Independent Cinema Office Blog

News and views on the world of independent film

Posts from August 2012

Ciao Venice!

Posted Friday 31 August 2012 by Catharine Des Forges in Festival Reports, Training & Conferences

Manage to get up bright and early to go see Bad 25 the new documentary by Spike Lee.  Ostensibly about Michael Jackson's Bad album, and a detailed examination of the creation of every track, it's a moving and joyful testament of a musical creative genius and a focus on his talent rather than his personal troubles.  This is fabulous - feels like Spike has saved his best work as a tribute.  There's spontaneous applause at the end of the screening and not a dry eye in the house even though it’s an audience of hacks and seasoned industry insiders.  I'm going to go home and get out all my old albums.  Cinemas, plan your event nights now!  But this is a real tribute, great filmmaking, by turns heartbreaking and inspirational.

Bad 25
Bad 25 by Spike Lee

I just have time to squeeze in Clarisse, a short documentary by Liliana Cavani about a group of Poor Clare nuns.  I loved this actually - a great film about women, unexpectedly, unashamedly feminist allowing the subjects to speak for themselves without prejudice.

So!  An uplifting end to a short but great trip.  Am off to the airport now and am very grateful to CICAE for the invitation.

Ciao Venice! I'll be back...

Catharine island hopping in Venice

Posted Thursday 30 August 2012 by Catharine Des Forges in Festival Reports, Training & Conferences

Manage to make contact with the CICAE team and the island campus looks even more beautiful in daylight.  I might have to consider studying for another degree...the morning is given over to a discussion of networks much in vogue in the UK at the moment and here, often spearheaded by festivals which is quite interesting to me.  Then it's my turn and I'm here ostensibly to talk about our guide to starting a local cinema.  It seems to be well received although I don't get asked many questions.  Although it is lunchtime...maybe that's got something to do with it...

69th Venice International Film Festival
69th Venice International Film Festival

After lunch I'm off the Lido to see if there's anything I can see.  It's a very leisurely programme.  There seems to be about 4 films on, most of which have already started.  There's Heaven's Gate but it seems to still be 3.5 hours long.  In my defence I'm only here til tomorrow.  So I go off to explore the Lido - which I have to stay is very nice...I think I might have to add Venice to the ICO's festival itinerary....

Heaven's Gate
Heaven's Gate at the 69th Venice International Film Festival

I go see my first film which involves about 10 mins of queuing - what a pleasure, am now officially enamoured of Venice Film Festival.  This is Betrayal (Izmena) by Kirill Serebrennikov, a very cool drama shot almost like a Jessica Hausner film but with a Hitchcockian sensibility.  Unfortunately it doesn't live up to either of these references...a man goes for a medical check-up and the woman GP tells him that his wife is having an affair with her husband.  He's never met her before, goes home shell-shocked and starts to suspect his wife.  The story unfolds, initially a seemingly malicious act of mischief on the part of the GP who is beautifully played, but subsequently with more substance to it.  The characters are never named and the location is deliberately undefined - there's a sense of mystery, and dreaming, of not being sure what is real and what is false.

Betrayal (Izmena) by Kirill Serebrennikov

After the screening, I go and get ready for dinner and then onto the Venice market party.  On the beach and with the most amazing food which makes me sad to have already eaten...

And so to bed, travelling back on the waterbus, over the water - I don't think I would ever get tired of this journey.

Catharine en-route to Venice

Posted Wednesday 29 August 2012 by Catharine Des Forges in Festival Reports, Training & Conferences

Manage to nearly miss my flight which was a bit stressful.  Although I do have a reputation for being quite cavalier where airports are concerned, even I thought fate was conspiring against me when my boarding pass got lost in the baggage security machine.

Anyway!  Finally made it to Venice and a helpful lady from CICAE phoned me up to talk me through the intricacies of the water bus.  I am here to give a talk on CICAE's annual art cinema management course which takes place every year at the Venice Film Festival.  It is also funded by MEDIA and welcomes around 60 participants from across Europe.


Coming into Venice at night-time is incredibly romantic especially by boat.  All the lights are twinkling and coming into the city I feel almost medieval...

I make the next water bus and manage to check into my accommodation which is actually part of the university.  Although it's not quite like my old halls of residence...there's a Levi's party banging out dance music as part of the festival but instead I go on the search for some food.  Several vending machines later I retire to bed trying not to think about my nutritional intake for the day.

