monthly newsletter of NISI MASA
focus: Nathaniel Dorsky Nicolas Provost spotlight:
ESP 1 Session
25 fps Experimental Narrative Il Giardino della Speranza
from The Dante Quartet (1987) by Stan Brakhage
1st of March Deadline Applications Nisimazine Cannes
6th of March
3rd to 6th of March
Deadline Applications Linz Video Workshop
European Short Pitch Part II: Pitching session
from Engram (1987) by Toshio Matsumoto
editorial I'm not doing it on purpose! "Thanks for the film Hannaleena. It was.. mmm.. interestingâ€ŚWell to be honest, I didn't quite get it." I've always envied mainstream filmmakers. That's what I always try to do as well, but I keep on failing! I try to make understandable films, really, but the outcome most of the time is only experimental weirdness. (Every now and then I succeed in making something funny or appealing, but it's pure luck.) Most of the time feel the only effect my films have, is additional wrinkles in people's forehead. But come on! What's the point in making a film, if the exact same story can be told eye to eye to friends at a bar. What's the point to film if not using the awesome possibilty to fuzzle with time and space, images and emotion, rhythm and dramaturgy? I get so bored if there's no challenge in making a film! I'm not torturing people on purpose with my cinematic experimenting, but I'm not going to change my way of making films either. And - well any-
way there are the seven people in the world who actually do get my point through the films. I just wish it would be seven million instead of seven. Now for the rest of this article I'm going to be really rude, and blame my audience of being passive and lazy. The only solution I see, is that all viewers should become more tolerant to the "experimental". Mainstream films are ridiculously ruling us just because people are too lazy to learn to read the language of cinema. Compared to literacy, music or theatre, we give too little chances to experimental film. Think about it: people have their BjĂśrk album next to Backstreet Boys, and their Twilight books leaning on Pablo Neruda. Now that we've been watching and making films for over a hundred years, wouldn't it be time to realize that there is more to see than Scream 4? Open your eyes! It's time for a change! Get provoked by these slogans! The discrimination of experimental films must end! Maya Deren to the same DVD shelf with Coppola! (And all my friends: don't get mad, please come to my next premiere.) by Hannaleena Hauru
Mas y Mas is a monthly newsletter published by the association NISI MASA. EDITORIAL STAFF Coordination Maximilien van Aertryck Design Maartje Alders
Contributors to this issue: Maartje Alders, Bruno Carmelo, Donal Foreman, Nikolay Kostov Georgiev, Hannaleena Hauru, Jerome Hiler, Elif Ince, Marcella di Palo Jost, Mario Kozina
NISI MASA (European Office) 99 Rue du Faubourg Saint Denis 75010, Paris, France Tel/Fax: +33 (0)9 60 39 63 38 + 33 (0)6 32 61 70 26 Email email@example.com Website www.nisimasa.com
In order to avoid confu sion we make clear sepa rations and draw borders to differentiate our surroundings. Good and evil, beauty and ugliness. While these judgments belong to our character and appreciation, they are significantly resulting of a bigger context; and when contexts multiply and become indiscernable, how do we handle our perceptions?
Godard on your cell phone, Avatar in a museum
“Tell me how you watch it and I’ll tell you who you are”
n a time when people can watch films on Internet, with DVDs or even on their cell phones, the matter of the cinematic exhibition device seems to be no longer essential. Some romantic cinephiles will still stand for the love of good old film, but the most of the society is more and more used to watching images everywhere, in no matter what conditions. One can guess that the question here is not only the size of the screen or the quality of the image. Watching a film at home, inside a subway with a cell phone or sitting inside a theater do not create the same appreciation of the art object at all. No one is stating that one way is better or “more correct” than other, but the same image can produce new significations whether it is seen with or without the lights on, with or without different sounds around, with or without the possibility of making a pause. It does not create a difference of quality, but a difference of content. It is not the same film that is watched in such different circumstances. This discussion is not limited to new technologies, of course. They only provide us with further and more explicit examples or the importance of the disposition of spectatorship. The same is valid for two traditional ways of appreciating moving images: the theatre and a museum. After the projection of Film Socialism directed by Jean-Luc Godard at the Cannes film festival and then in cinemas around the world, many people believed that such fragmented non-narrative experience had a better place in a museum rather than the movies. Films in museums are normally perceived as a different kind of art than that of films made for the cinema. Museums follow the popular perception of hermetic construction, difficulty to assimilate and therefore no intention of direct communication with the public. The “art videos” would engage spectators in a harsh and
active relationship (the spectator has to make an effort to understand and cerebrally appreciate the work of art), while regular cinematic films would be constituted on the passive role of the public, who would just “be entertained” as the American formula defines so well.
