Filmmaker Conference - Navigating International Film Festivals - Sept. 18, 2007
(AB) Arianna Bocco, VP, Acquisitions & Productions, IFC
(LC) Lenny Crooks, Head of New Cinema Fund, UK Film Council
(ME) Marit Van Den Elshout, CineMart Manager, Int'l Film Fest Rotterdam
(CS) Clare Stewart, Exec Director, Sydney Film Fest
(AB)What advice would you have for N. American filmmakers with a good co-pro opportunity and how do they hook-up with producers? Also what is the best Intl Film Fest strategy?
(ME) In order to navigate festivals do your research before submitting. It is not always best to go for the big ones – Cannes, Toronto, Sundance etc. If you have a smaller film then you should be very clear on what festivals best match your film. With regards to co-pro it is all about relationships with co-producers you must build up a true friendship and trust as you will be with them for a long time.
Audience Q & A
Q – Following on from the European discovery of Lars Von Trier and the creation of Dogma 95, where lays the popularity of experimental filmmaking currently in the European market?
(LC) Firstly, Lars is a creative genius from a Danish film school of theory with very disciplined principles born from brilliant scripts. Experimental is not just about picking up a camera and shooting, so it really depends on what you are classing as experimental
(AB) One thing to remember is there is reported to be at least one film festival a week currently and they all want to discover a filmmaker. So in terms of experimental film there will be someone who wants to champion you and your work, so again it may not always be in the obvious festival route.
(CS) Dogma was a way of working and it is important to note of something that is not always thought of about Dogma, that they had very clear thoughts from the concept on why and how they would sell and market their films.
(ME) With regards to selecting a film we all read and watch with our stomachs and what hits you in the stomach is what we will pick.
(CS) Rotterdam does have a really strong presence in experimental film and I personally attend to programme from Sydney from there. So it is worth considering where the best showcase for you film will be for other like-minded festival programs
Q: If doing open submission as an unconnected and unknown filmmaker, who are the first people looking at your film?
(CS) We are always reviewing the ways we make our discoveries. We have a 3 prong approach – fiction, Docs and Shorts – We have advisory groups that watch and rate and then make recommendations that then get viewed by the producers.
(ME) We have a strong programming team – when the film comes in it is distributed among the programmers, eg. World Affairs, Experimental etc so there are levels of viewings with genres narrowed down accordingly.
(CS) I am often approached by other international film fest programmers about films I should look at. If you have someone to champion your film on a local level or at a smaller film fest, ask them who to on an Intl level or who they recommend you submit your film to.