It looks gooood.
For her final project, Sarah Rice (2012-13) investigated archive and newsreels from the second world war. She created a live event which used the archive in an innovative, creative way mixing a scripted live performance with an installation of pre-edited archive and sound. She managed to perform this as part of the Edinburgh Fringe (only a couple of weeks before hand-in day) but having done such excellent work in advance of the performance the reflection on this particularly adventurous engagement with audiences served the whole submission very well. The great news is that the short film, subsequently produced, has been selected for the Imperial War Museum Film Festival. That’s just brilliant. Well done Sarah. She took the time to write to us to thank us for our help and the opportunities offered over the year and we are chuffed to bits:
Here’s a wee image I (Susan) took at the event – very short and nothing like the film itself.
Former FEC student Corey Boling (2010/11) has set up a remarkable organisation called Filmmakers Without Borders which sends educators abroad to teach filmmaking to underserved youth in Bhutan, Cambodia, Honduras, India, Kenya, Nepal, & Sierra Leone. They have just launched their first kickstarter campaign to build on the initial seed money which they began with. We look forward to hearing all about the projects. Perhaps future FEC students might be interested in collaborating on an exhibition of the work made!
What a treat the Hello Comrades! exhibition is. Two FEC students, Mengchen and Anastasia, have used the ‘red’ connection between their two countries (China and Russia, incase you hadn’t worked it out) to work collaboratively on a three-day event which launched today and continues tomorrow and Saturday. Room E24 in the Art College has been transformed into a sitting room all decorated with red memorabilia from China and the former Soviet Union. Anastasia explained she’d had to use a small statue of Stalin as a hammer during the get-in which seemed entirely appropriate. Thus the atmosphere and tone is successfully set. There is a great sense of fun in their approach which is refreshing and engaging. An extremely clever means of drawing folk in and creating a relationship of trust with the audience.
The layout of the exhibition is brilliantly imaginative and builds on the sense of fun and takes it into more complex territory. A waste bin in the centre is stuffed with the debris of Western living and a discarded screen shows the work, ‘Recycled’ by Thomas Sauvin (Sound Art by Zafka), China & France. The images in the film were sourced over a number of years from a recycling zone in the outskirts of Beijing. Lei Lei and Thomas scanned more than half a million 35mm color film negatives. Those negatives build up a portrait of the capital city and the life of her inhabitants over the last thirty years. Here, they selected 3000 photos to create the animation you can see in the bin. The film itself is also on vimeo but I recommend you go and see if first as displayed by the FEC students.
Above my head was another artwork, cleverly projected on the ceiling. The Collection of Photographies “Mirage” by Photographer Hui Yao won the prestigious Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize in 2012. Hui Yao’s boyhood years were… “spent during the early stages of China’s rapid economic development. I grew up in a small, under-developed and oppressive town near Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu Province in northwest China. These years were consumed by puzzlement. In China, every school child must be a member of the Young Pioneers of China. We were expected to accept a lofty communist education – “Always be prepared, to struggle for the cause of Communism!”I wore the red scarf with pride. The series “Mirage” is about re-exploring my boyhood years from the perspective of living in the West, with the aim of creating a brand new experience located somewhere between reality and fantasy. Recollecting the passing away of my boyhood and making up for all of my fantasies from that period of time. The reason for projecting.” The placing of this work on the ceiling may have been a ‘needs-must’ consideration but is quite brilliant when considering the whole.
Showing on a loop on the wall are two rather brilliant short films from China, neither which I’ve seen before and thoroughly recommend. The contrast between the two films makes the viewing experience all the more engaging and I am very impressed at how Mengchen and Anastasia have considered their audience. The drew me in and kept me amused, engaged and thinking. The two films are ‘Killing a Pig Without Mao’ by Zhen Qian Huang. A surreal experimental short film portrait of a young Chinese woman called Meiling, an activist of the Red Guards of Mao Zedong, who works in a slaughterhouse. And ‘Double Act,’ (Animation, 2013, Ding Shiwei, 4min37, China) described in the blurb as a fantastical space fully coloured with ideology, the gorgeous outerwear of modern industry shimmers, while society sleeps under a hypnotic utopian ideal. The hidden rules of politics keep disparate communities in isolation, and public indifference smothers burgeoning literary resistance.’ It’s rhythmic soundtrack beats out an industrial pace to the beautiful animation.
