The experience of attending a microfilm festival

In the unit APG 5782, all the students are required to organize a microfilm festival together. To make our own festival more attractive and for a better performance in this assignment, I did a research about the Nottingham International Microfilm Festival (NIM) so that I can have a better understanding of a microfilm festival.

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Firstly, what I need is to know what is microfilm? Microfilm is not just a word, it is a meeting place of new ideas, formats and talent. From film to video, games to animation, microfilm provide all types of talented individuals the opportunity to craft imaginative and engaging short stories for audiences to enjoy everywhere, from cinemas and TVs to exhibition spaces and online. Microfilm is fast becoming also a meeting point for different narrative production cultures from China to the UK and Hollywood. The NIM is the first international Microfilm festival and proof of Nottingham’s intention to become the home for this exciting new way of thinking about short narrative formats, industry and talent.

One of my best friends had the honor to attend the 2016 Nottingham International Microfilm Festival which was the second annual edition of the festival and he shared his experience with me. The festival took place at venues throughout Nottingham on 20-22 October 2016. In the first day, there were some presentations at a Cinema. Ming Yang, who is a professor of Nanjing University shared his findings on the use of bio-sensory technology in the arts in China and showcased the potential long-term impact it could have globally on the film industry. In addition, the professor Deyuan Sun from Communication University of China introduced the overall situation of microfilm in China. He summarized the issues and achievement of Chinese microfilm from both an academic’s and an actor’s perspective.

On 21 October, Dr. Justin Kirby, who is from University of the Arts London, gave a talk on the changing landscape of media and marketing, followed by a panel discussion of the subject. The panel discussed how clients and content producers commission and create digital video shorts that people want to share and how to tell effective stories through digital content shorts. During the three days, there were numerous different types of microfilms from all over the world screened including some VR films and National Videogame Arcade for the audience to enjoy themselves or discuss these microfilms with each other.

This festival is aimed at both the film industry and other businesses, and applies the insights of academic research and industry experience to make the production and distribution processes of microfilm and other genre films more accessible. It explores the development of microfilm and commercial films through microfilm screenings, talks, presentations, panel discussions and masterclasses involving world class industry. The microfilm will be an important part of film industry in the future and the microfilm festival like Nottingham International Microfilm Festival can effectively promote the development of microfilm.

An introduction of Cannes Film Festival

Cannes film festival is one of most famous film festivals in the world.  Many actors and actresses walk the famous red carpet of the Cannes film festival each year, for what is arguably the most important award in cinematography. If there’s any event that could ever de-throne the Oscars in film industry, it’s the Cannes film festival. The French event is renowned for giving a platform to upcoming directors and performers of all nationalities. There’s no other award ceremony of its size to celebrate this many film genres from all parts of the world. Not only an award ceremony though, Cannes premieres screenings of the films that are competing in the main category for a Palm d’Or (and films that are not competing as well) across the week. It’s a perfect week for film junkies and journalists to pack in screenings and interviews.

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The 71st edition of the festival had been held successfully from the 8 to 19 May this year at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, in Cannes, France. The Australian actress Cate Blanchett had been named the President of the Jury for the festival, succeeding the Spanish film director, Pedro Almodóvar.

The most important award of the night is the Palme d’Or, all the twenty movies in this category are previewed for invitees. Then there’s Un Certain Regard award, which is also highly-anticipated, as it celebrates young and innovative talent. The ceremony has several other awards, including Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress – those are chosen by the jury from the movies competing for a Palme d’Or and Un Certain Regard. In the 71st annual Cannes film festival, the Japanese film Shoplifters, directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, premiered at this film festival, won the Palme d’Or, which is about a family who rely on shoplifting to cope with a life of poverty.

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Le Livre d’Image was a eye-catching movie in the 71st annual Cannes film festival which has been translated to The Image Book, is the latest movie of renowned French director Jean-Luc Godard. It’s been speculated that Godard has been shooting and working on this project for over two years and that the film will examine the modern Arab world. There are no actors featured in Le Livre d’Image, just a storyteller narrating it. The Chinese movie Ash is Purest White, which was directed by Zhangke Jia, also attended the 71st annual Cannes film festival to compete for the Palme d’Or and got good reviews. Another film which attracted me in this festival was BlacKkKlansman. This movie was Directed by Spike Lee and produced by Get Out’s Jordan Peele. BlacKkKlansman tells the story of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American police officer of Colorado Springs, who in 1979 infiltrated the alt-right group, Ku Klux Klan. The plot, based on the true events, translates into a thrilling drama, with John David Washington playing Ron.

