One of the great parts of this module for our MA Film students is that we invite members of the industry with particular areas of expertise to take part in the festival not only as jury members but to also deliver a short lecture to the students. This gives the students the exciting opportunity to learn from ecperts in a given field, ask them questions, and learn about film festivals from new perspectives.
This year we invited Lydia Beilby of Edinburgh International Film Festival, Michael Pattison of Alchemy Film & Arts, and Arlin Golden of The Video Project to join our jury and additionally asked them to speak to the students. Thanks to the newfound ease of Zoom, this was relatively simple to arrange despite significant time differences and distances!
First up we spoke with Lydia Beilby about the incredible artform of curation and how this affects the students’ work on the module. An experienced programmer for EIFF, and in particular their Black Box strand, Lydia was able to talk about the difficult challenge of separating personal taste from film curation, keeping your audience in mind, and developing themes over the course of a film bloc.
Next up, Michael Pattison joined the class to discuss the variable ups and downs of hosting an online film festival. The pandemic caused film festivals, formerally almost exclusively in person, to radically shift their offering. It has a lot of positives, not least of which widening audiences and accessibility. However, it comes with its downsides, in particular the added cost and administration required to run hybrid or online events.
Last but not least, we heard from Arlin about how distribution works, the current state of distribution in the film industry, and how festivals play a part. Arlin was able to speak from a specialist perspective – The Video Project focuses excusively on documentary and does a lot of business through educational license agreements on platforms like Kanopy. This was perfect as many of our students have a keen interest in the genre and Kanopy is available to LJMU students through the library!
And now we’re extremely honoured to have all three guest lecturers return as part of this year’s jury to detemine the Paper Bird Awards in Fiction (Lydia), Documentary (Arlin), and Animation (Michael). Make sure to attend the award ceremony – you might even have the chance to talk to one of them yourself!