EWFF: week 5

The week before our study trip to Paris. The excitement and fervour grow, but not in the festival’s favour. With all the tasks done for Communications, I decided to take advantage of this opportunity and “bond” with my new team. I had previously spoken to the manager of the Social Media team, and she added me to their Wechat group.

Last Thursday before Paris, we had a meeting because Social Media had a plan, and I wanted to be part of it. The group seems to be communicating very well, and are prompt for their meetings. With all the behind the scenes filming and preparing, and with all teams already in their places and with a plan (hopefully), it seemed a great idea to give our Facebook followers a glimpse of what we are doing in the form of  a short 1-2 minute video of different group members presenting their team and their work… and of course promoting the festival. We started with a member of the Creatives. We struggled a bit to find the perfect place to film it, stopped more than a few students to pass, filmed it a couple of times, but finally succeeded. With everyone so busy with deadlines and packing, it was pretty hard to find available members, and as I am a part of Communications as well, I used this advantage (if more work could be called an advantage) to do the mini-interview as a representant o Communication.

Social Media’s manager is now to get the approval from the head of Social Media, East Winds co-director, Andreea Dascalu, and then release the videos on the world wide web, well actually here: https://www.facebook.com/EastWindsFilmFestival/?ref=br_rs

During the next week, we are planning to film the presentation videos with the rest of the teams and to have them done before the study leave.

We watched the first film, a horror from Thailand, but it’s still a secret so shh… We (as in Communications we)will probably have to review it at some point and I am looking forward to that.

EWFF: week 4

Tasks for the week:

  • press release about the partnership between East Winds Film Festival and The Mocking Bird Cinema
  • interview with the cinema’s manager.

P.S. none of the tasks was my direct responsibility, so my week went smoothly

This year, for the first time, East Winds Film Festival is expanding to Birmingham, so of course, we had to be there when the first film was screen under our name.

Akira, at the Mocking Bird Cinema, on 22th of March! And now that the partnership has been officially announced, other films under East Winds name will follow during the festival.

I must admit, which probably comes as no surprise, that I’m not the biggest fan of animes either, so I took Akira as an experience, Oddly enough I enjoyed it, not to mention that it remain in my memory for a few days after the screening. Being still under the spell of Shinya Tsukamoto’s films, I couldn’t help to ask myself if there is any relation whatsoever between the character Tetsuo from Akira, whose arm, lost in a fight, is reconstructed from metal bits and pieces and the “Tetsuo” in Tetsuo: The Iron Man. It is only a few years difference between them, the films coming later, and I could guess that Akira had quite an impact after its release. But I we will never know… at least not without asking Shinya Tsukamoto himself, which would probably prove to be quite difficult to achieve.

Regarding the Social Media team, I just continued to follow and like all the posts which went out on different social media platforms.

The Ontology of the Photographic Image, André Bazin; Hugh Gray

  • plastic arts – the practice to embalming the dead = fundamental factor in their creation
  • The evolution, side by side, of art and civilization has relieved the plastic arts of their magic role
  • No one believes any longer in the ontological identity of model and image, but all are agreed that the image helps us to remember the subject and to preserve him from a second spiritual death

Continue reading “The Ontology of the Photographic Image, André Bazin; Hugh Gray”

EWFF: week 3

After the thrills and sparks of the last week, this one went calmly and undisturbed by deadlines or tasks, making this post seem almost pointless.

I had nothing to write, not that I complain, but I was starting to find “my rhythm” and now I’ll have to do it all over again. I had time to get used with the Social Media platforms, how they work, the calendar, with the tone and style of the posts, in this short break from Communications, which was more than welcome, as I already have a slow start in the new team. I had time to watch a few more Asian films, mostly for pleasure… but for research purposes as well (or so I like to say). Except for Akira Kurosawa, I had almost no knowledge about Asian cinema, but now that I am a part of an Asian film festival, this has to change, and it has to change fast.

Another thing going on, was the Magazine Show, for which all the teams have to contribute. We have been confronted with a few issues regarding the magazine show, but things seemed to go well until Friday. Due to some health problems, our manager could not do the interview for the magazine show… so, unfortunately, I had to step in. I would pretty much do anything to avoid cameras, public speaking, and speaking in front of a camera… but as I was already there and the interview had to be done… I talked about what we have been doing so far, the articles we have written, about the team members and our duties, I laughed a bit, felt awkward for a few minutes and it was done. I guess it could have been worse.

Proof here:

 – not exactly the best photo in my portfolio, but we all have those days

#Beings (2015), a film by Andrei Stefanescu

Some films you follow, some films follow you. #Beings can easily fall in the second category of films which end up by following you for a while after watching it. It’s neither beautiful nor narrative. It is not everybody’s cup of tea; for some might be a whole kettle, while for others less than a cup. It might actually not even be a cup of tea. A dark atmospheric underground no-budget production, which proves once again that a film is more than polished visuals, special effects, and Hollywood stars, it is firstly a feeling, an experience, meaning exactly what lingers when narrative is erased from memory and images fade into colours.

