Report by Juan David Gonzalez Monroy (ORO PARECE)
The 14th Festival of Different and Experimental Film took place from the 12 to the 16 of December in Paris. It is a worthwhile stop for experimental and underground filmmakers looking to get to know the independent film scene in France. While we were there we got to see a number of French films that are rarely shown in Germany. We also got to know many of the local filmmakers and see their films. This was especially fruitful since the festival is not so big and held in only one venue. There was one theater and next to it a bar where all the filmmakers and audience members gathered after the screenings to discuss what they had seen.
The festival is organized by the Collectif Jeune Cinema, an association of filmmakers and artists that are interested in supporting the development of artistic practices in film and video. Therefore the festival is very friendly to filmmakers and it doesn't have intrusions from advertisers or sponsors and you are left to enjoy and discuss the films. After each screening there were lively discussions about the films, and because many of the filmmakers were there, audience members were able to ask them directly about their work.
Discussions about the films in general were given particular importance at the festival. The catalog contained essays on many of the films and every day a short magazine was put out with interviews with the filmmakers where they delved into their artistic backgrounds, ideas and methods.
Aside from the festival screenings we took part in two side activities that were, for us, quite interesting. The festival organized two visits to two independently- run film labs in Paris, L'Abominable and L'Etna. In Berlin, we’re members of LaborBerlin, the local independent film lab. As members of the lab we are part of a network of labs that includes both L'Abominable and L'Etna as well as more than 20 other labs that are trying to preserve the use of celluloid as a viable format for filmmaking. Visiting their labs we were able to take a close look at their infrastructure and discuss ways in which we can further collaborate to insure the future of film. Other filmmakers visiting the festival, especially some from the US, who also work with film, were also able to get to know the film labs and our network.
The only minor criticisms we could give are that attendance was not particularly high which we had expected from a large city like Paris. Also the festival was not able to cover the travel and accommodation expenses during our stay. However thanks to the support from German Films we were still able to travel to the festival and participate.
In all, the festival is a good stop for filmmakers that are interested in learning more about the French experimental film scene and in alternative methods of producing and distributing independent film.