2002. This four-minute-long work is clear proof that a short film can handle a serious topic in an effective way, with impact, whilst retaining a distance from its actual subject. The bicycle ride of Kati is probably one of the most powerful scenes ever to have featured in a short film.

All the above mentioned films are available on www.daazo.com/canneshungary

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Impossible is a Mission for a Filmmaker! The Impossible Film Contest by Daazo.com Voting is open! Daazo.com - The European Short Film Centre announced a film contest for all the participants of the Festival de Cannes’ Short Film Corner 2011. Organized by the Festival de Cannes, the Short Film Corner is the essential rendezvous for filmmakers. Many careers have started here, but there are still a lot of undiscovered talents. Daazo.com decided to give another chance for these talents to get more visibility and to compete for valuable prizes: GoPro HD cameras. These cameras are unbreakable, waterproof and can be used under any extreme circumstances, meaning that there won’t be any more impossible situations while making your film. The Daazo Award will be given to the most courageous film chosen by Daazo editors. In addition, the film that collects the most “likes” on Daazo.com (both Daazo.com and Facebook likes - highlighted below the videoplayer - matter) wins the Audience Award. Both winners get a GoPro HD Camera. All competing films are available now on www.daazo.com/impossiblecannes Vote for the best film and help making the impossible possible! Find us on facebook.com/daazo, twitter.com/daazo or read our blog magazine pen on blog.daazo.com! is o pm ing Vot il 00:00 ay! unt d of M 22n

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We Want

to See

Something

Special An interview with Maike Mia Höhne, curator of the Berlinale Shorts competition. For a lot of filmmakers, taking part in the short film competition of an A-list film festival means not only an honor, but a milestone in their personal career. Cannes is one of the most prestigious ones, but to get an idea of the options a filmmaker has, we also checked out what the main competitor, the Berlinale Shorts, can offer. We talked to Maike Mia Höhne about the Festival’s special approach to the selected films and how it feels to be the curator of one of the world’s most respected short film competition.

How long does this process take from the pre-selection to the invitation? Well, I start with preparations during the summer, right after the festival, then we do the actual work with all submissions from October to the beginning of January .

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How does the selection process happen? How can someone enter a film in the Berlinale Shorts competition? It’s very easy. You just make a wonderful film and you are in! We have a selection team and we watch all the films you send in. Then we make a waiting list of the films we are interested in, we have long talks about the films and then we make the selection. Finally, I curate the programme. Has the concept of the competition or the curatorial approach changed during the years? A few years ago it was not so much about “handwriting”. It was more like a competition, like at Cannes: 10-12 films, and you didn’t have the feeling that there was a search for the films. This has changed since: now we look for the films actively. I think this makes the Berlinale very special. We are really risking something. We have 26 films this year, and they vary a lot: they can be experimental or story telling, but there are still “auteurs” behind the film. We wouldn’t divide between short films and feature films; we just say these are films des auteurs. It is a wow experience! What is your personal look of the things? That’s what we are interested in. It seems that the Berlinale prefers a certain type of short film, and not everybody can make it to the competition. Could it disappoint filmmakers? There are a lot of good films we can’t screen because we don’t have enough space. We can’t show 500 films. We are not a short film festival. I am representing an A category film festival, and an international competition. But what we all want in films is the actual person behind it. We want “handwriting”. We want to see something we haven’t seen before. We want to see five-hour long feature films or a 30second-long film. We want to see something special. These are the films we are looking for. These few films we show get high attention and we really believe in the successful future career of the selected artists. It’s about them.

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“How can someone enter a film in the Berlinale Shorts competition? It’s very easy. You just make a wonderful film and you are in! We have a selection team and we watch all the films you send in.”

In the industry short films are on the sideline, mainly because of financial reasons. Do you think it is possible to make money with short films? How many feature films make any profit? Not many. Of course, I know that short films are on the sideline, but I know distributors or other people who make a living out of selling and buying short films. In Germany, there are organisations that get state money to present short films in cinemas. With the digitisation of Cinema this situation is getting better I think. What do you think about the relationship between short films and the Internet? You can do whatever you want, but if you can and want to sell your movie, then you should not put it on to the Internet in the very beginning. If everything is out, than there is no secret left. You should make people curious about your work. It is true for music, too. Everything is for free, but why? If you go shopping, you pay for the things you buy. Why do people think that movies and music are for free? It is a lot of work to make them. How many shorts do you see in a year? A lot. More than a thousand. But we need to be patient to watch all these films. The festival exists because people are sending their films. We need to watch them. Without them, there wouldn’t be a festival!


