Wondering how Wim Wenders 3d film on Pina Bausch is being received at Berlin Film Festival, I scanned the website of this famous festival. What can be learned from how they run it?

Asked to do a self-evaluation for DFA's Board, I am exploring a bit beyond the same final report requested by any funding agency, such as NEA. What more could be done?


The Berlin Festival proudly presents 8 categories of films: 1) BIG name fiction features expecting big audiences, 2) art -house expecting small audiences, 3) films for the young, 4) films from Germany, 5) out-there & weird "disturbing" films, 6) Retrospective, 7) Homage to an actor 8) Shorts - only 30!


From that list, dance on camera festival shows the art house, out-there, retrospective and shorts. Occassionally DFA does an homage, such as last year's tribute to Alwin Nikolais. Perhaps next year we will do one for Gene Kelly. This year, DFA had the honor of offering Carlos Saura's FLAMENCO FLAMENCO US Premiere and simultaneous US premiere of Masayuki Suo's DANCING CHAPLIN. 


But what about films for the young or a US dance film program? Should these categories be promoted for Festival 2012? Are the Hollywood hip hop guy meets ballerina films the only dance films created for young eyes? Are they being made but they aren't being submitted to dance film festivals? Should we commission them?


Now back to wondering how the Berlin crowd will receive Pina Bausch....

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Comment by Jeannette Ginslov on February 13, 2011 at 5:09am

Maybe we should investigate film festivals in general. See what their line-ups look like. They may stretch from very mainstream to the very experimental. I am not saying follow a Hollywood style cinematic line-up but at least we can look at their model and learn or glean something from that model


As for Cinema in general, the young, you should say between the ages of 14-17 yrs of age? These are the most cinema going audiences world wide. They have parent's money to spend, or are taken out by parents, so more money is spent on tickets or the young go out to be entertained. This market is the main income for Hollywood film production companies and there are many genres that cater for this market - according to the research done  for the Producers Department at AFDA  (South African School of Motion Picture).


So what do you mean by youth or the young? Young as in 5-10 years of age. I seem to see that figure when I see youth  or young eyes. The young are not so young anymore. They may even be viewing films as seen by the 14-17 yr old - the Hip Hop dancer meets Ballerina, Stepping bad boy 3D films. This dance genre is packing them in. Or do you envisage a Pocahontas type genre? Seems as though we are struggling to find our audiences and are going ANYWHERE to find funding and an audience. But I suppose there are some filmmakers out there that want or will provide for this audience. It is not where we traditionally went but who knows? 


Most feedback from viewers coming out of a video dance festival for the first time, in my experience, in SA and DK is that they have never seen such films/videos before and really enjoyed the experience. So we can perhaps show them teasers before the more mainstream dance films. Small teaser like exposure is is better than none at all.


Also if there are extensive choices and viewers know what they are in for, they could select from a list of more known films and then take a chance on a few shorts!  We need, unfortunately to "step up" our game, market the events with "sexy" headliners and then have the experimental bunch on another page. 


I have had several, non dance people inform me that Screendance events have an elitist look and feel about them.....we need to bring it to the people not frighten them away. 




Comment by Karen Pearlman on February 13, 2011 at 12:38am

Hi Deirdre! 

These are interesting questions, and I think there are three perspectives for looking at them

1. Marketing - if you were to define your program in relation to these types of categories would that help you reach the audiences that want those particular kinds of experiences?  I remember when I was there (in 2007? 08?) there were categories such as new/emerging/experimental (can't remember exactly which!) in Brooklyn, dance narratives at Anthology Film Archives, and the 'main' festival (which had quite a few documentaries or works by some of the big companies)  It seemed a though each of the venues brought in a different audience so maybe it wa effective?

the 2nd way to look at would be in relation to artistic activity currently going on - just as you did dance and animation last year, presumably because there were enough good films with those two components to justify highlighting that, you have an the opportunity to build streams from the submissions you get that are focused on kinds of activity you see occurring in the artistic 'zeitgeist'. 

The 3rd way would be a mix of one and two, and would be focused on encouraging kinds of activity to take place.  If you commissioned work for children you would be seeding lots more work for children!  (didn't you have a family focus one year?  I seem to remember you screened Down Time Jaz on it?)  So, you could ask: what do audiences want more of, what incursion could this festival make that would push the artistic discourse...

anyway, interesting question!  Maybe we should go to Berlin and do some closer research!



Comment by Ivanhova S. Silva E. on February 12, 2011 at 3:51pm

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