A Festival Directors view.

Terracotta 2015 already!

1st October and we are officially at the start of the Terracotta Festival planning cycle and getting ready for the sprint to May 2015.

We aren’t going from a standing start though. After we wrapped Terracotta 2014, we took a short break of a month or so and then started putting in place the main production and programming team for 2015, prepared our budget, finalised our format and started talks with our sponsors.

Busan International Festival

This week our programmers are in Korea for the Busan International Film Festival, where, beneath the veneer of glamour, they will be pounding the streets hard, getting from screenings to meetings and from meetings to more meetings and screenings. To cap off a full and physically exhausting day, they then have to put their livers to good use and hit the drink hard at the various parties and after parties (and the Koreans do like to drink!).

The skill of the programmer isn’t just to watch lots of films and narrow down a shortlist – you can’t physically attend every screening and meeting so it’s having the intuition to know which ones to go to, and to find that gem that’s worth taking home to shout about; it’s being able to immediately recall which company is handling what film, who you are talking to at that company and what the latest conversation you had was, and whether that film was any good or not in the first place (try doing that over 300 – 400 films); it’s being able to do all those things and still turn up to your first 9am meeting looking like you’ve had 8 hours sleep, when in fact you were out drinking till 4!

Updates from Pusan in our next blog.

Red Light Revolution

One of the great joys of running the festival is the amount of people you meet, and building some good friendships. Past Terracotta Festival Audience Award Winner, RED LIGHT REVOLUTION, is a great little indie film that came from nowhere to make a packed cinema audience on a Sunday morning laugh loudly throughout and applaud wildly at the end.

The director, Sam Voutas (an Australian, settled in Beijing) gave an insightful talk afterwards about how he shot the feel good story of a broke and unemployed guy starting a sex toy shop in a quiet neighbourhood, and we loved the film so much, we bought the rights and released it and we’ve kept in touch ever since.

Sam, and RED LIGHT REVOLUTION producer Melanie Ansley (who also doubles up as Sam’s wife!) were in London this week to give a talk at Raindance about how the landscape is shifting for indie film-makers and Team Terracotta were very happy to have caught up with them both over dinner, and then on to the UK Premiere of the Third Window produced FUKU-CHAN OF FUKUFUKU FLATS.

RED LIGHT REUNION!

RED LIGHT REUNION!

I’ll leave you this week with a short video from that dinner and a team photo.