News round-up... 20/08/2012

Posted Monday 20 August 2012 by Sarah Rutterford in News Round-up

In The Mood For Love
In The Mood For Love - number 24 on Sight & Sound's poll

In the news

  • Following their recent critics poll of the Greatest Films of All Time, Sight & Sound have now listed all voters - and their film choices - online, and it makes for fascinating reading. Browse the list of voters (you can filter by name, country or the categories academic, archivist, critic, distributor, programmer and other) which includes Catharine's picks here and Simon's here as well as the favourites of Watershed's Mark Cosgrove, Showroom's Ian Wild and National Media Museum's Tom Vincent. The top 250 are here, and all films voted for are listed here.
  • The Edinburgh International Culture Summit was held last week. Delegates from across the globe attended including Minister of Culture, Communication and Creative Industries Ed Vaizey, Scottish Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop and EU Culture Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou - with the latter speaking of the need for national governments to maintain arts funding, stating that the arts and creative sector is 'key to economic and indeed social recovery, rather than a distraction from it.' Read more in this piece on EU Observer; key speeches from the event can be found here.

Training & events

  • The Audience Agency is taking to the road for a series of launch events this autumn. Meet the team to find out what services are on offer; learn more about audiences in your region and network with other cultural organisations to share ideas and experience. They’ll be in Salford on Tuesday 11 Sept, and in Bristol on Thursday 20 Sept.
  • Tickets are on sale for Culture Label’s REMIX event on 27th Sept – a global summit drawing together creative leaders in culture, entrepreneurship and technology. Speakers include Ed Vaizey and representatives from organisations such as Google, Tate, Spotify, Frieze Art Fair, Future Shorts & Secret Cinema, Channel 4’s Film4.0, the Arts Council and the BFI.
  • The BFI and Nintendo are announcing a UK-wide 3D film competition for the London Film Festival, supported by Ridley Scott. The competition winner gets to re-shoot their submission with a professional film crew on location in London, together with mentoring from Asif Kapadia (director of Senna) and Stuart Warren-Hill (Holotronica / Hexstatic / Big Chill). The final film will be premiered as part of the Nintendo Gala screening at the London Film Festival in October. The competition theme is 'British Summer 2012'. Deadline: midnight on Sunday 2nd Sept.

Calls for submissions

  • Would you like to work with Lars von Trier? Hmm... intriguingly, the Danish director is looking for film submissions for Gesamt, a user-generated project seeking short films inspired by existing works by artists, writers and musicians ranging from James Joyce to Paul Gauguin to Sammy Davis Jr. Entries can be up to 5 minutes long; selected films will be assembled into a larger work by von Trier’s collaborator Jenle Hallund. Deadline: 6th Sept.
  • Global Queer Cinema has issued a call for contributions to their soon-to-be launched project website, hosted by the School of Media, Film & Music at Sussex University. Contributions from researchers interested in queer cinema, cultural studies, media, global studies, gender and sexuality, filmmakers, artists, writers and interdisciplinary scholars are all welcomed.
  • The London Short Film Festival is calling for submissions for their next edition (set to run from 4 - 13 Jan 2013). Films must be under 60 minutes, completed after Sept 2010 and submitted by filmmakers living or working in the UK. Deadlines: 14th Sept (regular), 21st Sept (latecomers).
  • The London School of English celebrates its centenary this year, and is inviting submissions of short films based around the theme 'One Hundred', with prizes of £3,000, £1,500 and £1,000 up for grabs. Deadline: 17th Sept.
  • LOCO, the London Comedy Film Festival is seeking comedy features and shorts for its next edition (24 - 27 Jan 2013). On offer: the 2013 Discovery Award for a British comedy feature currently without distribution. Deadline: midnight on 30th Sept.
  • For aspiring screenwriters: submissions are open for the 2012 BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum, a platform for new writing and networking, which will be held in London on 12 November. Submit your scripts for features, shorts, TV drama or TV comedy drama for the chance to get your piece performed in front of a live audience and critiqued by award-winning director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love). Deadline: 20th Sept.
  • Are you an artist filmmaker looking for funding for your next project? The Cornerhouse in Manchester is inviting artists - including those working in film - to apply for the chance to create new work to be exhibited in a group show in Jan 2013. Artists will receive £1,000 towards their piece. Deadline: 12th Sept.
  • Are you aged 16-25 and interested in film & science? 94 Elements is a global filmmaking project exploring human life through the elements. Participants will make short films about their thoughts on particular elements and how people interact with them. Apply via IdeasTap - the deadline is 5pm on 3rd Sept.


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