I sat on the comfy leather sofa after that, to relax and and enjoy one of the loveliest animations I’ve ever seen. Full of hope, simple joy and sensible humanity from a bygone age it tells a very different story of the former Soviet Union than using a Stalin statue as a hammer might suggest. The film is called ‘Three from Prostokvashino’ (Animation, 1978, Vladimir Popov, Soyuzmultfilm, 18.48, Soviet union). Based on the children’s book Uncle Fyodor, His Dog and His Cat (Дядя Фёдор, Пёс и Кот) by Eduard Uspensky,this animation tells the story about a six-year-old boy who is called Uncle Fyodor, because he is very serious. After his parents don’t let him keep Matroskin ,a talking cat, Uncle Fyodor leaves his home. With the dog, the three set up a home in the country, a village called “Buttermilk”.
The selection of material in the exhibition as a whole is intelligently and creatively considered and I recommend a visit.. I look forward to watching the remaining animations when I return but congratulations to team Hello Comrades! to a most excellent beginning.
There’s more information at https://www.facebook.com/events/513506045446267/?notif_t=plan_reminder
The first ever FEC awards at EIFF 2014 went off extremely well thanks to our colleagues at Napier, in particular Shian Holt, who organised the do, provided drink and space and created the perfect surroundings for some award giving. FEC students voted for their favourite film in each of the three programmes plus an overall winner. The awards went to:
Overall winning film: Miss Todd.
Winner Programme 1: Bear With Me
Winner Programme 2: Pink Out
Winner Programme 3: Lethe
Film Academy Screenings at the EIFF Day 2:
Another day, another wonderful programme, another appreciative audience, another well deserved set of congratulations.
Today’s event was again prefaced by Chris Fujiwara handing out props to the MSc FEC programme, to the innovative collaboration between student film-makers and student programmers, and to Susan for all her work in making this collaboration happen. Big thanks also to Screen Academy Scotland, London Film School, The National Film and Television School, and the EIFF for this fantastic opportunity.
Rebecca provided a lovely and warm introduction to the films, which really pulled out the themes of fragile individuals navigating fractured relationships. Your title (Pieces of You, a Bit of Us) was both nicely intriguing on first sight and, along with the clever programming, helped to guide audiences through these very different films.
And what a fantastic set of films they were. One audience member she said she was blown away by the quality of the film-making, so you really succeeded in showcasing the film-makers’ intentions and creativity to best advantage. Fascinating too that all but one films were made by women directors.
I hadn’t seen The Bicknell and, as with Pink Out, it proved a great start. The audience were audibly amused by it, interested by the form of 0.25, and made palpably anxious by Cocoons. On second sight I felt this really shone as the voice of a distinctive and maturing film-making talent. Lethe looked utterly stunning. It was clear that your thoughtful programming helped the audience trust your choices and to read the films. Thirteen Blue was another work which really worked in terms of your overall theme and your organisation of films.
Jane Sillars, Programme Director Film, Exhibition & Curation
A fantastic start to the Screen Academy Strand at the Edinburgh International Film Festival today. The first of three programmes curated by students of Film, Exhibition & Curation. Today’s programme, ‘Unspeakable Secrets’, worked particularly well, I thought, on how well the humour and contrasting other elements of reflection, allegory and real-world content played out. It was an engaging, entertaining and thought-provoking event. The audience thought so too – not only could I feel that their attention was fully captured when sitting amongst them, they expressed their enjoyment in real terms – by their applause. Well done to the film-makers and the programmers alike.
