KARLOVY VARY — European Film Promotion’s Future Frames program for young talent provided an intense three-day experience for 10 up-and-coming filmmakers during the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
The program, which took place July 3-5, helps introduce emerging film professionals to the media and the film industry and presents their work to festival auds.
Belgian helmer Felix van Groeningen, whose anarchic drama “Belgica” unspooled in Karlovy Vary’s Horizon section, served as a mentor for the young filmmakers.
Czech filmmaker Ondrej Hudecek took part in the inaugural Future Frames last year and credits the program for boosting the prospects of his short, “Peacock,” a twisted gay romance set in 19th-century Bohemia.
Hudecek said he was very lucky to be able to have the world premiere of ‘Peacock’ at Karlovy Vary as part of the Future Frames section. “It was the first edition of this program so naturally it got a lot of attention, and also the quality of the other films was incredibly high, so I think it was generally a success for everyone.”
“Peacock” went on to screen in Toronto and other festivals, including Sundance, where it won the Special Jury Award for Best Direction. “I doubt this would have happened without Future Frames,” Hudecek said.
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As for the event’s help in networking and exposure to the industry, Hudecek said that in addition to meeting cool people with whom he may collaborate on future projects, the most important contribution of the event was the boost it gave to “Peacock” on the festival circuit. “It helped me to get more credibility, which is priceless for a young filmmaker.”
During a masterclass at this year’s fest, Groeningen congratulated the participants, telling them, “You guys have it.”
In an open discussion, Groningen shared his experience and what he had learned from the choices he’d so far made during his career. Covering nearly the entire gamut of filmmaking, Groningen talked about the challenges of making a first feature film, including screenplay development, working with a producer, financing, the responsibilities of a director, postproduction and marketing and distribution, including festival participation.
On making a first feature, Groeningen advised, “Do it quick and cheap, try to get as much working experience as possible, don’t wait too long for extensive funding.”
The director said he was still working with most of the crew that he met on his first film, adding that the experience created an incredible bond between them.
On working with producers, Groeningen said it was the most important relationship for a filmmaker. The producer’s role is not so much about financing, but to push the director to be clear what the film will be. “I always do what I want – he always says what he thinks,” Groening said of his longtime producer Dirk Impens.
As for financing, Groeningen said he was involved in all financial decisions, but pointed out that while it’s good to have more money, it’s never enough, and the more money there is, the more discussion there is about it with all involved.
The filmmaker also stressed that director should always go that extra mile to create a harmonious set, particularly with the first AD and DOP — if they are in tune everybody else will follow.
He also recommended that filmmakers be involved in the marketing of their films. Festivals are very tricky, Groeningen said, recounting that when his 2012 romantic drama “Broken Circle” was rejected by Cannes, they released it in Belgium and it went on to become a hit before making a splash at the Berlinale.