Bericht von Bryn Chainey (MORITZ UND DER WALDSCHRAT)
I was very excited to receive an invitation to screen 'Moritz und der Waldschrat' in the European competition of the 28th Brest European Short Film Festival, an Oscar-qualifying festival and one of the most beloved in the continent. Thanks to the lovely folk at German Films I was able to attend, and I'm very glad that I did.
The festival has a clear passion for cinema: the making of it and especially the enjoying of it. They screened a consistently excellent selection of films, so the critics and film buffs among us felt satisfied, but what struck me was the size and energy of the audiences: Bretagne seems to be a region of cinephiles and I've never seen such a huge turn-out for a short film festival. The festival is housed within 'The Quartz', the city's cultural centre, with a converted theatre as the main screening room; this fit thousands of people inside and was often filled to capacity. Local students in particular took an interest in the festival – it was probably the youngest crowd I've seen at a film festival - and each screening was buzzing with excitement. The audiences were consistently generous with their enthusiasm and attentiveness, and it was a confirmation of how thrilling the film watching experience can be (something a short film maker needs reminding of more than anyone).
In contrast to its huge audiences, the festival had a decidedly personal approach to its accredited guests. Every day we were invited to eat, drink, and play ping pong together; and the festival director would personally lead the gaggle of visiting film makers to his favourite local bars. There was a large crew of volunteers to offer information and assistance whenever needed, and I was always treated with patience and given a smile.
It was definitely beneficial for my film that I was able to attend the festival, as it gave me the chance to field the many questions from the youth jury who eventually awarded Moritz und der Waldschrat a special mention in their competition category. After the festival, the youth jury (students from a local high school) sent me a collection of letters about the film. That's the best gift I ever got from a festival.
In addition to this, the local newspaper interviewed me and published a small article about the film entitled, “A Horror Film for Children.” Attending the festival were also programmers from other European film festivals, including Go Shorts who have subsequently invited one of my films to screen in their festival this year.
I'd recommend this festival to any film maker as a truly encouraging experience about the delight of cinema-going.