Thanks to EIFF and the the film academies (Screen Academy Scotland, London FIlm School, National Film School) for this fantastic opportunity.
Look out for the announcement of the first ever FEC Awards on June 27.
Programme Director, Film, Exhibition & Curation.
The EIFF launched its 2014 programme this week with a special strand curated by students of Film, Exhibition and Curation at the University of Edinburgh. Students created three short film programmes from the Creative Skillset Film Academies (Screen Academy Scotland, National Film & Television School, London Film School). These programmes showcase new talent in creative storytelling on a journey of self-discovery, finding their style and cinematic voice. After the final screening on June 27 students will give out the first ever FEC Awards.
Wednesday June 25 1600 FH2
The films in Unspeakable Secrets tell stories that are hidden behind the facades of normal life
Thursday June 26 1430 FH2
Pieces of Me, a Bit of Us offers six works that gently explore the fragile sensation of the “I” through different stories and unique perspectives.
Friday June 27 1330 FH2
The Heart of the Matter contains films that examine the comforts and challenges of life through various modes of filmmaking. 
Natalia Gonzalez Herrera (12/13) After graduating from FEC I got an internship in London at the cultural area of the Embassy of Mexico in the UK. I was there for three months working on the preparations for the activities that will be held in 2015, the year of Mexico in the UK and the UK in Mexico. A great professional experience after writing my master’s dissertation about the Mexican Film Industry and its impact abroad. I am now working in the production of a project called Papantla Brilla (Papantla Shines), in Papantla one of the venues of the Cumbre Tajín festival, celebrated in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The project consists of light art installations, crafted by local people, that will be placed throughout the town. Film production workshops will take place for visitors and locals, and the videos produced will be screened in the central square’s pavilion. This is the link for the festival: http://cumbretajin.com/2014/en/cumbre-tajin
Parissima Darabiha (11/12) as been been at the BFI for the past few months and tells us, ‘I got my foot in, working on the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (now known as BFI Flare) for a while. And now I’m back, working on their new releases. It’s just a temp job, but still, it’s quite exciting. And it wouldn’t have been possible without the two of you, and the amazing adventure that was the FEC course’.
Film, Exhibition and Curation student Yang Pei has programmed a season of films to be screened at the Edinburgh Film Guild on Sunday evenings through April and May. It looks fascinating. Chinese Cinema: A Broader View
Students of FEC are working with Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) director Chris Fujiwara and Screen Academy Scotland to curate three programmes of short films made by students at film academies in Edinburgh and London for this year’s festival. Viewing began yesterday and will continue for the next month so discussions are full steam ahead. The project represents an experiment in developing alternative models of exhibiting student film at EIFF and in creating new opportunities for students and for audiences. Screenings will be built around programming which explores new film-making through the creation of engaging audience experiences and the curated programmes will celebrate the distinctiveness of each film and enable audiences both to enjoy and to be stretched by different approaches to film-making.
Another very successful year at the Glasgow Film Festival. The CCA was mobbed, we had great audiences and everyone enjoyed themselves. Yahooo.
Here are links to the GFF photo galleries.
In 2011, students of Film, Exhibition & Curation worked with researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the Glasgow Film Festival to create a collaborative event exploring censorship in the former GDR. The event was called, ‘The Stasi Are Among Us’ and it is being submitted as part of the 2014 REF as it relates to the research of Dr Laura Bradley.
Congratulations! We are very proud of you all. Those here and those who couldn’t make it. Here’s the doffing:
We are busy working away with a wide range of collaborative partners for a day of events at the Glasgow Film Festival in 2014. Can’t give away too much at the moment but we can say the event will be called Nort Atkantik Drift, which may offer a clue. It’s a pleasure to be working with the festival again and we hope the day will be rich in ideas and thoroughly enjoyable. These events offer a rare opportunity for the students of Film, Exhibition and Curation to test the water before fully immersing themselves in their final projects later in the year. There’s a LOT to think about, and even more to do, but stretching those filmic muscles is one of life’s pleasures. We will keep you posted as the project develops. Last time there was some dressing up involved, as you can see.
