SHORT FILM COMPILATIONS AIMED AT YOUNG AUDIENCES NOW AVAILABLE FROM DISCOVERY FILM FESTIVAL
Discovery Film Festival is Scotland’s International Film Festival for young audiences. Based at and managed by Dundee Contemporary Arts, the festival brings together the very best films from around the world for audiences aged 3+. Now in its 14th year, the festival sees over 5,000 children and young people from Dundee and the surrounding area engage with its programme of screenings, activities, workshops and exhibitions each year.
One of the most popular elements of the festival programme is their short films strand, which encompasses Shorts for Wee Ones (age 3+) and Shorts for Middle Ones (age 8+). A perfect introduction to the magic of cinema, these packages are available to cinemas, arts venues and film clubs or societies, and offer an excellent way to engage family audiences.
Find out more about the shorts compilations and Discovery Film Festival here.
You will need to obtain local classification from your local council for the shorts. Mike Tait (firstname.lastname@example.org) will be able to provide information behind the reasoning for the local classification they have given for the shorts when screened at the festival in Dundee.
The shorts are offered at £75+ VAT per compilation. To book either of the short film compilations email Mike Tait at email@example.com
We’re thrilled to be working once again with Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival on a fantastic collection of short films.
This collection of 12 shorts, animated and live action, homegrown and international, is available for purchase now from BFFS. At only £100 with screening rights for 12 months this is a tremendous offer for some fantastic new short films.
Here’s a quick run through of what’s on offer:
Adrift | Frederik Jan Depickere | 9 mins Documentary Award
After fleeing genocide in Uganda a lonely man now clings to a poorly paid job in the Arctic circle working on the construction of a school designed to look like a rocket. Tragically he reveals that his childhood dreams have been replaced with the simple desire to live a quiet life.
Anomalies | Ben Cady | 12 mins Animated Best of British Award
A black and white hand drawn stick world is invaded by suspicious objects, flickering coloured images. Though they just sit there, they are soon prodded and poked and observed by a gathering of people: scientists, painters, children. What are these strange objects? And why have they appeared?
Beat | Aneil Karia | 12 mins New Talent Award
A man (Ben Whishaw in a committed performance) is living on the edge of hopelessness. He is reckless and troubled, paranoid even. We see a day in his life, filled with confrontation and threat.
Behind the Journey | Bristol Sprout | 3 mins Best of South West Award
Made in just 117 hours this brief documentary looks at the workers behind the scenes of the nail network, those who clean up after the travellers have disembarked. It’s full of surprising, and sometimes shocking, stories about the kinds of things we leave behind in our journeys.
Cargo Cult | Bastien Dubois | 12 mins Cartoon d’Or
A native tribesmen is entranced by the great machines of the naval army base on his island. He regales his community with tales of flying machines and builds models of them. But when WW2 breaks out the terrible power of these machines is revealed.
Cool Unicorn, Bruv | Ninan Doff | 2 mins DepicT! Audience Award & Grand Prix
A guy is trying to sell his bike – “it’s got a titanium frame, new wheels…” he boasts to an interested passer-by. But then someone else comes past with a unicorn – it can travel to the 4th dimension and harness the energy of the universe. Can his bike compare?
Short, sharp and very funny.
Fear of Flying | Conor Finnegan | 9 mins Children’s Jury Award
A delightful family friendly stop motion short. Dougal, a small bird, has a dreadful fear of flying. He lives in a treehouse and happily climbs down an enormous ladder to go and look for food. He’s coping, but winter is coming and all the other birds are heading to the Sunny South. Will Dougal overcome his fear and follow them? Or will he have to brave the cold in his little house?
Happy Birthday Cindy Wei | Tsveta Cozanova | 11 mins South West Showcase
A shy and lonely teenager who works part time in her father’s takeaway is encouraged to express herself after learning of her cousin’s unusual double life.
