The 15th FEST - New Directors | New Films Festival organises its biggest industry programme ever
by Vassilis Economou
- By establishing the new Director’s Hub platform and reinforcing the successful Training Ground and Pitching Forum, the Portuguese festival is intensifying its focus on film professionals
Already well known for its highly tailored focus on industry and training events, the FEST — New Directors | New Films Festival (FEST – NDNFF) is gearing up for its 15th edition, which will run, as every year, in the coastal town of Espinho, Portugal, from 24 June-1 July. The major update to this edition is a clearly reinforced industry programme that should prove to be the gathering’s biggest to date.
Starting with the Director’s Hub, this is a platform that will be introduced for the first time this year. Running for two days, the hub will aim to connect professionals hailing from various different fields of the industry. According to the schedule, eight interactive sessions are being organised, where 20 guest speakers will share their own experiences on crucial topics, while also discussing them with fellow colleagues and the audience.
Some of the topics that have already been revealed include: a focus on contemporary issues that influence filmmaking; the challenges of international co-productions from a director’s point of view; an in-depth look at recurring themes that crop up for every new production, which will include sessions dedicated to finding the right script; analysing the challenges of the digital era and shifting society; and an extended discussion on the “Portuguese New Wave”, an era that served as a huge catalyst for the local film scene.
Also, proceedings will include two case studies on two movies and filmmakers that share no common ground whatsoever, and the speakers confirmed so far include Saudi Arabian women's rights advocate Shahad Ameen, who will present her debut feature, Scales, and who will talk about the struggles of developing a film in a country with little to no tradition of cinema – and doing so as a woman. On the other hand, Portuguese filmmaker Andre Gil Mata will present his second film, The Tree [+see also:
film profile] – shot in Bosnia after he was tutored by Béla Tarr – which portrays the burden of individual suffering in hypnotic fashion.
Of course, the well-established Training Ground will be raring to kick off another edition. With over 30 master classes and workshops led by acclaimed film professionals, held over six days, the programme will once again give filmmakers, other film professionals and students the chance to develop their skills and share their experiences.
Some of the confirmed guests are: Marjane Satrapi, graphic novelist and director of Persepolis [+see also:
interview: Marc-Antoine Robert
interview: Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Pa…
film profile]; Jonathan Morris, who edited Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake [+see also:
film profile] and The Wind that Shakes the Barley [+see also:
interview: Ken Loach
interview: Rebecca O’Brien
film profile]; Tony Grisoni, screenwriter on Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Man Who Killed Don Quixote [+see also:
interview: Terry Gilliam
film profile]; director Scandar Copti (Ajami [+see also:
film profile]); the sound crew from Bohemian Rhapsody [+see also:
film profile] (supervising music director John Warhurst, supervising dialogue/ADR editor Nina Hartstone, re-recording mixer Tim Cavagin); producer Paul Miller (Lone Star, Prozac Nation); and producer Gareth Wiley, who worked on Woody Allen's Scoop [+see also:
film profile] and Vicky Cristina Barcelona [+see also:
Finally, at the Pitching Forum, 28 upcoming film projects will be developed and pitched, while at the Industry Meetings, one-on-one sessions will be scheduled, and the events even include the Networking Dinners, where traditional Portuguese cuisine will help to connect professionals at the dinner table.
More industry events are set to be announced soon for the 15th FEST, and it should be noted that they will only be accessible for those with the FEST - Pro accreditation.
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