Paulina Kowalczyk (2012/13): I wanted just to thank you one more time for all your help and time as in the end I got the internship at the MoMA’s Film Department (my dream). That was quite unexpected, but after dealing with few visa issues I managed to move to New York and joined the group of interns. It is amazing here – I have just arrived yesterday and started at the MoMA today. Hope it’s going to get even better.
It is really great that I got this chance to experience really different work environments (Secret Cinema and now MoMA). Thank you one more time!
Hara Vlachou (2011/12): Last month, as the production coordinator of Animasyros International Animation Festival, I produced a number of workshops and conferences. But I wanted to let you know about another fantastic experience as a participant on ‘Developing Your Festival’, a part of Motovun Film Festival. The 7-day workshop run by the Independent Cinem Office in the UK. It was really one of the best experiences of my life — after the 1 year master course in Edinburgh! I firmly believe every postgraduate of Msc Film, Exhibition and Curatorship must apply for this programme next year! ICO Training.
Cosima Amelang: In July, I headed down to Trinidad & Tobago to serve on a jury reviewing proposals for children’s content production on behalf of the Trinidad & Tobago Film Company. I had some great discussions with my fellow jurors, and learned an incredible amount about the local film and television industry – a fantastic experience overall. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the final outcomes of the proposals we chose, and hope to have the chance to bring these creative voices from the Caribbean back to U.S. on behalf of the Children’s Film Festival Seattle.
Maija Heitala: During my studies in the MSc. Film, Exhibition and Curation programme I added to my previous work experience in arts and film festivals by volunteering at Africa in Motion Film Festival and DocPoint Helsinki International Documentary Film Festival. While finishing up the course I worked as Guest Services Assistant at Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2012 which led to the position of Guest Coordinator at the festival this year. The Guest Services department at EIFF is an extremely hectic and fast-paced festival environment to work in with long hours but overall the job is very rewarding and a lot of fun! The best part of the job is working with like-minded amazing colleagues and meeting filmmakers and talent from all over the world as well as seeing the films in the programme. At the moment I have a job as Administrator at Screen Academy Scotland, working on their Screen NETS and Lo-fi projects which I am thoroughly enjoying while also working on the ‘New Cinema’ programme for the Edinburgh Film Guild, which is a series of films to be shown monthly at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh. The programme has yet to be announced in full but you can check out the website here: http://edinburghfilmguild.org.uk/wordpress/?page_id=1346
Students from Film, Exhibition and Curation worked with conference organisers to provide an extra dimension for attendees of Titles, Teasers and Trailers.
Not only did the conference itself go extremely well, the added extras from FEC really brought the break room to life, sparking conversation and engaging folk with a different experience between papers. The students’ contribution began with a poster campaign during innovative learning week in February, before coming together again in March to make moving image displays, hire and arrange lighting set ups and props (red carpet was particularly appreciated) thus adding a bit of va va voom to the whole.
Former Film, Exhibition & Curation student Heath Iverson has been invited to curate a series of films about environmental activism at this years Venice Biennale, which is very exciting. The project is in its initial stages, but we will post further details as we get them. But that’s not all Heath has been up to. He is still pursuing his PhD in film studies at St Andrews, where he’s researching experimental cinema and its connection to landscape and environmental issues. He’s teaching undergraduate modules in film theory and has presented papers at several conferences, including the recent event hosted by the Eurpean Network for Cinema Studies, where he gave a talk on ecological themes in contemporary British Artists cinema. Additionally, several of his own short films were screened at an event entitled ‘Dispatches from Abstract Currents’ (http://www.moma.org/explore/inside_out/2013/04/05/dispatches-from-abstract-currents) at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This summer, he will be working for 40 Frames, an archive and on going resource for 16mm filmmakers. (http://www.40frames.org/)
You go Heath!
