Last Friday, Scottish Documentary Institute and CMI (Centre of Moving Image) held their first joint masterclass with the special guest Gaelle Vidalie, representing the legendary Cannes Director’s Fortnight. The idea of that session was to engage Scottish filmmakers with a festival whose philosophy is based on discovery and creative energy. As an introduction Gaelle screened the documentary film John Cassavates by Hubert Knapp and Andre Labarthe. It was a beautiful recording of John Cassavetes, shot in Hollywood 1965, while he was editing Faces, and 1968 in Paris, when the film was finished. Fifty minutes listening to the inspiring credo of Cassavetes affirming that you can make independent, free films in America if you dare to follow your convictions and forget about the limits of your credit card. His words and creative energy was wonderful, life enhancing, a must-see – not just for every film student but every filmmaker in the room to be reminded why we make films. It was fascinating that the truth of many of his statements was still meaningful to 2010. Perfect choice of film to describe what the Director’s Fortnight search is about. (You can watch a 10-min excerpt here.)Read more
The good news is: it was not a dream. She comes under the name of Sigrid Dyekjaer, and is the most funny, bright, energetic, sexy woman going round. Do I sound envious? Oh yes, but it is nice envy, because it makes me all the more attentive to what she has to say. And yesterday at a special SDI masterclass she talked for nearly three hours to an audience who could hardly allow themselves to breathe with fear that she may disappear in a puff of smoke. But no, she was solid, real and fed her crowd tenderly with lovely morsels of wisdom.Read more
From the submissions a number of suitable proposals will be selected to go into a development and consultation process whereby the filmmaker will be advised on one or more of the following:
- synopsis, proposal, full treatment, trailer
- story development
- financing strategy
- rough cut (if available)
- festival strategy (for completed projects or rough-cut stage)
- online marketing/financing strategy (any stage)
SEVEN SHORT DOCUMENTARIES by talented new directors on the theme of 'Suprise' commissioned by Scottish Documentary Institute in 2010. These films surprise and sometimes uplift us with subjects ranging from a mystery sender who posts objects to fashion designer Paul Smith, to a towering transvestite struggling for acceptance in middle England, to an exploration of 21st Century suburbia in Surprise, Arizona and the portrait of a brutalist architect who will outlive all of his buildings.Read more
Bridging the Gap: 'Shift' projects are...
...drum roll please!Read more
I attended the one on Copyright and Fair Use in documentaries. Norwegian producers are starting to test the law with a few cases on the same basis that has been developed and argued in the States. David Van Taylor, director/producer from Lumiere Productions in New York was invited to share his experience and the difficulties in using the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use, a document that clarifies when documentary filmmakers can use copyrighted material into their films without permission. An excellent move.Read more
Can films change the world? Last night Paul Laverty in his masterclass organised by Scottish Documentary Institute for the Take One Action film festival made a passionate case for us to think about it. His speech, at times a mere whisper, is loud and clear in his message. It is inspiring to have a screenwriter to be ideologically driven by social justice and to be so humble and acknowledge that it is a privilege as a filmmaker to select our characters and through their eyes discover new realities and truths.Read more
12 ideas will be short-listed on the basis of the proposal and supporting materials. In the following weeks they will be developed through weekend workshops so that they can be pitched to a panel of experts who will commission the final 5 projects in December 2010. The films, delivered by April 2011, are intended for distribution in cinemas and festivals.
At the jury deliberation on Thursday which I shared with Doug Block, AJ Schnack, Pamela Cohn, Adriatrik Kelmendi, editor-in-chief from Kosovo national TV, we remarked on what a considered and excellent programme it had been, and how lucky we felt to be part of Dokufest's 9th edition. After a long discussion about the short and feature award for best international documentary, we celebrated (secretly) the decision until the early hours with local raki, peja (beer) and cheese gondolas. When it was getting light (it seems the bars simply remain open until the last person leaves), Pamela and I explored some other areas of Prizren with our stills cameras, among stray dogs and ghostly, battered shop mannequins.
After a stunning flight over the Swiss Alps, Venice and the Croatian coast, the weather turns hazy and I can see numerous farm fields on fire and it starts to rain. At Pristina airport I realise my luggage didn't make it through in London and that I'll have to wait for 2 days for my suitcase. Oh well! I share a lift with filmmaker Rowland Jobson who is here with his Venice-premiered film Girl Like Me. I've been invited to be on the jury for the international competition, and we're screening Peter in Radioland by Johanna Wagner, Unearthing the Pen by Carol Salter and Amy Hardie's The Edge of Dreaming at the festival. It takes us two hours from Pristina airport to Prizren, a beautiful town in the South of Kosovo, in stop and go traffic. The sun is setting and the light is stunning, looking across the mountainous countryside - houses half-built, abandoned cars on the side of the road, a traffic accident... and we pass the German army barracks as we enter Prizren; around 2000 soldiers are still stationed here we're told.Read more