Indie Lisboa ran 3rd-14th May this year, taking over the beautiful city with an exciting programme of shorts, features and special events. I was lucky enough to be invited to the festival, and was asked to participate in a discussion, titled 'The Future of Short Film'. Our two-hour discussion was held in the stunning Art Deco Cinema Sao Jorge and was hosted by Festival Co-Director Miguel Valverde. My panel co-conspirators were Maike Mia Höhne (Berlinale Shorts Programmer), Wouter Jansen (Some Shorts Festival), Nuno Rodrigues (Curtas Vila do Conde, Galeria Solar), a combination that worked particularly well, perhaps due to our range of backgrounds, areas of expertise and approaches.
Across our two hour session we focused our thoughts upon the unique advantages of working in the short-form and ways in which the medium can be engaged as a radical expression of independence and artistic intent. We spent time discussing the creative act of curation, and the exciting ways in which the sequential arrangement of shorts creates a space where a film speaks both independently, and in striking dialogue with the other works.
Conversation inevitably moved onto the role of film festivals in a digital age. It seemed useful to re-frame this question in relation to what it is that festivals ca uniquely offer: a communal space in which to see and engage in discourse around work with other audience members and the filmmakers themselves. Not to mention the opportunity to see programmes of short films from all corners of the globe, organised in carefully considered chapters that surprise and inspire. Viva film festivals!
Official responsibilities completed, I was free to immerse myself in Indie’s brilliant and varied programme. I was particularly pleased to learn about a retrospective of New York Filmmaker Jem Cohen, and it was a joy to rediscover the bittersweet ‘Benjamin Smoke’ on the big screen (screened at EIFF back in 2000), and to catch his affectionate and lively portrait of Washington DC Punk band Fugazi, ‘Instrument’. I was also pleased to have the opportunity to visit Lisbon’s famous Cinemateca, to see one of my favourite films, a beautiful 35mm print of Robert Bresson’s ‘Les Dames Du Bois de Boulogne’. A stinging tale of jealousy and revenge, brilliantly scripted by the great Jean Cocteau.
All in all, my time at the festival passed way too quickly, but luckily I have our own festival to look forward to for my next fix of amazing world cinema!