How many different ways are there to tell a story? Ahead of bold and original showcase of documentaries and narrative fictions at ASFF 2018, Northumbria University’s Graduate Tutor in Film & TV Production, Mark Chapman, considers the importance of creative sensibility, discussing techniques and tools for developing a voice that will resonate beyond the work.
ASFF: What types of films are you bringing to ASFF 2018, including genres, styles and subject matters?
MC: The showcase includes a richly varied mix of horror, documentary, drama and more experimental short form films: from the gooey horror masterwork SECRETION to the intimate documentary poeticism of PIGEONGROVE.
ASFF: Can you expand on the key themes featured in your showcase?
MC: Though the style of the work featured is wide-ranging, the distinguishing characteristic that unites all the films is that each has a strong guiding sensibility. As an audience it is exciting to see filmmakers discovering, exploring and experimenting with cinematic language.
ASFF: What is your chosen topic for the discussion, and why is it important to foreground in 2018?
MC: The most important thing for a filmmaker to develop is their sensibility or their “voice.” In an industry saturated by content, this is the thing that will make a filmmaker stand out.
I also believe that filmmakers must be able to discuss their films in the fullest, most engaging way possible to provide the correct conceptual framework for an audience to approach the film. This means reflecting on their own practice to refine ideas and articulate techniques for festival screenings, interviews and funding applications. Discussions like this help to hone those skills.
ASFF: How significant is the short form to emerging filmmakers, and how is it changing in the 21st century?
MC: The cinema has always looked to the future and, in evolutionary terms, it is moving faster than ever. The short fiction film is not simply the domain of the “tyro director”, but instead a sophisticated area of production where exceptional works are regularly made. I believe the short form offers one of the truly innovative outlets for idiosyncratic sensibilities in cinema.
ASFF: What are you most excited about screening and attending at this year’s festival?
MC: Aside from the Northumbria showcase, ASFF always have an exceptional selection of industry masterclasses. This year’s programme looks to be typically brilliant.
Northumbria University’s Showcase Screening takes place at City Screen, York, on 9 November. Find out more here.
1. Still from The Sycamore Gap by Lucy Rose Wilson-Green (Cool Girl Pictures).
2. Still from KE_237 by Richard Hewitson.