Thursday, 10/18/2012

229 submissions

The members of the selection committee on this year's films

229 submissions Beatrice Behn, Theo Tsappos, Wiktoria Pelzer

Young directors from 72 film schools in 34 countries followed the slogan of this year's festival - GO FOR MUNICH - and submitted 229 films.

What films were then invited to the festival was decided by and independent committee of experts: Beatrice Behn, director of the Comedy Festival in Berlin, festival curator Wiktoria Pelzer of the Crossing Europe Film Festival in Linz and Theo Tsappos vomof the Swedish Film Institute.

We talked to them after the long decision making process.

What did you expect when you were asked to be in the selection committee?
Bea: I thought "Oh my God, 200 student films! That's great! And awful! At the same time!" And then I thought "Ok. Challenge accepted. Bring it on film, students of the world!" 
Wiktoria: I select films for several festivals over the year - so I was rather hoping then expecting - for a big range of film formats and topics, which, in the end, we got!

How many days / hours did you need to watch all the movies?
Theo: I think that it was about 60 hours of film all together. I screened about 4-5 titles every other evening, but most of the films during whole day sessions of about 8 hours.
Bea: I watched them all over a period of two weeks, usually in sessions of 5-7 hours. I don't recommend this method, though. It is only for the strong-minded.
Wiktoria: I think for me it was around two weeks of watching altogether - I started first with some randomly selected films - and then I did a two-week session of systematic watching.

Was it mostly fun or mostly 'horror'?
Theo: It was really nice to see all the films. There was such variety and I was really impressed that so many of them (almost all) were so well produced. To see so many films made by students was a great opportunity to discover new talent.
Wiktoria: I wouldn't describe it as horror - but there were some moments where I was really desperately waiting for something better to come...
Bea: Both. Fun in general, horror sometimes in the sense that a lot of films tackled harsh and dramatic subjects like rape, abuse, neglect, trauma, etc. I enjoyed watching such a broad spectrum of films from all over this planet. 

How do you pick the movies? What are your expectations?
Wiktoria: I think what I am always looking for is something innovative - of course it can just be a little twist in the story, a very strong character or the form is especially interesting. In the end the film must interest you so that you stay with it until the end - either it gets to you or it doesn't.
Bea: (1) Is the film made well technically? (2) Does the film arouse any interest or emotion within the first 5 minutes (they are shorts film after all.) (3) Is the film able to keep this interest up until the end? (4) Do I know what the film was about and how it was made two days after watching it? That was my basic modus operandi but of course just the surface. A film has to pass even more detailed examination like comparing it to others, its length (short films over 30 minutes are hard to curate within a short film compilation) etc.

Was it hard to reach a consensus?
Bea: Mostly it was not. Good films always have a way of standing out from the crowd. But then there were some films that needed a lot of discussion. These were usually the more controversial films that split their audiences into those who love them and those who hate them. But this is where selecting films is the most fun.
Theo: It was sometimes a bit hard since there were so many films that were really good and well produced. But the jury had good discussions that lead to a variety of excellent films. I'm really satisfied with the films we eventually agreed on.
Wiktoria: I think we reached good compromises through the jury discussions, it showed that we all were focused on showing a wide range of stories and approaches.

Looking back, would you want to do it again?
Theo: Of course! It gives me the opportunity to see a lot films by new and upcoming directors and it would be interesting to be a part of a jury again.
Wiktoria: I think I could do it again - as you always learn a lot from seeing this many films - you see what topics people are working on - tendencies in technique and innovations in form. I think it is very important to see what students in film school focus on - they are going to be the filmmakers of the future and I think it is important to encourage them to experiment and trust themselves.
Bea: Yes, sir!