Friday, 10 September 2010
Charlie's Holiday - The Best of Busho (1)
The Budapest Short Film Festival - BUSHO. When I got that e-mail way back in July, I was ecstatic. This was Jay and Kay's first film festival. My little guys, plus those two Milk Bottles were getting their outing on the big screen. And their first international jaunt...
Budapest. The big bad city on the Danube. A city steeped in history, and more recently, intrigue as it was behind the Iron Curtain for so long. But like much of Central Europe, Hungary has emerged from Communism, has joined the EU and is now only a cheap flight away for us Brits. So why have I never made a beeline to this wonderful city until now? After all, I am a great traveler, not needing much of an excuse to head off somewhere, anywhere. And to be honest, I had a great time in Budapest. Six days in total spent here, far too short a time, especially as I was enjoying so many movies, but, ah, what the heck! New EU here I come! I will be describing this city in the upcoming days, and here is a taster of what is to come:
Budapest in all its glory, straddling the mighty Danube
But let us return to the festival. Screened at the Vorosmarty Cinema, right in the centre of town, what a location! What a venue! For a film maker such as myself, this was a venue and a half. But frightening as well. You see, I made a comedy, and laughs are a tricky thing to export. Will it work or not, will the audience love it or will they snore through it all? And the worse thing was that my film was to be screened on the penultimate day of the festival. On the big screen, with those big speakers highlighting every sound snippet I made in post production. Ouch!
But BUSHO had more than films. We film makers were put together, in touching distance of each other. We were also spoilt. In the morning we had guided tours of the city, trips to some of the highlights of Budapest. By night we had an insight into the underground music scene of the city. Hey, by the end of the week, I could have passed for a gu who had lived there for months rather than days, such was the knowledge imparted to me by the festival organisers. And there was one very important event organised by the festival. The Jury Consultation!
Now, this was an interesting premise. Let me go from the beginning for those unfamiliar with the whole festival system. Most film festivals have prizes awarded to films. A jury, a group of people chosen by the festival organisers, usually with a link to the artistic/cinematic world, deliberates the best films to be awarded. There is usually an audience prize as well.
Now the jury usually makes their decisions in private. Same here at BUSHO, those decisions would be made in private but, their thought processes would be laid out in public. Deliberation Time, when there would be a chat between the film makers whose films had been screened that day and the jury who had sat through each screening. They had 85 short films to watch and at the end of the week, had to decide whom to award the festival's prizes to. This would give the film makers present, a unique insight into what the jurors, and in a wider sense, what film festivals are looking for. After all, for someone like me, unschooled in the art of film making, this was a golden opportunity to seize.
Plus, I would be able to take advantage of watching so many great films on screen. Seeing how short film is evolving, where it is going and what film festivals are looking for in terms of subject matter and quality. Believe it or not, I managed to catch 79 of those 85 films and so had a good idea, as an audience member, what films I did and did not like. But for me, it was not all movies, movies, movies. There was also quite a bit of sightseeing to take in as well. And as you can see, I enjoyed myself a fair bit in this fair city!
(to be continued tomorrow...)