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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar Voynar@moviecitynews.com

On Regional Film Fests as Agents of Change

I wrote a little while back about the Sarasota Film Festival and their kick-ass education and outreach program, which I’m looking forward to seeing up close when I’m at that fest next month.

I’m also going back to Dallas IFF this year — I’ve been going to that fest every year since it started, and I’m continually impressed with how this fest has grown and shifted and survived in spite ending their co-branding with AFI and losing some sponsors and gaining others. Somehow, they always pull off a hell of a fest for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

So I just got this press release about a new initiative Dallas IFF is starting this year for the first time ever — programming a section of films and panels on social issues and partnering with health organizations to put on panels on WHY you should make a film about your cause, WHAT kind of film you should make and HOW you can get it made. I won’t go into all the details you can get from the press release, but it’s pretty cool.

Getting information out there and engaging audiences and filmmakers in the whys and wherefores of social-issue filmmaking as a genre is a worthwhile endeavor for a regional fest to be promoting, but they’ve also partnered with The Embrey Family Foundation to award a $10,000 cash prize to an individual or film related to fighting injustice or creating social change.

I wish I had a family wealthy enough to hand out $10,000 cash awards, but since I don’t, I’m at least glad that someone else does … and that they’re using that wealth in the service of BOTH art and social issues. So good for them, and good for Dallas IFF for working to make this happen. This is exactly the kind of role regional film fests need to be playing in the community, and the kind of creative partnerships other regional fests should be looking at for their own fests. Right on.

One Response to “On Regional Film Fests as Agents of Change”

  1. Really? says:

    You have to be kidding. This festival is embarrassing to the people of Dallas, who deserve much more. Bring back the American Film Institute and some dignity to this effort.

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“When Bay keeps these absurd plot-gears spinning, he’s displaying his skill as a slick, professional entertainer. But then there are the images of motion—I hesitate to say, of things in motion, because it’s not clear how many things there are in the movie, instead of mere digital simulations of things. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that there’s a car chase through London, seen from the level of tires, that could have gone on for an hour, um, tirelessly. What matters is that the defenestrated Cade saves himself by leaping from drone to drone in midair like a frog skipping among lotus pads; that he and Vivian slide along the colossal, polished expanses of sharply tilting age-old fields of metal like luge Olympians. What matters is that, when this heroic duo find themselves thrust out into the void of inner space from a collapsing planet, it has a terrifyingly vast emptiness that Bay doesn’t dare hold for more than an instant lest he become the nightmare-master. What matters is that the enormous thing hurtling toward Earth is composed in a fanatical detail that would repay slow-motion viewing with near-geological patience. Bay has an authentic sense of the gigantic; beside the playful enormity of his Transformerized universe, the ostensibly heroic dimensions of Ridley Scott’s and Christopher Nolan’s massive visions seem like petulant vanities.”
~ Michael Bay Gives Richard Brody A Tingle

How do you see film evolving in this age of Netflix?

I thought the swing would be quicker and more violent. There have been two landmark moments in the history of French film. First in 1946, with the creation of the CNC under the aegis of Malraux. He saved French cinema by establishing the advance on receipts and support fund mechanisms. We’re all children of this political invention. Americans think that the State gives money to French films, but they’re wrong. Through this system, films fund themselves!

The other great turning point came by the hand of Jack Lang in the 1980s, after the creation of Canal+. While television was getting ready to become the nemesis of film, he created the decoder, and a specific broadcasting space between film and television, using new investments for film. That once again saved French film.

These political decisions are important. We’re once again facing big change. If our political masters don’t take control of the situation and new stakeholders like Netflix, Google and Amazon, we’re headed for disaster. We need to create obligations for Internet service providers. They can’t always be against film. They used to allow piracy, but now that they’ve become producers themselves, they’re starting to see things in a different light. This is a moment of transition, a strong political act needs to be put forward. And it can’t just be at national level, it has to happen at European level.

Filmmaker Cédric Klapisch