Talking Images

Q&A with EFA winner, Katarzyna Klimkiewicz

In the European short film landscape, an award can easily be the first step towards a successful career, especially if we are talking about the award for Best European Short Film of EFA. Katarzyna Klimkiewicz is among the lucky ones, because she has already bagged the prestigious prize in the latest ceremony with her film: Hanoi-Warszawa. This interview is about the story of making the film, about the film itself and about the director. It will also give you a bit of an insight to the recent European short film industry. Here is your chance to get to know her story and learn how to earn a hug from Juliette Binoche by applying to a script contest! What is your short film about? It’s a story about one day of a young Vietnamese girl, Mai Anh, who enters Poland illegally through the green border with Ukraine. She has to reach Warsaw, where she will join her boyfriend and start the life she has dreamed of. But the journey is full of humiliation and violence. Mai Anh escapes her brutal traffickers and tries to reach Warsaw on her own.

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What kind of approach to the story was important for you as a director (what were you focused on)? I was focused on a feeling when you feel alien and abandoned, when you are in an environment where you can’t communicate verbally and you have to hide, be invisible, yet you have to survive. This is the situation of Mai Anh, our protagonist, who enters Poland illegally and has to reach Warsaw on her own.


We also wanted to show how we often don’t want to see illegal immigrants, how we pretend it’s not our problem. Together with the DOP, Andrzej Wojciechowski we wanted to create a sense of invisibility, a situation when the audience knows a person is there, but this person is not visible in the frame. We wanted to show how we don’t see things around us, how blind we are .

“I made my speech about how I always wanted to be a filmmaker and when I was a child I thought it was easy, but when I started to study in a film school and made my first films and they were dreadful I realized that making films is very hard and now, receiving the award I feel like a child again.”

Where did the financial background come from? Was it easy to get it? I had been thinking about the idea for Hanoi-Warszawa for quite some time, when I heard that Kino Polska TV was launching a competition, Young Frames: Debutants, and that they were looking for short film scripts.

There was only one rule: the film had to be told with images, rather than words: dialogue had to be minimal. I thought that a story of an immigrant who doesn’t speak Polish and can’t communicate with words would be ideal. The script was shortlisted (among another ten) and invited to participate in a development workshop run by Jerzy Stuhr, Sławomir Fabicki and Denijal Hasanovic. But it wasn’t until the Closing Gala of the 7th International Forum of Independent Film OSKARIADA in April 2008 that I learnt that Hanoi-Warszawa had won the contest. It was just the beginning. After that I worked on polishing the script with the support of Sławek Fabicki. The shooting started in March 2009. The producer – a private TV station Kino Polska – not only financed a difficult debut film, but also brought on board great co-producers: Mastershot Studio, who offered the RED camera and image post-production, and Film 1,2 Association, who through Sławek Fabicki, Anna Wydra and Kuba Kosma supported the film artistically. In the postproduction phase we got another co-producer on board: Munk Studio financed the Dolby Digital EX sound mix and 35 mm copy of the film.

How was the ceremony of the EFA (a nice story you will always remember)? The EFA ceremony was great. When I went on stage I wasn’t even so stressed, I felt hypnotized by the lights and the music ;) I made my speech about how I always wanted to be a filmmaker and when I was a child I thought it was easy, but when I started to study in a film school and made my first films and they were dreadful I realized that making films is very hard and now, receiving the award I feel like a child again. After that speech I went backstage and there was Juliette Binoche, she came to hug me and said she was moved by what I said. I guess it’s a kind of story to tell friends and parents and everybody who wants to listen: Juliette Binoche herself hugged me! It was very cool.