Starting from a Eva, the film brings together a tormented love triangle, struggling with their own inner beings in an amalgam of guilt, love, lust, grief, loneliness, friendship, madness and absurdity which contours the human existence. Looking for and banishing each other at the same time, while looking for themselves, every character falls into its own interior world, trying to hide and escape their own anxieties. There is an uneasiness, a claustrophobic feeling of suffocation, an impossibility of breaking free. The film attracts its viewers and estranges them at the same time and with the same means. An hour of slow drowning, of diving into the most obscure and meaningless fears, an hour of industrial sound followed by crushing silence, which takes its passive viewers from Marie Claire to the desolate outskirts of Berlin.

Eva (Doro Hohn), Teo (Cătălin Jugravu), Ana (Andrea Christina Furrer) are just names in a hurricane of desperation and helplessness, each one enduring the guilt of the others’ suffering. No reason, no logic, no desire of going back to a once lost normality, probably; and love is not the solution as it usually is in a cliché of a world, but the trigger of irrationality itself. As I consider Andrzej Zulawski’s Cosmos (2015) to have a world of its own, which does not wait to be deciphered by its viewers, so does #Beings; the film does not try to explain itself, and it does not need to. The characters live in their own world, a world with no map, no directions.

#Beings gives no glimpses of a so-called normality, no light, no warmth, and once you start watching it you find yourself caught in a foggy loop as strange as it is familiar, through the clew of emotions and expressions it depicts, and which are nevertheless deeply and indisputable human. A poem of greyish images, the 53 minutes are a route from tense trepidation to quiet stillness. All the quick shots in the beginning, the long takes of the human body, Ana’s burdened gaze, and Eva’s cries for help melt into the static image of the sun setting over the industrial remains of something which was long forgotten.

For more info and insides link here: http://qualiafilm.com/blog/category/beings/

EWFF: week 2

After the changes last week, a meeting with our new members was necessary. We already had a google doc for everyone in the team to follow and see the briefs and deadlines, but with no new briefs, we didn’t have much to discuss in our meeting.

I offered to do one of the briefs left uncovered after the member migration and soon regretted it, because of the extremely busy week awaiting us, but hey, there are always enough nights in 3 days to write an article, right? So, I managed to write the article on the  Thai GDH film company, on the last night. I have never been interested in Thai cinema, mostly because I never had any contact with it, so when I started writing I did feel I was stepping on a shaking ground. Based on the research done by Sherry and some of my own research on the newly formed company, the article was written in time for our editor to polish it (and add all the commas I always miss no matter the language I write in) and send it before the deadline.

With this came a new big change. Remember when I was thinking of changing ships? Well, be careful what you wish, it might just come true… I was asked to join the Social Media team and work closely with the festival’s co-director, a fellow Romanian. I hesitated… I hesitated a lot. I was just not sure that writing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts could be my thing, I was actually pretty sure it wasn’t, and I wanted to keep writing articles, film reviews, film synopsises, and other things which I could only do by being a part of Communications. But I accepted in the end and joined the Social Media, without leaving the Communication team. Double work, double pressure, double trouble and double gratification.

I attended a manager meeting on Thursday, and a had a new team meeting on Friday to set up roles for each member.

Also, after presenting each of our teams in front of all the students on the MA, there were a few student interested in joining our team so Communications is waiting forward to that.

A colourful mess (or about intimacy)

Intimacy. My space, your space. Private life, intimate relationships, secrets, comfort, security, alone time. Our lives are a constant negotiation between public and private, between intimacy and exposure. We all cry for our time, our space, our love, our intimacy, while still craving for attention, for someone, preferably more than someone to see and “like” our love, our space, our time, our clothes and friends, and that’s probably how the “cult” of food photos took over instagram.. Like little drama queens we wish to be seen, to be complimented, to be in the centre of attention. We masterfully manufacture our own image and then spread it on the internet in “no filter”, “no make-up”, “I woke up like this” photos, making it seem as we would live a wonderful life, the life that everybody desires to live, that is commercialised every day and with every possible means. It is the no-stress, heartbreak-free, stable and happy good life that we continuously try to highlight through our posts on social media. If we don’t have it, we can at least stage it. One only sees smiling faces in photos, people having fun, perfect make-up, tasty meals, hotel rooms and views taken out of dreams or artsy films, tickets to concerts or incredible gifts we just received for our birthdays. Some might be genuine, but most are not. Some might actually interest someone, maybe family, maybe some close friends, but most people don’t actually care what anybody else just had for lunch. And this is not because we are not interested in others’ intimacy, in others’ lives and personal spaces. Actually, if you ask me, voyeurism is a human feature. That’s why we go to films, that’s why we read others’ texts, diaries, and “overhear” conversations. It’s a guilty little pleasure. Knowing something that we are not supposed to know, seeing something that it is not for our eyes, hearing something which was whispered for someone else’s heart, violating others’ intimacy, while sheltering our own. It’s a “Dogville” kind of situation, we would wish for transparent walls, for the power of reading minds, but only for us, not for others as well. We would wish to be the witness of Dogville, not the actor. And most probably, once we would have those “powers”, we would get bored. This is exactly what happens when intimacy is willingly shared via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or other social platforms.