Insert on Nicolas Provost "I have to stay as naive as possible, so the images can come naturally", Provost explained to us at last years Berlinale, "art and editing are a matter of taste". One of the household names of experimental cinema, Nicolas Provost has been a
If Film Socialism were indeed shown in a contemporary museum, the public (which is already radically different from the one that goes to the movies) would look for different aspects in its process of interpretation. In the same way, feature films presented in cinema museums do not encourage people to watch the entire piece (since projections are normally in a place where people cannot sit down and pay attention for a very long time). If Avatar were shown in a museum, it would firstly be considered as evident art (more than a blockbuster with blue humanoids), secondly it would make spectators pay attention to the forms, the composition, the frame, since few people would be able to watch it long enough to make meaning of its story. What’s the point after all this? Marshall McLuhan had already pointed out decades ago that “the medium is the message”, or that the form coincided with the content - or at least implied a specific unique content. From artsy videos in museums to ephemeral digital images, the same content will carry many different meanings, and be watched in necessarily different ways. That fact alone is enough proof for us that quality and interpretation are not exclusively “in” the work of art itself, nor in the person watching it, but in the dynamic between both of these elements. Any film is just a starting point for multiple cinematic experiences, from the best to the worst one, from the memorable to the most forgivable one. by Bruno Carmelo
succesfull (in artistic sense of the word) experimental filmmaker for many years and just received a Short Film Award at the International FIlm Festival of Rotterdam for his latest short Stardust. trailer here Above a still from his short Papillon d'Amour (2004) made with footage from Rashomon (1950). To read the complete interview from Berlinale 2010, click here.
Finding a platform to discuss experimental filmmaking can be a long task. Whether you want to read or write, see or debate, here are two examples of places (one digital, one physical) we strongly encourage you to explore and discover. Donal Foreman and Mario Kozina have the keys.
25 FPS: The Hidden Language of Cinema
very year before the opening of the 25 FPS there is a person who thinks that the number in the title signifies the current festival edition. Discouraging or not, its always funny to hear a sigh of insight when he/she realizes that the name actually stands for the number of frames per second in the PAL television standard.
