So I thought I would kickstart the blog with a post about my time at FEST film festival last week! I’m looking like a gone-off tomato right now from being too cocky and not putting suncream on my face but I’m also feeling incredibly inspired from the whole experience and need to share with world everything I learned and saw.
I’ve previously been to Berlinale and I’ve been to a few screenings at BFI film festival but FEST was something else! FEST is located in a beautiful town on the coast of Portugal (so you get to watch films all day AND enjoy a cocktail on the beach). The festival focuses on screening films by up-and-coming filmmakers and they also have a training ground where you can attend masterclasses and workshops with some of the film industry’s biggest names. The students from my university were also given a space to screen their films! The general vibe of the festival was so welcoming and it didn’t seem to take itself too seriously; it was just about watching films, learning about the industry and of course, partying! So here’s some of the things I got up too.
Documentaries are 100% my thing, especially when they involve crime, culture or just anything thats a bit weird, so I had to see Mehrdad Oskouei’s ‘Starless Dreams’. A captivating documentation of a “Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre” for women in Iran. My heart broke for these girls. Most of them were in their teens and had all ended up in this prison together because of abusive and horrendous upbringings, which led them to theft, drug consumption and murder. This film is dark but the director has also chosen to show the friendship these girls have formed with one another, their innocence and slightest hope for the future. The documentary is as honest as the girls, they do not hold back from talking about the crimes they have committed and their feeling about life, family and God. Definitely made my top 5 films list from the festival.
So this was by far the most interesting masterclass I had attended all week! Gemma Jackson is a British production designer and art director who’s won a few Emmy’s because she’s THAT good. As you can see from the photo, she’s worked on one of the best TV programmes ever (fact), Game of Thrones. As a huge GOT fan, it was so awesome listening to the creative process she sustained throughout the three seasons she worked on. I literally know nothing about production design but Gemma was funny and witty, as well as educational, so I was able to grasp an idea of the hard work that goes into building various worlds for television and film and the precise attention to detail. For example, some buildings in King’s Landing had to be made in the shape of a heptagon, because of The Faith of the Seven. The job entailed her to travel around the world to find inspiration from numerous cultures. If you watch the series, you can see how all the different families, houses and communities have their own distinctive aesthetic.
I went to so many other masterclasses, workshops and screenings. There was a wide selection to choose from and the festival was run very smoothly. You’re about a 5 minute walk from the beach and there was a club exclusive to all festival goers!
The best thing about the experience was the people. Everybody around you is in the same boat, feels inspired and we all tried to encourage one another. I can’t wait to go next year and if films are your thing, you should too!