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It’s been almost a year since “I’m here” swept through the European film festivals. What have you been up to since? Not much, to be honest. The financial slump that might be settling now didn’t come in handy, because it would’ve been good to shoot something immediately after I’m here. I’m finishing college soon and I should figure out what I want to do later and how I could make a living. Perhaps I should do something that doesn’t really interest me at all, and also try and direct something that wasn’t written by me. It would be a great experience. So far I’ve got one offer, but I had no interest in the script. Lately, I have been working on a music-Internet project, a website for which we shoot videos about different Hungarian bands and singers. The concept is to shoot videos for various musicians that play live and what would tie these videos together is a unified visual concept. Kind of like the La Blogotheque website but with a more thought-out concept. What gave us the basic idea was Marci Rév’s video he shot for the Volkova Sisters. We have already shot a couple of videos, but we’d like to have more before we start running the site.

You’ve mentioned in earlier interviews that the European festivals might mean a great opportunity for you and it’s up to you whether you can make use of it. Has either Cannes or any other festival given you any kind of boost to your career? I could only give you an answer to this if I had a finished script that I could present and say “well, there you go, I’m here again, and by the way, I’ve been to Cannes.” Cannes isn’t really the place for networking, it’s quite an alienating milieu; if you don’t have a specific goal, then you won’t just meet people there by chance. With smaller festivals, it’s different though. The atmosphere is much friendlier and homelier. I have received a couple of invitations to project-developing workshops, but since I don’t have a finished script yet, I can’t really attend these.

I talked to Bálint Szimler, the director of “I’m here” (a short film which was presented at last year’s Cinéfondation selection) about his experiences gained through his festival trips, his upcoming projects and the future of a possible “I’m here” feature film. an interview With Bálint Szimler, Cinéfondation alumni

LIFE AFTER

CANNES 50


There have been talks about turning I’m here into a feature film. Where do you stand on this now? A lot of things have happened since, things have changed and I’ve felt that the whole thing kind of died down, an era has come to an end. A lot of things have changed in Viktor’s (main character - Viktor Vida) life as well. A huge hype evolved around him because of the film, and while he was considered a weirdo before, now he’s being recognised all the time and people know that he’s the guy from I’m here. That has fundamentally changed his presence in social life. People react differently to him. He’s much more self-confident, more balanced. Of course I don’t want to speak for him; it’s just what I see from the outside. Nevertheless, the idea of the feature I’m here is put on a hold. Do you have any specific short- or feature film plans? Yes. Although I had my closure with I’m here, its themes, visual style, and the whole feel are still something that I want to pursue in my later films. I’m talking about the underground-utopia, about keeping vs. breaking conventions, about who is “normal” etc. I basically figured out the main character, but somehow I find the film more and more resembling to I’m here and this scares me a little. I’m not sure it should, because I’m not after creating the same success, but because that theme and style are what fundamentally interest me.The conflict of the film would be totally different than the one Viktor had though. As for now, I don’t want to say more about this, because it’s still just in my head and it’s still pretty ductile. I have two short film ideas and an experimental film concept, and I want to realise the latter as soon as possible. I would like to shoot in the summer.

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“I’m finishing college soon and I should figure out what I want to do later and how I could make a living. Perhaps I should (...) try and direct something that wasn’t written by me. It would be a great experience.”

Would you like to stay in Hungary and shoot films here, or could you see yourself working somewhere abroad? I travel a lot, so I can imagine living somewhere else for a while, either in Sweden or New York, or anywhere really. But the thing is, when I’m there, I come up with totally different ideas or concepts for a film, just because of the fact that I’m in a different social surrounding, and I find other things more interesting there than here. However, my first feature film concept is very much tied to Hungary, it’s about what’s going on here, in Budapest. It’d be great if I could shoot it here, then I’d go travelling around the world for a while.


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Festivals vs. Internet -

let the battle continue The Short Film industry is probably one of the most dynamically changing segments of the film business. Promotion is essential for emerging filmmakers, so while some directors are travelling around the world having their films shown on classic festival circuits, others keep experimenting with new, mainly Internet-based, technologies.