Home | Thomas Gleeson | 11 mins Audience Award
An empty but intact house is being transported across the New Zealand countryside on the back of a huge flat-bed truck. Mountains pass by out the bedroom window, the doors swing back and forth as the truck squeezes round a tight bend. Spectacular cinematography and a truly unusual event.
In The Air Is Christopher Gray | Felix Massie | 10 mins Grand Prix Award
Christopher is in love with Stacey and “no amount of lemonade could cool his desire”. But Christopher doesn’t know how to impress her until Stacey’s mum compliments him on jumping over 8 earthworms laid end to end on his bike. Would Stacey find such a feat impressive? Meanwhile Barry Flynt has bought his son a six foot long python…
A darkly funny short with vivid animation.
Rosemary Jane | Carolina Petro | 17 mins
Best of British Award
63 year old Rosemary lives alone after the death of her husband and is plagued by insomnia. In an effort to break out of her depression she heads out to the streets with a bold idea to lift her spirits: to smoke marijuana.
Stardust | Mischa Rozema | 4 mins Music Video Award
Set to the song Helio by Ruben Samama this stunning short follows the Voyager 1 probe, the furthest man-made object from the sun, and witness to incredible sights. Rozema’s short imagines what Voyager may discover in the future, a cacophony of colour, stars and disintegrating planets. Sublime.
The BFFS National Conference is over and what a fantastic weekend it was! As a follow-up to last week’s post about the films we were screening at the conference I’m going to take a quick look at: why we screened the films we did; what the reactions to the films were, and booking information for those who want to screen the titles in their venue.
How we pick the films
The films screened at the National Conference are selected to serve several purposes. On the one hand we try to preview forthcoming titles that gives community cinema programmers the opportunity to preview titles ahead of release to help with programming. We also try to highlight Booking Scheme titles – this isn’t a strict rule but for the most part we will usually screen a majority of our own titles.
Then there is the consideration of supporting the film with extra content – this might be a Q&A or a discussion – and we always provide programme notes for each film that includes detailed information about the film as well as words from the filmmakers talking about the making of the film.
Finally we try to pick films that we know are suited to the community sector and which could be overlooked otherwise. So you can always expect documentaries, independent and international cinema as well as short films.
So how did we pick this year’s titles? (click the links to view our programme notes)
Blackfish – Certainly one the year’s best documentaries, Blackfish is a devastating piece of work exposing the the inherent cruelty of keeping killer whales in captivity. It has a tremendous impact raising awareness of these animals’ plights and in engaging viewers to reconsider their views towards places like Seaworld. It has also sparked a wide debate and has seen rebuttals from Seaworld following its release, all of which have benn challenged by the filmmakers.
We were joined for this screening by Patrick Hurley, Distribution Manager at Dogwoof, for a Q&A about the reactions to the film from Seaworld, campaigning organisations and even Pixar, who have altered the plot of the forthcoming Finding Nemo sequel as a result of Blackfish.
Gloria – Gloria is the latest film to be released by Network Releasing, one of our partner distributors, and like No and Out in the Dark before it Network Releasing have made the film available to BFFS Members and Associates as part of an early release window. The screening thus helped allowed us to take advantage of this opportunity and promote it to the membership. The film was also introduced by Jaq Chell, BFFS Operations Manager.
Jaq talked about the legacy of No which we screened as a ‘secret film’ at last year’s conference. No was a huge success for BFFS and has accumulated the most bookings for any BFFS Booking Scheme title. A hugely important film that we were thrilled to help get this film seen by new audiences. Likewise, Jaq explained the importance of Gloria both as Chilean film taking a look at contemporary life in the capital Santiago and as a film anchored around a strong female character, richly detailed and stunningly performed. The lack of strong female characters in mainstream film is well noted but Jaq reinforced the fact with a statistic that only 11% of characters in major films last year were female. It is vital then that films that do focus on independent and unique female characters are seen and that is one of the things that really drew us to Gloria.
