Gentle brainwashing in Portugal 20th - 27th June, 2010
Chronicle by Hilkka Haaga & Merja Koistinen, Co-operative Waria
FEST – International Youth Film Festival in Espinho, Portugal is a newcomer in field of all festivals in Europe. Ambitiously, the organizers of FEST organized also a Training Ground concept, a workshop and lecture event durating one whole week, gathering young and newcoming film makers and enthusiasts all over the world.
We two lucky ladies got the chance to participate the mid-summer event by the support of Film Arc and City of Oulu.
As a whole, the training ground program was wide, varying from more philosofical lectures about actor – director relationship to special effects in practise. As wanna-be documentarists, we participated mainly the workshops considering screenwriting, storytelling and selling films more than eg. acting and physical expression workshops. Although we made the decision to focus mainly on documentaries lectures, it was hard to navigate one's way between interesting events.
The best experiences during the festival week were the Screenplay workshop led by Guillermo Garcia Ramos (ESP). Every participant shared their idea of becoming screenplay, and the others were allowed to analyze and comment the settlement, turning point and the ending of the story. Participants should refine and compress their ideas into one-liner or few sentences, to see what is it really about in their film. The presence of other participants and the discussions about the film industry and the established ways to execute things in different countries also wided up the perspective: it's possible.
Another mind-opening class was held by Christian Frei, a world-known and awarded documentarist, who's oriented to film in locations with no film-making resources, such as Cuba, Kosovo military areas, Afghanistan desert and - space. On his lecture Frei showed the participants a wide range of references of his works including "Ricardo, Miriam y Fidel”, “Giant Buddhas” “War Photographer” and “Space Tourists”.
During the festival week, all the participants were allowed to visit festival screenings. There were many delighting short films and documentaries competing, and we managed to see few Finnish ones, too. The training ground members were also able to show and present their own works during the festival week – Merja got a chance to see her film on big screen and also received a valuable feedback from other students.
Unfortunately, Training Ground suffered from mediterranean cultural habit of being a bit late and changing the schedule fast – for one day, there was just no reasonable classes to attend, so we headed up to north, on a little village called Ponte de Lima and participated a horse festival. We managed to get known wild Gamarro horses and a friendly Finnish-Portuguese couple, who were really eager to help us on our newborn idea located in Northern Portugal and its nature. As a whole, Training Ground week somehow managed to tune and open our minds to see new possibilities in stories, instead of seeing the difficulties in executing them.