BEV

For the last four days I have lived, breathed, slept and focused on the film festival I’ve been working on. That’s what working for a festival organisation is like. When I was at ARTRAGE there was an unbelievable momentum amongst the staff to keep going – an entire month of being focused on one thing – everything else in your life gets put to one side, everyone is entirely focused on this one beautiful monster.

So it was unusual to have the same level of focus, but for it to only be four days long. I’m used to getting into the swing of things, but this time I was WHAM BLAT – straight into the middle of it with no warming up.

The festival was amazing. The films were all great – I’m not sure if I’ve written about this, but Birds Eye View presents films made by women from around the world (mostly shorts, but we also did three feature films in this program). Only 7% of films are made by women – so the focus of Birds Eye View isn’t to give women the “pity voice” and show films made by women whether they are of good quality or not. It’s about showing how incredible films made by women are, and our program went a long toward showing that… Sadly some women think it’s offensive to have a festival like ours – that we are being condescending and implying that women aren’t good enough to be in other festivals. You really can’t please everyone.

Which reminds me – when the Reel Dance screen festival comes to Perth (I think all you melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane-ites have missed it, but I could be wrong…), make sure you catch Magali Charrier’s short film Tra La La (I think it’s in Program 2, but you’ll have to check that one). I had the amazing opportunity to do a masterclass with her, and her films are so moving and beautiful.

Also got to meet Andrea Arnold, who just won an award in Cannes, and is doing this crazy freaky film project with Lars Von Triers production company. He picked three directors (she was the first) who are all given the same characters, which are to be played by the same actors, but the directors have to tell their own stories. She was really cool – very humble about her experiences and her recent award, and she has an incredible vision… Her film (Red Road) is being made with no music, which is so brave. can’t wait to see it!

And Ken Loach came along to support his god-daughters’ film which we premiered (he won the Palme d’or last week). But I don’t want to think about that, let alone talk about it… I embarrassed myself in front of him, and I blush every time I remember!

And Fiona Shaw – oh my god! Lovely Helen (she works with me) and I have the biggest girl-crush on her after she opened the festival for us on Thursday. Fiona Shaw is the most beautiful women I have ever seen – truly, breathtakingly lovely to look at. Helen and I had to practically restrain each other from accosting her and drooling over her!

So much in just four days – morning, afternoon and night we basically lived in a little theatre on Regent St. We knew all the cinema staff, found all the nooks and crannies in the theatre, became familiar with all the screens and projection rooms. For four days we each had individual melt downs, laughed at each other and ourselves, got hurt, got upset, met amazing women directors (I don’t want to gush, but I’ve met so many inspirational women in the last few days, I feel so privileged), and gushed (Helen restrained herself with Fiona Shaw, but couldn’t hold herself back with Magali Charreir, and promises me that she completely freaked Magali out by gushing over her so much she felt like a stalker).

And now here I am. With a black finger nail (I tripped on the escalator last night trying to catch my last train, because I stayed at the cinema too long, having a drink with the staff), and a sense of loss because everything I’ve focused on for the last week is over, and I’ve lost my bearings.

It’s midday, and I should be doing something outside in the beautiful sun, but I feel so lost (and my finger nail hurts so much!). Directionless.

I love festival time – I loved it in Perth. And I’m so happy to find that I carried that love with me to here. I miss it when Festival has finished. I miss the activity and the sleeplessness and the manic timekeeping and the pushing of boundaries. I miss the new friends. I miss the sense of purpose…

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