Through an interesting confluence of events and coincidences, we had not one special guest for the film festival this year, not two, but four. Our first guest, Dan Maslen, spoke to students about the pre-visualization process in film, focusing on his work on The Bourne Trilogy. For the students who often think that handing me a storyboard is simply busywork before getting started on their film, Dan's keynote was an eye opening experience. It was also amazing to see all the scaffolding behind the final facade of the finished film. For example, we looked at the final scene of The Bourne Ultimatum as a storyboard, an animatic, a test run performed by stunt men and stand-ins, and then the actual final scene in the film. This breakdown gave the students a pretty comprehensive look into the various stages of preproduction, and how a film can evolve through the process.
Our third and fourth speakers, husband and wife, actress Emilie Ohana and producer Emmanuel Benbihy talked about their experiences in making the Cities of Love films; Paris, je t'aime, New York, I Love You, and the upcoming Shanghai, Wo Ai Ni. Unlike other producers, who leave the creative control of their films (or if they don't, probably should) with the directors, Benbihy coordinates the vision of many directors into one cohesive project that flows together to create a portrait of a city in love. Hearing their insights into putting these projects together from the very conception of the idea, through financing and production was an amazing opportunity for the students to begin to understand the intersection between the creative process and the negotiation of things like finance and project management.
The students then had the opportunity to work in smaller sessions with our guests. Some went to Emilie for acting lessons and tips, while others practiced pre-visualisation processes with Dan. Others went to chat with CB about comics and the films that are made from them while others learned more about the production end from Emmanuel. Students also attended some fantastic teacher led workshops, and we capped the evening off with our Showcase and awards ceremony. This year, best in show went to a brilliant film called In the Air by Alex Tan and Michael Monaghan at the International School of Beijing. As it is a yet unmoderated IB Film, I can't yet post it online, but will post updates here as we get that and our other films up.
Here are some highlights from the day- if you click the 'full screen' option, you'll see the descriptions of the events as well.
Our 8 hour film challenge, our Friday activity was also a huge success. More on that soon!