Quite a few students and lecturers have already enquired why we have chosen the arbitrary and some would argue very limited 72 hour creative period.
Quite simply, in previous incarnations of moving image festivals when we put out a call for submissions, we were greeted with literally a tsunmai of the good, the bad and the ugly, many of which turned out to be as long as the bible and far less entertaining.
Narrowing the field from the get-go, frees up huge resources in terms of the time and attention available for the panel to adjudicate which films show promise and which are merely a collection of careless images and poor choreographic design, lashed together in some kind of arbitrary "editing" process and thrown out into a hostile critical world to sink without trace.
Film making above all artforms is a critically collaborative process, the director or at least the conceptual creator owes it to the rest of their team to treat everyone's time, expertise and input with the greatest of care and respect. Making it up on the spot is never a good idea.
In order to be able to deliver a complicated collaborative process such as making a film no matter how modest the scale, there is a significant requirement for practical planning, preparation and physical resource management. To make any kind of film from womb to tomb in 72 hours needs particularly careful planning which denotes a level of thinking which ultimately benefits both the film maker and their creative collaborators.
As part of the challenge, the jury will be looking for creative notes to be appended to the films containing: a pitch document, an outline storyboarding process be it ever so simple, some kind of clear stylistic mission expressed as simply as possible and importantly. for the final output films, in some measurable way to be recognisably what the film makers set out to make in their initial creative notes.
In this way, if after all your efforts, the film continues to evade you and remains a "work in process' and frustratingly unfinished, the panel can still make up their minds from the initial creative notes, whether the film showed the kind of promise they will be looking for. You won't win any competitions if you can't deliver a finished film, but you will be taken seriously as a film maker.
72 hours to make something from start to finish means that the initial creative impulse behind the work will require honing to a point where delivery is firmly focused and the creative impulses of all those involved in the project have been marshalled into a common, shared and clearly defined creative goal with realistic and achievable outcomes.
Without these all important creative notes, how will collaborators be able to contribute at their best?
Finally, the application of the criteria above, means that there will be a greatly enhanced likelihood that the creative process will provide a set of measurable and replicable learning and experiential outcomes inherently more valuable than those contained in projects of the "let's just do something and see how it turns out", variety.
Both terms "professional" and "student" are loose, interchangeable and entirely meaningless in creative practice terms however, inside limitless scope for creativity, professional makers and creators are usually well aware of the practical limits inherent in their projects from available resources and funding to the practicality of their concepts and very importantly the professional and reputational consequences of ignoring the rules.
For those less experienced such as students of the form, clear and carefully circumscribed boundaries will help sharpen otherwise potentially open ended, unfocused and fruitless creative endeavour.
If we find we are being assailed by promising film makers who are finding the challenges of making a dancefilm in 72 hours insurmountable, we will be happy to mentor the process and provide guidance and helpful direction as needed.
Contact us on the contact page.
If it helps at all, "Love" above, is a film the curators made as part of the Danish Dancefilm Festival 24 hour film making challenge in 2015.
A few lessons we learned in this particularly gnarly creative challenge were:
Some of the greatest movie makers of all time have given the same advice since cinematography began
Go make some films!
In 2007 when LIDFF started there was a fierce debate about dancefilm which had not yet morphed into the catchall term "MOVING IMAGE". When we started there were approximately eight dance and moving image festivals around the world.
At last count that number has increased to around 128 dancefilm festival world-wide.
As the original curator I got into immediate hot water across a surprisingly wide spectrum of "art-film" stakeholders from the hallowed and ivy-clad groves of Academe to drop-in festival audience members at public Q&A's, by trying to set a quality standard, claiming that which is referred to as "dancefilm", should contain both an essence of readily apparent choreographic design and discernible cinematographic expertise.
Given the number of universes in which moving image makers in the widest sense inhabit, one can imagine that in many quarters of the conceptual art-world my curatorial pronouncements were anathema, prescriptive, way too narrow and in many ways the criticism was right. However, when curating any type of "art", criteria must be set to avoid a shapeless free for all that is impossible to encapsulate for audiences.
Curation inevitably becomes an unpopular process of describing and reluctantly prescribing "what it is", if for no other reason that something has to go on the announcement posters or no one will come. Essentially a crappy job but someone has to do it.
To ease this process and clarify where we are for this year's LIDFF, there are three categories of exhibition.
1: A pre-selected, curated selection of films by invited choreographers and film makers recognised across the world of dance in all forms, from Classical to installation moving image projections to Musical Theatre as craftspeople, experts in their chosen field, whose work stands up to critical scrutiny across many areas of critical debate and whose work, we the curators would like to show because it is important for very many reasons..
2 Those film works on a loose theme of dance and movement made by professionals which are not otherwise limited to personal curation, who have submitted to LIDFF 2018 to be seen more widely by those cinema audiences specifically interested in dancefilm and moving image making.
These submissions will be rewarded with prizes for their efforts by a Jury of highly regarded colleagues who work extensively in the world of dance-making in film and television whose expertise will reflect the quality of their judgements..
3 Those films made by students from accredited higher education institutions of moving image, dancefilm and choreography whose submissions will be a maximum length of 5 minutes including credits and verifiably created from beginning of filming to final output online in a 72 hour period to fulfil this years specific LIDFF 72 hour film making challenge.
Without a doubt there will be controversy - it wouldn't be art making if there wasn't. Above all however, LIDFF 2018 aims to curate a fascinating blend of films which will appeal to audiences knowledgeable in the field of dancefilm and moving image and help audiences new to the fascinatingly diverse world of dance to greater clarity and understanding.
There are no other particular issues that currently occur to me other than the perennial ones bedevilling all curated exhibitions, such as why choose "this" exhibit/film/painting/work, over "that" one? The answer as for everyone, is that choice is subjective and as free to make as it is to question.
As the curation panel for this year's LIDFF, we will necessarily be as responsible, careful and hotly opinionated between ourselves as any other group of passionate artists who find themselves more or less accidentally set up in judgement over their peers for the purposes of getting art "out there".
They used to fight duels over the Paris Salon selections in the late nineteenth century - Monet was rubbish, Pissarro was king, Manet was a parvenú, Van Gogh was incomprehensible and a poor technician to boot, everyone loves Buffet and so on.
LIDFF 2018 hope to contribute in a small way to a real sense and appreciation that art is passion and passion drives creativity and variety of expression.
Bring on the dance movies!
Chair - Curation Panel - LIDFF 2018