It all started at 10am Wednesday March 26 with the Film Fund Competition (with around 15.000$ awards to be distributed) in the Camelot Theatres, the main venue for the festival. Moderated by Teddy Gruyoa, festival director, 12 projects were presented in a way that is pretty much different from the usual European way. Where ”we” give the pitchers 7 minutes of presentation (talk and trailer of maximum 3,5 minutes) the pitch here starts with 5 minutes of trailer/teaser/visuals, whatever you will call it, followed by another 5 minutes of questions from professionals in the audience. This year there were critic Neil Young (Hollywood Reporter), university professor John Osborne who after retirement is involved in several productions and has helped with the selection of films for this year’s Amdoc program, Joel Douglas (son of Kirk and Michael’s brother of ”One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”), Adam Montgomery from the Sundance Festival – and me.
The format is interesting and raises the question, whether ”we” should change our European format. There is something challenging in the fact that the importance is put to the visuals – and to be rude as commentator you can see from the material who can make films and who not, or who is stuck in the television world. In other words, don’t talk about it, show it, could be the headline for this kind of pitch. Is there too much talking at European pitches?
Overall the projects presented were issue-born: child pornography, hunting/poaching of lions in Africa, the life of Iraqi interpreters after the soldiers have left the country, constitutional rights to unborn children, seriously handicapped war veterans lives to be helped… but also a fresh look at the phenomenon of burlesque, a ballet dancer who is injured will he be able to make a comeback?, a gay rights activist, charismatic Ray Hill and one that stood out cinematically (for my European eyes) because it had no interviews and no wall-to-wall music, the ”Pow Wow” (photo), a local production.
The winners of the Film Fund competition will be announced at the closing night ceremony this coming monday.