here is a strain of cinema that is often overlooked – or misunderstood – by the mainstream and experimental worlds alike. If the mainstream view can be summed up as a belief in the equivalence of cinema and storytelling, then the experimental view is an opposing belief in the openness and plasticity of the medium, and a commitment to critically exploring this, taking nothing for granted. “Experimental narrative” filmmakers – such as Philippe Garrel, Tonino di Bernardi or José Luis Guérin – can seem to fall short of both these standards. They rarely tell stories – favouring figurative cinema’s ability to capture nuances of light, texture and behaviour over its capacities of illustration – but they do appear to take certain things for granted: characters played by actors, representational imagery, etc. And so one side sees in these films incompetence (as if they just didn’t know how to tell a story), while the other (admittedly smaller) side sees conservatism, a failure to rigorously investigate the medium’s properties in the way that experimental film (eg, the cinema of Sharits and Brakhage) is expected to. But I believe Garrel and company explore a set of principles entirely distinct from the cinema of storytelling, and ones which I also see implicit in my own filmmaking: 1. The distinction between fiction and documentary is meaningless. 2. Each image is a singular event. 3. The camera is always part of the scene. 4. Cinema is a dialogue between will and reality. 5. Be, don't illustrate. 6. "In narrative cinema – and all cinema is narrative to some degree – it is the type of image produced that determines the narrative, not the reverse." –Raul Ruiz I propose these six principles as the foundations of a different way of making and thinking about those films that seem to straddle the fence. Please visit my blog – www.donalforeman.com/blog -- to question or discuss them. by Donal Foreman
Opposed to the name confusion, the 25 FPS International Experimental Film and Video Festival in Zagreb is very succesfull in its mission to challenge the stereotypes of experimental work as being hermetic and exclusive. Through the competing and concurrent program the festival explores many faces of experimental cinema, whether on analogue tape, digital video or various hybrid forms. Through innovative plays with film syntax and structure, and through diving into the material side of the media in various expanded cinema performances, the audience is constantly challenged to confront their expectations about what constitutes the film experience. The festival always respects the original formats, and the entrance to all the projections is free. That is also one of the reasons that during its six years 25 FPS managed to build its faithful audience of local and international filmmakers, festival currators, journalists and common viewers, all interested in innovative approaches to cinema. It is a festival whose organizers, guests and audience are not affraid to step out of the dominant framework of film making, thinking and recepting, constantly searching for the hidden language between and within the frames. by Mario Kozina http://25fps.hr/2011/
'I don't really classify my film as anything' said director Antonello Faretta at the latest Rotterdam Film Festival Edition. His short film 'Il Giardino della Speranza' came to be as 'a sort of accident'. Different beautiful and sometimes disturbing images together form a sensory landscape around the progression of a young mans' serious illness. See here an interview with Faretta and his protagonist Marco Lopomo. The film got its life through their relationship and is an example of when form follows a deep emotional connection with the subject.
PORTRAIT NATHANIEL DORSKY
Fifty dollars for three and a half minutes of film, including the processing and the work-print. The American filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky, 68, a native New Yorker, has a lifelong experience in shooting with his 16mm Bolex. His current one is only his third in more than 40 years of activity. He knows what he wants and how to get it, without using a lightmeter, but just trusting his experience and the quality of the film he's using - Kodachrome until few years ago. When they stopped manufacturing it, he was forced to switch to Fuji 64D, with which he still feels unsure. At the 40th International Rotterdam Film Festival last month, Dorsky was invited for a retrospective of his work and was very pleased with the end result. Most notably his films have no sound. He wants them to be seen in absolute darkness, without interruptions and he had never had a projection as excellent as the festival one; "â€Ś. it's more than heaven". Almost every day his show was sold out in a 150 seat cinema. He was there, reveling in watching the heavenly projection and talking about his films in his gentle and exquisite manner. He was not lecturing, but a young (and less-young) filmmaker would get so much out of his words that you could walk out of the theater and feel you learned something new about cinema and life. Nathaniel Dorsky work is sui generis: besides no sound, he uses very closeup images, play of light and dark plus a melodic editing structure. Short shots, one after the other for an average duration of 20 minutes each film. He started to explore his visual language when he was about 10 and took his father's 8mm camera. Since his adolescence, when he got serious about cinema, he has in essence made portraits of his surroundings, in particular Sunset, the neighborhood in San Francisco where he has been living most of his life. Dorsky considers himself an aging child. The whole series of films shown during the festival has definitely to do with what he calls "original"; the attempt of touching the heart of original vision. He started to make his films just exploring the world around him after he got seriously injured
