Monday, 31 July 2017

The State of Things: Film Critics' day - Weekend in Bristol

Round up of the Weekend!

This weekend I was lucky enough to take part in The State of Things: Film Critics' day course at the Watershed in Bristol, which was part of the Cinema Rediscovered festival. It was a fantastic day, filled to the brim with amazing panels and was great to meet and listen to other film critics and film fans taking part in the course. My fellow participants can be found HERE.

We kicked off the day with a meet and greet and went in head first to see Sidney J. Furie’s The Entity, presented by The Final Girls. Based the book of the same name by Frank De Felitta, which in turn was based a real case in California is about Carla, single mother of three who is violently raped by an invisible attacker. She tries to get help from a psychiatrist who believes its all in her head. But as the attacks continue, in more violent ways, she seeks help from parapsychologists believing these attacks are supernatural. Before the feature we were immersed in to the short film, which used footage from The Entity, Outer Space by Peter Tscherkassky.

A fascinating and in depth discussion followed the screening as well as an intro to The Final Girls and why they do what they do. The participants were continually treated to further amazing guests throughout the day. Film/Culture journalists RebaMartin; and Zahra Dahlilah talked about film journalism and the importance of start-ups, sharing their experiences, which were mostly positive (which was very encouraging). Film critic and author Sophie Mayer along with film programmer and journalist Michael Pattison talked about writing long form pieces, writing for publications and specialist writing. Director and video essayist CharlieLyne talked about making video essays and the different ways to examine film. Finally we had festival programmer Sven de Hondt and the organiser of the course, film critic, programmer and broadcaster Tara Judah talk about the power of podcasting. 

I may have compact the day into the above paragraph but the amount of knowledge and advice that these collectives minds had to share was something I thought (no exaggerating here) I would never get to be a part of. It’s funny that this opportunity came up in Bristol. You would have thought other film hubs such as, well, you know, London might have thought about doing a course like this. 

A few topics came up throughout each panel, two being about paid work and specialising in a subject. The former was mentioned by every one of the panellists. They couldn’t stress enough how much that film critics should be paid for their work. Quite a few of my fellow participants contributed to websites, most likely unpaid, myself included. But the rule that some critics have is that if it is a no budget project or no one is getting paid for their work, its fair but this is the only time. This was enlightening and encouraging at the same time. With anything in the creative industries there is always a line about paid or unpaid work. You do unpaid work to get to the next step with pay, hopefully. But thinking ahead, I will be more careful in my choices. 

Being in a room where everyone cares about the future of film criticism was a dream. Although I was pretty quiet for the discussions (talking near the end) as I prefer to listen and absorb, it was great to hear from like minded film fans and writers as its always nice to know, you’re not a lone.

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