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New era, new goals

A money driven industry

In both cases, the aim is definitely to be in the spotlight, to have as many viewers as possible, to gain interest and, finally, to have the chance to develop a well-exposed network. Using the Internet and social media is a key to build a fan-base, which seems to be one of the necessary elements for successful future projects. Money is not so important any more, at least not on the level of classic distribution. Whilst TV stations, VOD services, or Cinema Networks offer financial rewards for short films, these amounts hardly cover the expenses of a future work. So even if selling a film is usually the end of the ‘classic career’ of a short film, it doesn’t necessarily meet the original goals of filmmakers. Promoting the filmmaker himself, creating the image of an artist and raising industry awareness are more important, because all these mean the possibility of successful future works. According to some experiences, whether they distribute a short film on festivals or online, directors face the problem of different results. Using the story of the online promotion of the short film The Thomas Beale Cipher as a case study, we can trace the possible outcomes of festival circuit promotion and online presence of a film. prestige, new contacts and financial benefits (by selling the rights to the film), a successful online launch of the film (online) means reaching a much wider audience, a social media fan base and industry interest, the last of which being maybe the most valuable for aspiring filmmakers.

Discussing short films during the Berlinale Talent Campus, a festival director said that the Internet is a problem for the short film industry. We at Daazo.com think that it’s rather a phenomenon, or a chance, which changes everything. One should definitely differentiate between online services and Internet based VOD platforms. VOD can be a very useful tool for industry players, helping them by transferring broadcast quality, paid-for copies of a work. Also, if you think about general audience access, VOD has some new channels in the pipeline. Smart Phones and Smart TVs are relatively new tools to distribute films on, but it gets very hard when you talk about short film distribution. For VOD platforms, the question of money is still unsolved. Even if a VOD company has a quality catalogue of short films, because of Youtube, Vimeo, or other video sharing giants they can hardly ask money for viewing.

In other words, it seems that the online promotion of their film opens new horizons for directors. This makes life a bit more difficult for film festivals and classic promotional forms regarding rights and financial conditions. Of course, money is the most crucial part of this argument, since it is this upon which the industry is based.

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“Using the Internet and social media is a key to build a fanbase, which seems to be one of the necessary elements for successful future projects. Money is not so important any more, at least not on the level of classic distribution.”


The personal touch As Maike Mia Höhne, the curator of the Berlinale Shorts competition says in an interview: “We want to see what we haven’t seen before.” This is especially true when we are watching a short film online. Audiences hardly even realize that they are watching a short film. They’re rather watching something audiovisual, which captures their attention. That’s the most important thing for a filmmaker: to be in the spotlight for a second, and keep it forever. There’s no doubt that the Internet is changing viewing habits, and film festivals are often ignoring this. Many film festivals are still looking for a classic, socially sensitive cinema experience, while a wider, more general audience is desperate for something special. This difference makes the gap bigger between the classic and online promotion of a film. Film festivals usually represent their own view of cinema, meaning a certain level of quality. A short film online represents itself. When you are thinking of making a film, it’s always worth thinking about these possible outputs. But there is no need for concern, as special films have a place within the festival circuit as well. Also, a festival film can be successful online. Such platforms as the Short Film Corner make it possible to meet producers and buyers: it’s a bit like a non-virtual version of the Internet; once you get the audience’s attention, your film can have a great career. With its breakfasts, meetings and workshops, Short Film Corner is the best place to build a network and to expose such a difficult product as a short film.

For the Short Film Corner, the Internet is not a problem. As Alice Kharoubi, the project manager of the event says, they usually encourage filmmakers to use the web for having dynamic copies of their works available, which are limited only for buyers and programmers. This idea suits the industry‘s aims, because it tries to emphasize that short films have value, and ordinary viewers should pay for experiencing them. Even if this is true and even if industry players agree, most short films can be watched for free online (sometimes without the control of the filmmakers) and this fact affects both filmmakers and the industry. One thing is certain: the player who figures out first how to make shorts legally available and how to raise money out of them will fill the gap between classic and online promotion and consequently transform the playing field completely. We think this change is on the way...

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Editors in Chief: Zoltán Áprily, Dániel Deák Managing Editor: Kata Fodor Art Director: Cristina Groşan Contributor: Zsuzsanna Deák Journalist: Vera Jakab We would like to give special thanks to Dimitra Karya, Alice Kharoubi, Kataryzna Klimkiewicz, Maike Mia Höhne and Bálint Szimler.


“World of Shorts” - The Cannes 2011 special edition “World of Shorts” is an online magazine published by daazo.com - European Short Film Centre Published in May, 2011. All photographs are curtesy of the filmmakers, interviewed subjects and festival-cannes.com website. Brushes by Nicolas Gouny.

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