The Shorts to Features conference is held as part of the Foyle film Festival every year. It’s a great opportunity for an in depth look of the film industry, centering on the journey from short film to feature length projects.
Filmmakers who have made that transition are invited to talk about their first hand experiences, the creativity and pitfalls alike. Ranging from actors, writers, directors of fiction film and documentaries; there is a plethora of talent from which aspiring artists can be inspired from. Audience’s can expect a number of artists to talk about their journeys they’ve made through the film industry and the stepping stones they’ve taken to releasing their own feature film.
Originally meant to introduce his hit Western film, Slow West at 2015’s festival, John McClean took part in an interview and Q+A session with the audience this year. Starting off as a musician as part of a band (performing at the Nerve Centre in 2004) Mc Clean began to direct music videos which got the attention of Michael Fassbender (Slow West, Hunger, 12 Years a Slave). This began a partnership leading to two short films with a successful Bafta win for ‘Pitch Black Heist’ in 2012 and eventually to Mc Clean’s debut feature film, Slow West. A focus of his talk was the benefits of visual storytelling, writing with a budget mind and making the most of what limited resources he’s had. Being influenced from everything from film-noir to fairy tales to silent comedy and the Coen Brothers, John Mc Clean has proven himself to be a major talent over the last couple of years.
Another guest included Jonathan Blagrove, the director of the documentary, The Final Reel, John Hurt narrates the story of our fascination with the cinema, documenting it’s history from the early years of silent cinema to the present world of massive multiplexes. Having a career for many years as sound recordist, this is Blagrove’s debut feature film. He states the biggest challenges production faced was the budget (or the lack of it as he says) and the shear amount of hours dedicated to cataloguing and editing archive footage throughout the twentieth century. A fascinating tale of how a shared love affair of going to the cinema can cross classes, communities and border, it also details on the arrival of digital presentation, asking the question ‘Is film presentation on its last legs’?
The Shorts to Features conference held at the Nerve Centre is one of many great events the Foyle Film Festival has to offer. It’s the perfect place to be for filmmakers and film buffs alike.