“Festivals set the tone for the whole profession and for the audience”.

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Graduated with a bachelor’s degree of cinematography, Camille did several internships with the Forum des Images in Paris as an assistant manager then as a programming manager during the Carrefour du Cinéma d’Animation (Crossroad of Animation) and as a programming assistant during Séries Mania (Series Mania).

She then decided to enrol in the master’s degree of Promotion of Cinematographic Heritage.

When it comes to animation, she explained how central are short films. In this particular field, it is very hard to be funding. You need to have a very strong resume.

To the contrary, short films don’t have any space in the world of series. Even if the webserie format has been very successful the past few years, Camille has noticed that the big decision makers don’t really bother with that. The webserie area is managed by passionnate people with ideological claims.

“Festivals are businnesses. They don’t promote art or innovative initiatives” said Camille. “From what I saw, it’s all about marketing and money”.

But not all festivals are like that, she nuanced. Some festivals such as the F.A.M.E., are screening non-profitabe films from all around the world. Of course, they don’t seem to make a profit so it is not viable. “It depends on the budget you have. I understand the commercial necessity of festivals. Guests and big films cost a lot. Both, business festivals and non-profitable festivals, have to exist”, she concluded.

“The niche festival? It’s awesome !” she answered. “We need more people who share their passion, with surprising films that we can’t see anywhere else”, she added. For her, these initiatives need to be supported to provide original point of view. “If people have the time and the passion to do so, they should do it !” Especially as “big festivals don’t take risks. They make their choice on “this serie/film is going to be successful” “.

When I asked Camille about the film festival circuit and the life of films into this circuit, she regretted a big problem in the distribution of films. “Short films are well-known in the festival circuit and in the film industry. It is a way to target the new filmmakers. Nevertheless, the general public is not used to it. Those films are not in the cinemas. So festivals are always at the avant-garde because it’s mostly a professional audience. TV and cinemas don’t bring that to the general public therefore short films still look awkward to them while in the film industry, short films are a way to present and express yourself, to win your spurs. Of course, you still have channels such as Arte and I remember that UGC used to screen short films before their feature films. They should have more initiatives like that.”

Working in programming for a serie festival or for a film festival are two different things. Programming for a serie festival is more based on TV. You have to deal with all the major American channels such as HBO, Netflix, Hulu and so on. Big amounts of money circulate between studios. “Those kind of festivals are more about diplomatic relationships with studios so choices are more based on diplomacy than on artistic questions. Even if it means to choose a b******* serie”, she argued.

“The world of animation is different. There are a lot of emerging talents so we are doing a big programming work with schools, lecturers and students. It’s only people who try to make their best. It’s a penniless sector so they have to help each others”, said Camille.

She explained the fascinating but yet complicated process of film acquisitions. “Sometimes, it is a real conquest. You have to investigate. Sometimes you don’t find the last owners of the films. Sometimes the rights are not assigned anymore. If you can’t find the last owners, you have no legal document to prove your right to screen and you don’t have the high quality format of the films. Two choices then, you can give the screening up or screening it anyway with a lower quality. 9 times on 10, you won’t have any legal issues but still, it is risky”, she admitted.

Camille and I, we have discussed the issue of the International Chinese Film Festival in Australia and their volunteer translators. “Indeed, subtitles cost a lot. You need money for the translators and to insert the subtitles. It’s a lot of work”, she confirmed.

To conclude, when I asked her about the future of film festival, she said that for her, film festivals are a thriving business. “It sets the tone for the whole profession and for the audience. It sets the tone of what is going on in the moment. They are links between creators, distributors, producers, journalists and the audience. Festivals are the social spaces of the film industry. Half of the festivals are professional festivals where the general public can’t go. Film Festivals are meeting spaces”.

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