in a car accident. He couldn't talk much, he couldn't enjoy conversation, he could only enjoy walking around with his camera. In order to find a strong motivation for starting to shoot, he wondered "â€Ś why did I do this originally, why did I do it? It was because I found things beautiful in the world - touching, and I wanted to take pictures of them and share them so I started and I just forgot all sense of being an avant-garde filmmaker. I went back to the primordial history of being a visual, mortal being. Probably an unexplainable thing". That led him to his original language, where cinema does what it wants to do, where each cut in itself is a poetic gesture, not representing anything else outside of it, not depicting humans and yet keeping the quality of being human. Referring to Basho's poetry technique and his rules on linkage - no A, B, A - Dorsky describes his experimental cinema form as a film that opens up towards its own needs in each moment, in each cut , rather than a film that is trying to create something external to itself, such as a place, an idea, a drama. His structure is very similar to the dream, in which you have an image that morphs like a cloud shape, and then a conceptual line clicks another idea, changes its shape and starts another idea. The dream continues from that transitory moment with a fascinating structural language. This way in a sense you end up having a film with which to dream, rather than to look at. Watching Nathaniel Dorsky's art films gives you a different perspective to look at things and opens up your sensorial perception. From his own words: "â€Ś when you have a human mind you can actually perceive that you perceive. To perceive that we perceive in a way is the seed of wisdom; it's the seed of a deep devotional sense of what it is to be human, the mystery of being a human being. That's what I'd like my films to be always about. So, to see the perceiver and what he perceives simultaneously in a union, I think makes for what I call a 'devotional' cinema". text by Marcella di Palo Jost, photo by Jerome Hiler
news Nisimazine Cannes 2011! CALL FOR APPLICANTS The first call for participants for a ‘Nisimazine’ film journalism workshop in 2011 is now open! We are preparing again for the festival where it once all began: Cannes! We are currently accepting applications from young (aged 1830) aspiring film critics, photographers and videobloggers from Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia who would like to be part of our editorial team during the Cannes Film Festival from the 10th to the 22nd May.
DEADLINE: 1st OF MARCH http://www.nisimazine.eu/Upcoming-Workshops.html
Festival Tv workshop Linz CALL FOR APPLICANTS
And another NISI MASA workshop coming up, this time in the field of filmmaking : kino5 organises in cooperation with NISI MASA a video journalism workshop during the CROSSING EUROPE Film Festival in Linz, Austria, from the 12th - 17th of April 2011. We are looking for young video journalists and filmmakers (ages 18 – 30) from France and Slovenia who will make a daily TV programme on DORF TV (a new user generated TV station in Linz).
Deadline is 6th of MARCH http://nisimasa.com/?q=node/394
Polyglot winners announced! Among 101 submissions, the jury has now selected the 18 winners of the Polyglot video contest. The directors will now be invited to attend the Cine-boat workshop in June, in which they will travel and shoot short films across the archipelago of Turku in Finland. We invite you to watch the winning films of the directors on the official Polyglot website.
Kino Kabaret! Kino (b) from Belgium is inviting all filmmakers to a Kino Kabaret from the 26th of February to the 5th of March in Brussels! 8 days of kinoïte non-stop creation in 3 sessions, one of 48 and two of 72 hours. Register on www.kinob.be and bring with you your hardware, mattresses, sleeping bags and creative brains!
Opuzen Film Festival
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS Submissions for the first edition of Opuzen Film Featival are open ! The main task of this festival is to introduce new directions in the film industry and to form a space for social interaction among film workers, encouraging their cooperation. The "OFF" festival 2011 will take place in Opuzen (Croatia) from August 20-27. The specified categories are: European feature film, European documentary film, European short feature and animated film.
Deadline: 15 JUNE 2011 www.opuzenfilmfestival.com
Cristina Grosan and Maria Dicieanu, who both attended the Nisimazine Cannes workshop last year, have been covering the Berlinale and Talent Campus for you on the Nisimazine.eu blog! Meanwhile, in the free section, Geoffroy Crété has analyzed the “Straight-to-DVD” world and revealed a few “hidden gems”, Maartje Alders has written on the International Rotterdam Film Festival and Matthieu Darras made an analyses about 2010 in Cinema! http://www.nisimazine.eu/-Blog-.html
Participants of the fifth edtion of European Short Pitch met eachother last month for a week long rewriting session at the Moulin d’Andé (Normandy – France). They debated, brainstormed and rewrote their short film script with four professionnals tutors selected for their thorough knowledge of short film dramaturgy and their european experience. They will meet again in the beginning of March to pitch their scripts in front of a panel of professional producers.
n Monday, we met at the Gare St. Lazare, under the glass ceiling Monet once painted. Timidly we shook hands, made small talk, exchanged names that were difficult to pronounce. We got on the train to Moulin d’Andé, not knowing what to expect.
