Xperimental 5 – the film festival

Yesterday I went to Nicosia in a company of Vladimir, Michael, and Maria. Our destination was Xperimental 5 film festival.

Pantheon Gallery was quite easy to find, despite my attempts to direct our expedition into the maze of one-way streets and dead-ends of Nicosia downtown. So we even came on time.

The festival was all about experimental film and animation. And so was the setup. In the large empty room there was a projector and a white pulldown screen. For the audience there were a couple of sofas, a few chairs, and some pillows on the floor. Not something you would see in your regular cinema.

In about 15 minutes enough people arrived to occupy all chairs and sofas. Some were already making themselves comfortable on the floor, grabbing the pillows. Overall there were, I’d say, about 50 people in the room. Maybe fewer.

The program of the festival was broken into four parts. 40 minutes of film shows, then 20 minute break, then another 40 minutes of films, then another 20 minutes of rest, then another hour or so, and then some more.

The films were all short. The longest one we saw was 13 minutes. Most of the films were under 6 minutes though.

What can I say about the films? Well, there were a couple that I really liked. There were a few OK ones, and the rest weren’t worth the time. It was tiring to watch so many of them one after the other. They weren’t meant for the large screen, and most of them were shot with handheld camera. The idea behind I guess was “I don’t want to use a tripod, so we’ll mask all shaking into a special effect”. I think that before going into advance techniques of camera shaking one should master the still standing camera. Maybe that’s just me, but I’m sure I’m not alone…

Because it was so tiring on our eyes and brains, we left after the first two sections. We’ve seen enough though. Altogether we saw 16 films in two hours. Not bad.

Which ones did I like? A few.

The best of all, of course, was “Business as usual” by Canadian Joe Hiscott. Excellent idea, great photography and sound, nice special effects, and overall very very pleasant.

“Washing up liturgy” by Leo Earle from UK was second best on my list. Without much philosophy, this film was a nice exploration of macro photography and slow motion. Great compositions, interesting subjects, and lots of color – as close to photography as film should get.

“A little meditation” by Myriam Thyes (Germany) made everyone in the room smile.

I also enjoyed “Beta test” by Greek George Drivas. But it was more of a photosession than a movie. Great images and nice story.

“Disconnected” by Karl Lind (USA) was somewhat cliche, but nicely done. It was very pleasant visually.

Michael Brynntrup’s “The Hong Kong Showcase” had nice atmosphere and stability. As boring as it was, I wasn’t bored at all. I don’t know. It was one of those films which are hard to describe. It reminds me of dancing leaf and dead bird clips from the “American Beauty”.

Overall, I’m glad that we went to the festival. It was a refreshing experience. It also gave me some food for thought. But I’ll post about it later…