Like Father, Like Son– Following the success of I Wish, the most recent film from Hirokazu Kore-eda, we were excited to be able to preview another of his films to delegates. Kore-eda is one of the most consistent directors who has created a string of rich, powerful and human dramas – usually centred around the theme of family. His latest is a delightful and warm-hearted drama that has been picking up buzz since it premièred at Canned Film Festival and won the admiration of Steven Spielberg and the rest of the jury.
We were fortunate to be able to get Alexander Jacoby, a lecturer in contemporary Japanese cinema at Oxford Brookes University to give a talk covering Kore-eda’s career, comparisons with legendary filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu and Kore-eda’s perception of the modern Japanese family. In contemporary Japan families usually only have one child and there is a risk of children being withdrawn due to a lack of social interaction – apart from through technology. Kore-eda’s films, although focused on the same themes and utilising similar motifs and reference points as Ozu’s, offer their own perspective and a rejection of nostalgic perceptions of the past. Jacoby also discussed how Like Father, Like Son examines the nature of family relationships and argues that blood ties as the traditional basis of a family unit is not as important as the relationships that we build up.
The Artist and the Model – The latest film from Oscar-winning director Fernando Trueba, The Artist and the Model is a brand new release from Axiom Films and is a moving portrait of an aging sculptor drawn reinvigorated by his love of art when a fugitive from the Spanish Civil War takes refuge in his studio. It is a film that covers the great themes of life – art, love, death. It is centred on a tremendous performance from the great Jean Rochefort.
Following the film BFFS volunteer and Film Unit Acting Chair Gemma Bird led a lively discussion about the film which debated: whether the sexual content was at odds with the rest of the film; whether or not the war should have played a bigger part in the film, or if the concentration on art was more relevant; the cinematography of the film; and the nature of the characters.
We screened five of the short films included in this collection which covered an astonishing mix of styles and subject including stop-motion animatio in the form of the Oscar nominated Head over Heels, political satire in On This Island and a darkly humorous Icelandic short about a family evicted from their house and forced to live in a box on the roof of a tower block in When Rabbits Fly.
For all the films screened at the National Conference we take a reaction score from the audience. We take a rating from A – E and then workout an overall percentage by scoring each rating. These are the reaction scores for this weekends films:
Blackfish – 88.6% Encounters Short Films – 66.6% Gloria – 69.7% Like Father, Like Son – 88.6%
The Artist and the Model – 72.3%
All of the films received great scores with Blackfish and Like Father, Like Son sharing the highest score. The scoring categories are:
B- Very Good
D – Average
How to screen the films
If you are interested in screening any of these titles the booking information follows:
We’re all hands on deck getting prepared for the BFFS National Conference and Film Society of the Year Awards which unfortunately means I’ve been neglecting the blog a little, so in light of that, here’s a rundown of the new titles on the scheme, and a look at the films you’ll be able to preview at the National Conference. Continue reading →
In a new regular feature I’ll be taking a look at the cinematic output of different countries – looking at the history of their film industry, notable films and film-makers and what titles the Booking Scheme has to offer. Please feel free to make use of this blog, and the others in the series, as programme notes to supplement your screenings. To make this easier a pdf version can be found here. Rather than just concentrating on a single title it can be worthwhile to give your audience an idea of the wider context in which a film exists. Whether you’re programming a season of Argentinian cinema or just a single film I hope this brief overview is both informative and interesting.
History of Film Industry
Much of the early period cinema is lost or forgotten due to poor archiving and preservation, natural and political disasters, and economic and social upheaval. As a result few films remain, but it is certain that Argentina was one of the first countries in Latin America to enter film production. Film-making really took off in the 1930’s, when sound arrived and cinema embraced tango dancing. Genuine film stars arrived such as Tito Lusiardo and Amelia Bence.
The first notable film historian was Domingo Di Núbila, who, in the 1960s, produced a highly detailed account of Argentine film production since its beginnings. Núbila was something of a nationalist and celebrated those films which were unmistakably Argentinian and bemoaned the influence of Hollywood. He therefore highlights the “derailment” of Argentine cinema in the early 1940s when US influences triggered a move away from cinema inspired by Argentine culture and towards commercialisation and an imitation of Hollywood’s production system. Further, political embargoes on shipments of film stock led to Argentina’s production declining.