Also, former student Corey Boling sent us a link to a video of the work he is involved with at Tribeca in New York. It looks like fun.
Hara Vlahou (Athens, Greece), a graduate from 2011/12 writes to tell us that she has been working as a production coordinator at the Animasyros International Animation Festival + Forum (www. animasyros.g ).
We are preparing the 6th edition of the festival as well as an Animasyros Openhouse Tour in other festivals in Greece and Cyprus. The festival includes animation film screenings, educational workshops for kids and adults, a professional forum as well as an international animation film market. Working in a film festival like Animasyros is what I really wanted to do in my life – work while having fun!
At the same time I participate voluntarily in other film festivalsin Greece, such as 15th Thessaloniki Documentary International Film Festival or RE- Culture 2: International Visual Arts Festival Patras. Also next week I start working in ARTION Co. as a production manager in order to organise and curate the conferences/seminars/cultural events or exhibitions the company is going to held next year.
Film, Exhibition & Curation student Paulina Kowalczyk reflects on a screening of the Tanovic classic in No Change in No Man’s Land (submitted Nov 2012)
In 1992, the main street of Sarayevo became infamously recognized as Sniper Alley. Along one of the most strategic boulevards in newly proclaimed Bosnia and Herzegovina, day-to-day life was replaced by day-to-day shootings. Territorial struggles, that took a place in Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and finally led to the breakup and an announcement of few different declarations of independence, were deeply rooted in the desire to constitute ethnically homogeneous states. National animosities and ethno-religious tensions resulted in a four-year long conflict between Bosnian Serbs and Bosnians, which destroyed a faith in freedom and separated the country into areas of different influences. The most mystery shrouded and at the same time dangerously unpredictable were those events that took place in no man’s land.
In 2001, Bosnian director Danis Tanovic decided to deal with the history of those areas of his homeland that were supposed to be left uncontrolled and remained independent. Consequently, he challenged the heroic ethos of war with his satirical point of view. That is why his directorial debut was able to do both – let viewers think and smile, as serious issues were presented with a proper sense of humor.
No Man’s Land starts with a significant opening scene that is able to interact with an audience and kept under pressure. It is not only the nervous feelings related to the strongly limited visibility in an open space with a really dense fog during nightime, but also the burden of war carried by soldiers which leads them into the unknown, both physically and psychologically.
Moreover, the film, indeed, provides viewers with a deep study of people‘s behaviour in extreme situations. The main characters – Bosnians and Bosnian Serbs soldiers – are enemies, but in No Man’s Land nothing is so obvious. They find themselves trapped in a trench, in a situation which clearly forces them to change attitudes, as the third of them is grounded by a land mine underneath him. How does it happen? According to the director’s vision, it is all because of war which affects human‘s behaviour to such an extent, that boredom and stress can be avoided only by the weird sense of humor. This is how Tanovic is able to confuse spectators – by changing their way of perception. He does not use the cliche of war brutality, but proves that unfamiliar situations modify people’s behaviour. As film goes on, cinephiles gradually forget about the heavy issues introduced by the movie due to the fact that they are presented in a light way. From my point of view, the first part of the movie seems to be an intimate, almost theatrical tragicomedy with a penchant for the absurd one. Tragic and comic elements are interacting with and completing each other. At some point, the main characters start an argument which is supposed to clarify who is more responsible for changing Bosnia into a theater of war. There is no answer, absurdity is on the surface.
However, the second part of the movie is even more, in my opinion, caricatural and full of stereotypes. As hopeless as the situation of soldiers is, it becomes an excuse to depict political mechanisms and the nature of mass media. The number of characters, or stereotypes, is increasing significantly and relatively. The French desire for using their own language, journalistic sensationalism, German punctuality and the helplessness of negotiators interact with bitter observation of indifference to the tragedy of war. The unoccupied land is crowded, but nothing could be more wrong than thinking that this is an opportunity to change anything. The director’s vision is sharp, full of distance – war is more about the individuality than collectiveness.