A week later, back at the newspaper I work for in Istanbul, my boss spotted me walk in and waved for me to come into his office. "How was it?" he asked. "Amazing," I replied. "We drank house made red wine all day long, and talked about film." "Hell no!" he said, suddenly looking up from the pile of newspapers on his desk. "We stayed in a twelfth century mill,” I continued, “Right where Jules et Jim was shot. In fact, ‘Tourbillon de la Vie’ was composed here. You know, the one Jeanne Moreau sang in the film?" But ‘Jules et Jim’ was just the tagline. The tip of the iceberg. The icing on the cake. On the surface, there was the moulin, a barrel full of wine and 20 scripts to be worked on: A clumsy man trying to escape a beggar on streets of Bulgaria. A woman consumed by a bitter break up, alone in her apartment for 24 hours. How it feels like to lose everything in a fire. But underneath lay many more stories to be told. One evening after lunch, my Croatian roommate told me how her house in Vinkovci was bombed when she was a little girl during the War of Independence. Over dinner, I listened to the real story of a ghost named Henry who won't leave his house in Cadillac and tries to strangle house guests. I was educated on the delicate art
of apartment-hunting in Paris (you might run into landlords who greet you naked and ask if you want to “try out the shower pressure”). Behind all the stories, there were the writers. True characters! Trust me, a more colorful bunch than those you’ll find in the most animated scripts. There was the heartbroken lover who couldn’t get himself to read or write any scripts. The shy guy who took pictures on his analogue camera all week. The blue-eyed Belgian who was obsessed with Second World War memorabilia. We all listened to each other's stories: those we wrote, those we still have to write, and those we might
A story is the perfect place to get lost.
hen you’re writing a story, sooner or later you’ll feel like Minos in his labyrinth. Every way could be both a way out or a dead end. Maybe the hearth of your story is not so focused or maybe you’re searching for a better way to convey it. Whatever the problem is, time has come: you need help. When I sat down for my first session during the European Short Pitch, I was scared. I was aware that many readers had found my story not so convincing. I had a long list of flaws and weaknesses about it. But that was normal. Flaws can be fixed.
perhaps never write. At the end of five days, we took the train back to Gare St. Lazare, and again made a circle with our bags in the middle. We all had changed film scripts in our heads, partly concealed by hangovers from the night before. But I believe something else, something more profound had changed within each and every one of us. It was, like Moreau sang in that rusty voice: On s'est connus, on s'est reconnus. (We met, we recognized each other) On s'est perdus de vue, on s'est r'perdus de vue (We lost touch with each other, then all over again) On s'est retrouvés, on s'est séparés. (We met again, we left each other) Dans le tourbillon de la vie. (In the swirl of life) by Elif Ince
Pictures by Nikolay Kostov Georgiev
EUROPEAN SHORT PITCH 2011 SESSION 1
My fears were about my tutor. I’d never met her before and in my earlier experiences I had troubles with my teachers. It’s something about fairness and honesty. When your story is flawed, the reader can easily fail to understand your intentions, your world and your imagination. That’s when Ariadne could turn herself into the Minotaur. Along four days of hard work, while the scripts of my group were discussed and revised, Marie helped us pointing out the good and the bad of our projects. She’s been stern and sharp, and since the beginning I could feel her sincere will to make our stories work.
And, well, I think that’s what really matters, and that’s what I found amazing in the ESP experience. It’s been a team work, and we - Marie and my groupmates - were all working for the same goal. And now, thanks to all this, I have the map of my labyrinth. by Lucio Besana
Newsletter of NISI MASA - Network of Young European Cinema