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Debbie McVey • Responsable du Galway Film Fair

“L’industrie, avec tout ce qui se passe dans le monde en ce moment, a eu un temps de pause qui lui permet de revoir ses priorités”


- Nous avons interviewé Debbie McVey, qui nous a parlé de l’édition numérique prévue cette année par le festival Galway Film Fair, du 8 au 12 juillet

Debbie McVey  • Responsable du Galway Film Fair

Cet article est disponible en anglais.

Cineuropa had the chance to interview Debbie McVey, manager of the Galway Film Fair (8-12 July), to discuss this year’s event, which is set to go fully digital (alongside the Galway Film Fleadh, which takes place from 7-12 July) owing to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Cineuropa: How did you work on the virtualisation of the Film Fair? What were the main challenges?
Debbie McVey:
In light of the current government guidelines and the ongoing effects of COVID-19, the Galway Film Fair will host the 2020 event as a reimagined online activity. Following the lead of our peers at other festivals like SXSW and CPH:DOX, the Galway Film Fair has taken steps to ensure that the online event can reflect the genuine one-to-one engagement between creative co-producers and financiers. The main challenge in realising the virtual event was to overcome the restrictions that a digital gathering presented and to maintain the essence of a busy and productive marketplace. There can never be a replacement for a lively and vibrant physical event, but the Galway Film Fair has developed a carefully constructed digital event that will continue to offer the industry an opportunity to come together.

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How will the digital marketplace work? Which industry players are you aiming to attract?
The digital marketplace will operate on the b.square platform, allowing industry decision makers and filmmakers to participate in one-on-one, pre-scheduled, online meetings. There will be market screenings made available to attendees on the Festival Scope platform, and the Fleadh Forum, panels and a series of industry interviews. We have built up strong relationships with key international industry partners over the past 24 years, and the response from our decision makers has been overwhelming in terms of their support for our online transition for 2020. We look forward to welcoming international financiers and sales agents, including representatives from XYZ Films, Film Constellation, Films Boutique, Carnaby International, TVCO, Picture Tree International, Ravenbanner and Cinetic Media. The meetings are also scheduled to take place on the b.square platform.

What about this year’s pitching competition?
In light of the current government restrictions on large gatherings, the Galway Film Fleadh Pitching Competition will take place as a virtual, online event and is now open for entries. Now in its 15th year, the competition has emphasised that good writing is still the backbone of the audiovisual sector and has provided many writers with an opportunity to get their foot in the door of the industry. The entry requirement is a 500-word written pitch from writers of any skill level. Any genre of feature-length drama, documentary or animation will be considered. Finalists will be selected to pitch their idea live, online, as an “Elevator Pitch” of 90 seconds to a virtual panel of industry judges and an audience. The winner will be announced at the online awards ceremony and will receive a cash prize of €3,000. In addition to the prize money and the opportunity to pitch to industry professionals, the real benefits of being selected are multi-faceted. Previous participants have cited: opening the door to producers, having their project optioned by producers, being invited on mentorships to hone their craft, bolstering their confidence and providing the first opportunity for them to win over an audience. As for the winner, the prize can allow them the time to develop and expand their pitch into a full feature-film script. The deadline for entries to the pitching competition is 18 June, and you can get further information here.

What form will the Fleadh Forum take?
The Fleadh Forum will take place this year as an online webinar presented by the Galway Film Fair and the WRAP Fund, supported by Screen Ireland, the Galway Film Centre, Screen Skills Ireland, Creative Europe, and in association with EAVE, ACE and Screen Leaders. It will continue to take the pulse of the wider film community, and explore and share ideas on the issues that are at the heart of the industry’s progress as well as the challenges it faces. This is particularly essential at this unprecedented time.

How do you see the post-coronavirus future of the Irish film industry?
We aim to look into these topics with industry leaders at this year’s Fleadh Forum. But I can identify some positive changes that have happened since the pandemic took hold, which I hope we will carry with us into the future. Chief among them is the extra attention being given to development during this time. Screen Ireland has recently invested extra money in its screenwriter discovery and development funds, and launched a conceptual development fund for directors. The industry, as with everything in the world right now, has been given a moment of pause to examine its priorities. I hope this focus on the screenwriting craft and the development of the visual language we use to tell our stories will continue to be at the forefront of the post-corona sector.

Do you have any plans for the subsequent edition?
Let’s get this one in the bag first! But, like the industry at large, I can see us carrying some of these changes with us into the future. We remain committed to the theatrical experience, but we can already see the impact that our online presence will have on accessibility, for example. In terms of moving towards a greener festival experience, all of our marketplace participants will have uploaded their materials in advance to our platform this year, meaning we’re not printing out large quantities of handbooks, which is another positive change. We’ll also continue the development of our European Festival Network, which will get a soft launch at this year’s online event, in the form of our Peripheral Visions programme.

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