No one cares about your “private” shared life, the only one that matters is the hidden one, even though that “hidden” life is pretty much the same as everyone else’s. And this is exactly what I tried to capture in my first photographic project.

What I did in this photographic series was gathering small bits of my living environment. A series of personal mythologies, of small and unimportant things and aspects of my private life, which, as small ants building a complex anthill, are tiny bits and pieces that describe me as an individual. The way from my closet with all its skeletons, to my undone bed, the remains of a finished meal, my ugly little imaginary friends and the accessories used to shape my “outside” look,  all of these actually may have little to no appeal to anybody, not even to myself, because it is already something that I know so well, and this “I know them so well, that I don’t even bother to observe them anymore, just like the back of my hand” is what might just make them all the more intimate.

It does not feel like good life, even though it actually is: a room, a bed, food, clean clothes; it does not look beautiful., or better say flamboyant, bohemian or luxurious as the photos on Instagram usually look because these photographs were not taken with the purpose of gaining likes. It is mostly a pile of different random things, colourful things, but nothing more. Without the desire to stage “the good life”, these photos are just a colourful mess.

It’s something so personal, but at the same time so trivial, so random, so unimportant. This is so far from the intimacy we actually want to know in others, even though it is the exact thing I won’t normally make public on social media. We do not want filters, make-up, costumes, prefabricated backgrounds, we reject all mediated intimacies, searching for the raw one, searching for the “real” which in a Lacanian view has been lost forever once we started conforming to the unspoken rules of life. But when we do get close to someone else’s intimacy (if we exclude the reading of somebody else’s romantic texts, which is always “a feast”, thanks to all the commercial love we’re intoxicated with), we understand why no one actually shares “unmediated intimacy”. Because it’s common, it’s simple.

Following from the previous paragraph, I actually find the expression “unmediated intimacy” problematic in relation to my photographs and with any photograph, even with photographs which’s main purpose is to document. They are intimate, but certainly not unmediated, in the most literal sense of the word. The simple fact that the images are photographs (actually the simple fact that those are images and not the actual view) taken by me, from a certain angle, at a certain moment, and only of a certain conglomerate of different things is enough to challenge the “unmediated” statute of the series, but at the same time, the exact same factors, reinforce this statute, by showing something just as intimate as the things lying around in my room,  my own very personal view on my own “natural habitat”.

EWFF: week 1

Week one… or the beginning, or not really.

I have been a part of East Winds Film Festival for a few weeks already, but on this one special week, some changes have been made. New teams came into the picture, new tasks, new team members, new managers. This changes did not affect me much. From Journalism we became Communication and 3 more members joined us, but that was all. I just had to continue what I was already doing for the last weeks, meaning writing. However, there was a team which caught my attention. The Creative, and for a second I thought about changing ships, but then I remember that I might not be good at many things, but I’m pretty good at writing so I’d better stick to it, and so I did.

The change that did affect me in a way, was the weekly diary entry we have to write from now on. I was never ever good at keeping a diary, professional or unprofessional. I do my job, I meet the deadlines (usually) and give my best (most of the time), but I can’t keep track of what I am doing, so this diary might just be the most unpleasant thing about the whole festival.

But now, let’s get back to better things. What we did so far? We wrote a press release, which proved to be more challenging than we initially thought it would be. I never wrote a press release before, but after 5 hours of working on the first East Winds Film Festival 2017 press release, on a Friday morning-afternoon, with our manager, I can say that I’ve learnt a few things.

A Shinya Tsukamoto article was the second task, which I happily took on. I wanted to watch Tetsuo: The Iron Man for a long time, but never had the… guts to do it. Well, this was just the perfect occasion. I watched it, I liked it (and I don’t know how good of a sign this is) and I continued watching another 4 of his films, and still counting. A great director, with quite an identifiable style. I fell in love with his work, and I found myself fascinated by the director himself after reading and watching pretty much all of the English interviews I could find online + a few reviews of his films. And I could just write a whole new article here if I don’t stop now. I am rather pleased with the article, though at a new rereading I am sure to find at least 4 phrases “in need of change”.