However compared to other Latin American countries like Chile, Argentina had a much larger and well-established film industry by the middle of the 20th century and there was a significant boon in the 60s when film began to be used as a form of social and political expression. However this politicisation of films led to a rejection of the film-making that preceded it, which again detracted from preservation and appreciation of early period cinema. Further this resurgence of cultural and socially motivated cinema didn’t last long. By the 70s political changes drove such films underground and groups such as Cine Liberación risked government repression to make films like El Familiar, an allegorical feature about Latin America’s destiny. By 1976 the disappearance of three film-makers, Gleyzer, Pablo Szir and Enrique Juarez, meant that cinema softened its approach and concentrated on light-hearted topics that would not draw the ire of the censor, and government repression.
Again Argentina’s turbulent political life went through another drastic change in 1983 with the arrival of democracy. As in many other countries the decline of a repressive regime led to new forms of cultural expression, and the slapstick comedy of the late 70s was swiftly replaced by films that took a serious look at the military junta’s campaign of repression, torture and disappearances. This new wave of Argentine cinema continued into the 1990s during which notable films addressed poverty and living conditions and existential angst was evident in many films. Film was being used to ask questions about Argentina’s past in films such as Eduardo Calcagno’s controversial El Censor, a biopic of Paulina Tato a film censor from the 70s, and Marco Bechis’ Garage Olimpo which showed the torture that political dissidents, including the director, were subject to.
This last decade is perhaps most notable for Argentine films breaking out internationally. Nine Queens was phenomenally successful both in Argentina and amongst western film critics; while The Secret In Their Eyes was a surprise Oscar winner in 2009, marking only the second time Argentina had won an Oscar. In 2012 President Kirchner signed a series of decrees that finally categorized film as a cultural industry, allowing the industry to benefit from state funding and tax regulations and was explicitly announced in order to “ensure that Argentine film productions are able to compete in the local market and project themselves abroad”.
Notable films, film-makers and stars (a very short list)
Amalia (1914) – Argentina’s first feature length film, this adaptation of José Mármol’s novel of the same name is notable not just for being the first full length production, but also because it is the first film to address a subject matter than Argentinian cinema returns to frequently: life under dictatorship. Mármol’s novel, adapted by Eugenio Py (a Frenchman acknowledged as the pioneer of film-making in Argentina), was a semi-autobiographical attack on the government of Juan Manuel de Rosas. The film is viewable, albeit untranslated on Youtube.
Mario Soffici – Starting out as an actor in 1931 Soffici soon made the move behind the camera, immediately attracting praise for The Soul of the Accordion (1935). He directed over 40 films throughout his career, several of which were regarded as great films in their time. Prisioneros de la tierra (1939) was his first socially minded work, and was awarded Film of the year by the Municipality of Buenos Aires. His film Rosaura at 10 O’Clock (1958) was an adaptation of the popular novel by Marco Denevi and was Soffici’s third and final entry into the Cannes Film Festival.
Alias Gardelito (1961) – An example of the ‘new cinema’ that arose in the 50s and 60s this drama charts the struggle of Toribio to live an honest life in the face of extreme poverty. The title refers to the Argentine singer Carlos Gardel, whom Toribio idolises and whose career he wants to emulate. Yet Toribio’s big break doesn’t arrive and he falls further and further into a life of crime. The film concentrates on the effect that poverty has on the psychology of its characters.
The Official Story (1985) – One of Argentina’s most successful films The Official Story played at numerous festivals including Cannes, Toronto and Berlin and was an award winner both in Argentina and at the Academy Awards. An upper-middle class family in Buenos Aires have illegally adopted a girl, Gaby. Alicia begins to wonder what happened to Gaby’s parents when a friend returns from exile and tells her about the disappearances. Gradually Alicia is forced to confront our own ignorance of her country’s crimes and her husband’s complicity with the regime.