The importance of film festival in film industry

In modern society, there is a strong growth in film industry. Not only in Hollywood, film industry has thrived almost all over the world. As everyone knowns, there are several important elements in film industry including film production companies, film studios, cinematography, animation, film production, screenwriting, pre-production, post production, film festivals, distribution, actors, film directors, and other film crew personnel. Among these elements, film festival is playing an increasingly important role in film industry. Film festival held effectively promote the development of film industry. No matter the actors, film directors or audience, they all can get what they need in a film festival.

For the actors and film directors, attending the film festival is a precious opportunity to gain exposure especially for the relative unknown actors and film directors. Film festival is a platform for them to show their acting skills or their own movies. In addition, all these professionals in film industry can communicate with each other and with their audience. Among these professionals, they can exchange their own understanding and opinion about filmmaking. It is a shared learning process for all the actors and film directors. The directors and actors also can communicate with the audience to know their feelings after watching movies. In other word, they can immediately get feedback from their audience which will help them get promoted in their future careers.

For the audience, film festival gives them a chance to enjoy a large number of excellent films from all over the world. There are several different types of movies are exhibited in a film festival and many of them will not be shown in cinema. Film lovers can choose the movies they want to watch according to their own preference. Take the MIFF as an example, ASH IS PUREST WHITE is a movie I have look forward for a long time and it is not shown in cinema. MIFF provide me an opportunity to watch it in advance. At the same time, the audience, in fact is the most important element of a film festival, especially for indie and perhaps not “mainstream” films. For these indie or not “mainstream” films, they carve attention. The actors and directors of these films hope more and more people can know and enjoy their movies, they hope audience are able to understand what they want to express in their movies. Filmmakers bring life, culture, and art to our eager eyes, and as the audience we have a very important job. To respond. To spread the word. To gush and talk about our emotions that surfaced during the film.

There will be more and more film festivals come to the force in the future which means that it will be much easier for the general public to experience a film festival. That would be very beneficial for the spread of film industry.

My first experience of attending a film festival

Though I am a film lover, I knew little about film festival before I choose this unit. In my imagination, film festival is an activity which has nothing to do with general public. The people who have the honour to be invited to attend a film festival are all the relevant professionals in the film industry including some famous actors and directors. I get the chance to really know about the film festival because of the unit-Film festival study tour. It also provides me a chance to attend the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) which is my first experience of attending a film festival. It means a lot for me.

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Screenshot from: http://miff.com.au/

As a famous film festival in Melbourne, MIFF provides audience many films from all over the world even from Greece, Iran, Iceland or somewhere rarely known by most audiences. According to my experience of movie-watching during the process of MIFF, the films chosen by MIFF are all excellent films from various countries. Iordanova(2009) state that when take film festival as exhibition site, sending a great film to a festival is really an essential point, so one of the significant reasons to make MIFF a successful film festival is that it always focus on exhibiting excellent movies. In another words, the films in MIFF experience a strict selection to make sure that audience can watch high quality movies. Another thing makes me impressed is the Q&A sessions before and after the films. It is a precious opportunity for audience to communicate with the actors, producers and directors. I have watched several films in MIFF and ASH IS PUREST WHITE is my favorite one.

ASH IS PUREST WHITE is a Chinese movie. It is directed by Zhangke Jia who is one of my favorite Chinese directors. I felt so excited when MIFF provided me an opportunity to watch ASH IS PUREST WHITE because I have look forward to this movie for a long time. What surprised me is that during the process of watching the film, I found the film exceeded all my expectations. Over such a big time span from 2001 to 2018, Zhangke Jia shows the audience an epic love story and make the characters sharply etched. He tries to let foreign media and audience understand the meaning of JIANGHU. In addition, Zhangke Jia pays tribute to some of his past movies in this film.

Though it is my first time to attend such a film festival, it is a perfect experience for me. I enjoy my time during the process of attending MIFF. The experience also helps me to understand the content and meaning of film festival. Film festival really plays an important role in promoting the development of film industry.

Reference:

Iordanova, D., 2009. The filmfestival circuit. Film festival yearbook 1: The festival circuit, pp.23-39.

MIFF information from Melbourne International Film Festival Official Website: http://miff.com.au/