Last year, Think Cinema welcomed 10,000 attendees over the course of four days, marking a 33% increase in attendance from its inaugural edition. As the festival prepares its third go-round, founder and president Vincent Perez (pictured) anticipates a similar rise.
Whatever the final number may be, it’s safe to say many of those attendees will spring from Lausanne’s student population. More than 40,000 young adults live and study in the lakefront city, which houses several top Swiss schools.
Since its inception in 2018, Think Cinema has not only targeted that young population, but has actively partnered with a number of the city’s top educational institutions, as well as cultural outposts like Cinematheque Suisse and the Jan Michalski Foundation for Writing and Literature.
This year anew, the festival will host masterclasses at Lausanne’s university of art and design, ECAL, and screenings at the school jazz and contemporary music, EJMA, venues that have become key parts of this young event’s identity.
“The tone of the festival is very laidback and cool,” says Perez. “(And though we attract well known figures), proximity is very important. The goal is to bring everyone together, to make the public participants in the events. The rooms at ECAL and EJMA aren’t always very big, which keeps things intimate and convivial. It gives the whole thing a familial air.”
Those close pedagogical ties have also shaped the festival’s programming mandate. “We want to collect these ideas and then to transmit them to our audience,” Perez explains. “Our job is to share and to mediate. When someone goes to one of our conferences, they should leave knowing more about cinema.”
Think Cinema will launch a new component this year, introducing a competition for aspiring screenwriters that will award the winner a development grant to finish writing their script. As Perez sees it, the new initiative is an outgrowth of the festival’s very identity.
“We believe in cycles,” he explains. “We transmit and remount classic films on the big screen, and organize conferences with a young public. And among those students might be a future filmmaker.”
“When I was 18, I received a grant that allowed me to travel to France to study,” adds the actor and director. “That changed my life. It gave me a career. So this is a way to consider the future part of this cycle, to find new talent and to assist them as well.”