According to Andrew Higson, a national cinema is basically focused on identifying a few simple texts – based questions about locations, authors, consumption patterns and quality. Taking those points into consideration, No Man’s Land can be recognized as an example of national cinema. In one of the interviews given after an Oscar nomination for his movie, Danis Tanovic admitted that he tried to make a feature film adequate for his homeland’s history which would be able to familiarize cinemagoers with the nonsense of war. Regional differences, religious tensions and liberational struggles built the socio – political frame within which the drama took place.
The two parts of the movie describe different realities, that are trying to cooperate and co – exist together, but it’s simply impossible mostly due to the fact that the mentality differences are too deep. Consequently, the attempts to give a helpful hand failed. War is cramped, absolute and ruthless. This is how Tanovic illustrated his no man’s land. As a place where nobody is able to hide, individuals are visible and can be easily caught. Even though there is a crowd, change is not coming.
Film, Exhibition & Curation student Natalia Gonzalez writes about An ephemeral Third Cinema (Submitted Nov 2012)
“Third cinema is, in our opinion, the cinema that recognises in that struggle the most gigantic cultural, scientific, and artistic manifestation of our time, the great possibility of constructing a liberated personality with each people as the starting point – in a word, the decolonisation of culture.”
Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino
In Towards a Third Cinema, 1969
It has been more than forty years since the concept of Third Cinema was first defined. According to Argentinian filmmakers Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino, film productions should be divided into three mayor models based on the audiences’ response to the film, which also places these models in a social hierarchy. Mainstream movies (Hollywood productions) were catalogued as First cinema; the Second cinema includes auteur cinema and any independent films outside the Hollywood structure; and the Third cinema, movies made “by the people for the people”, sought to motivate audiences to get involved and be aware of social movements. These models triggered a series of discussions around the subject which continues today.
Third Cinema was born in Latin America, at a time where social instability in Third World countries led to a number of movements that inspired filmmakers to take part and document them, either as fiction or non-fiction. Although the manifesto shared the ideology with other countries around the world, its exhibition policies restricted films even more. With an attempt to reject a commercial goal, Third Cinema, cloistered itself, not allowing films to achieve an international audience, at least not as a main objective. The time and place where it was developed empowered it to stand out and to inspire those who supported the cause to take part on these social movements, but through the passing of years the term showed to be as controversial as the own Third Cinema films intended to be.
The Battle of Algiers (1966), by the Italian filmmaker Gillo Pontecorvo and The Hour of the Furnaces (1968) directed by Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino, are considered the most representative film productions of Third Cinema. The Battle of Algiers shows a struggling Algerian society against its government; eventually, people achieve its independence from France. The film was excluded from the First and Second categories, and was considered a Third cinema movie since It also coincided with a lot of social revolutions in America, where the idea of this Third Cinema was being developed. Although it is not strange that there are not so many examples available, besides The Hour of the Furnaces and some other productions, films were not consciously produced in order to belong to the movement.
The discrepancies around the term “Third Cinema”, I believe, are based on the fact that it does not suggest any artistic or innovative variation within the film production aesthetics. It, instead, tries to create support among countries that have suffered from the oppression from more powerful countries, same countries that still dominate the film industry and which not surprisingly, are the main authors of the discussions around the subject of Third Cinema.
Filmmakers and critics have always made an effort to divide films according to the ideology behind, its form, and its expected audience. In a way, this partition has sought to place films in a regional, political, economical and cultural context, which has worked out for a more comprehensive study of film history. Third Cinema theory produced uncertainty among film scholars, and although some of them, nowadays, assure the term is dead, continuous discussions around the subject have kept it very much alive.