Ricardo Darin – Unquestionably Argentina’s biggest star at the moment, Darin has starred in many notable films including the aforementioned Nine Queens (2000)and The Secret in Their Eyes (2009), as well as The Lighthouse (1998)and White Elephant (2012). He has been consistently praised for his versatility as an actor and was awarded the Diamond Konex Award in 2011 as the most important Entertainment personality of the last decade. Due to his growing international profile Darin is to many the face of Argentinian cinema.
Argentinian films on the BFFS Booking Scheme
Here’s a look at just a few of the available titles – we’ve also got The Official Story, Carancho, Born and Bred and many more.
Lion’s Den (2008) – Pablo Trapero is establishing himself as one of Argentina’s most exciting directors with films such as Born and Bred (2006)and Carancho (2010) showing his versatility. Lion’s Den sees him tackle another genre – prison drama, in this case with an off-the-beaten-track twist. Julia, a 25-year old student is (perhaps wrongfully) convicted of murder and is imprisoned. While the film deals with issues of her crime, her possible guilt and ideas of justice and atonement, its concentration is on Julia’s struggle to control the upbringing of her young son, who is born in prison.
La Antena (2007) – A surreal homage to silent cinema, this beautiful animation tells the tale of an Argentinian city ruled over by Mr TV. In this land no one can speak as their voices have been stolen by the dictatorial Mr TV; written words float out of their mouths instead. But a mysterious singer, The Voice, has retained the power of speech .When she is kidnapped by Mr TV, an engineer, The Inventor, discovers Mr TV has more disturbing plans in place.
The Peddler (2010) – A delightful and engaging documentary sees the directors following DIY film-maker Daniel Burmeister who turns up at a remote Argentinian village with a bunch of ready to go film scripts and asks permission to make a film there, using the villages as cast and crew. The documentary is a charming insight into both the creative process and the power of film to bring communities together.
Growing up in Baltimore in the 70s, Kevin Clash adored making puppets and giving shows locally. Picked up first by a local TV station, he later started working for the Jim Henson troupe, eventually becoming the creator of the character of Elmo on Sesame Street. This documentary is a delightful and uplifting account of one person following their passion, and will appeal to anyone who has loved the Muppets, Big Bird, Cookie Monster and any of the Henson creations. It’s not a film for very small children, since it has too many talking heads (not the rubber ones), but probably anyone over about twelve who has seen Sesame Street or is interested in how the shows are created will love this film. I thought it was fabulous.
About to start her retreat before taking her vows, Avril is a novice who has lived her entire life in the convent. Discovering she has a brother, she goes off on a search to find him, making her much more aware about the world outside. This is a charming French drama which is very easy on the eye; a good part of it is set in the Camargue, with good performances from the young actors. Avril also features Miou-Miou as one of the nuns, and one could imagine this film working well within a French strand or weekend. It’s not at all challenging and a bit implausible, but pleasant enough and none the worse for that.
Fear and Trembling
After a childhood in Japan, Amélie (Sylvie Testud (Lourdes)) moves back to Tokyo and lands a job at a big corporation. Here she finds that corporate life has some unexpected dimensions. In this tale of a clash of cultures, director Alain Corneau (Tous les Matins du Monde) gives us a (very) gentle comedy of manners as Amélie gets a series of dead-end jobs. Sylvie Testud’s performance won her a César and Prix Lumière in 2004.
Still wonderful to look at, with its beautiful cinematography, visual design, jump cuts and light, Bertolucci’s unpicking of Italy’s Fascist past remains a transfixing film. Jean-Louis Trintignant plays Marcello Clerici, uneasy with his own identity, caught between political and sexual norms and expectations, and complicit in the murder of his old professor.
Absolutely entrancing and evocative black and white rotoscoped film set in the Czech woods and Prague from the end of the war until the election of Vaclav Havel. Alois Nebel works at the station on the border in the Sudetenland, and is haunted by the past. Winner of the European Film Academy Animated Feature Film award, and has just had a great review in Sight and Sound (May 2013).