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Spotlight on Darklight Film Festival 2010
26 Oct 2010 :
Nicky Gogan (left) at the launch of Darklight's Free your Film
The 2010 Darklight Film Festival launches on Thursday, October 28th. The eleventh installment of the event will feature a Heroes Edition of programmers, a transmedia symposium, a celebration of animation and the winning projects from the festival’s earlier Free your Film competition. Festival Director Nicky Gogan chats to IFTN about the upcoming event, telling us what attendees have to look forward to and what she thinks of Darklight’s new location.

The festival will this year welcome back digital creative, Lance Weiler as the key note speaker at this year’s Transmedia Symposium. Creator of Workbookproject.com, Lance is a writer and director and is currently producing Transmedia projects with Seize the Media. Festival director Nicky Gogan tells IFTN that she is delighted to welcome Lance back to the festival: ”Lance is a great source of information as to new technology and what’s happening in the industry,”she says. “He is a complete trailblazer and was the first ever guest to come to Darklight back in 1999 so it’s brilliant to have him back.

As part of the day-long Symposium which takes place on Friday, October 29th festival attendees will be privy to a number of workshops and talks with guest panellists such as Lance, Salford Film collective Future Artists’s Mark Ashmore and Jenny Inchbald; Power to the Pixel founder Liz Rosenthal; South African producer Jeremy Nathan of DV8 films.

The transmedia symposium is run in conjunction with the Irish Film Board and will look to explore the potential of digital and analogue networks as a creative tool for storytelling, as well as a means to reach audiences and finance and distribute films. Topics on the agenda include fund-raising models, distribution platforms and crowd-sourcing collectives, and we’ll also be looking at what it means to write, direct and produce projects destined for the big screen, the small screen, the internet, apps, graphic novels, live performance and immersive experiences.

Nicky sees this symposium as being particularly important. “We haven’t done a real symposium like this since 2007 and this one is such a big deal,”she explains. “It feels to me like it’s reached a point where projects can be distributed independently through social networking. For example with ‘His & Hers’, work was done with Element pictures and the film’s producers to spread the word. And this approach really seems to have engaged Irish audiences and is a sign of our times. We’ve passed a milestone and transmedia projects, like RTÉ’s ‘Storyland’ are really taking off. Stuff we have been talking about for years at Darklight is finally starting to become a reality and we want to celebrate that!”

Another important feature at this year’s festivak is the Darklight Heroes Edition, an event which will see festival alumni and contributors from the past ten editions to invite their heroes to this year's event. The guest programmers chosen for 2010 include animator David O'Reilly (Please Say Something); art/music/technology collective Synth Eastwood; independent gig promoters and record label Skinny Wolves; Film & Animation History lecturer and musician Michael Connerty; digital rights expert and documentary filmmaker Caroline Campbell (Alibi) and producer Katie Holly (One Hundred Mornings). Darklight 2010: Heroes Edition will take place 28 - 31 October 2010 in and around Temple Bar.

Asked how the idea for the Heroes edition came about, Nicky tells us it just made sense: ”The Heroes idea came about in a fairly abstract way,” she starts. “Over the years members of the gang here would say ‘Why don’t we invite so and so?’ And so we’d invite a various collection of people in a very ad-hoc way and the festival would just seem to ‘come together’ over the years. The Heroes Edition approach is a way of saying ‘Here are the people who’ve constantly brought us great ideas over the years.’

A large bulk of the festival’s Heroes Edition is made up of animation – Michael Connerty will present his choice of German and Czech animations along with what he has picked as the highlights of this year’s Annecy festival. Furthermore David O’Reilly will introduce a line up of what he has called ’A collection of logic bending neuro-masochistic short films from the past, present and future.’ entitled David O’Reilly’s Mixed Tape of Doom.

Moving on, the winners of the Free Your Film Workshop, Carmel Callen, David Freyne, Jessie Ward and Simon Maher & Anthony Fitzsimons will present a show-and-tell of their finished short films that won this year’s movie making challenge Free Your Film. Initially there were to be four winning projects of the competition but Nicky explains that this had to be changed: “The projects we got in for the Free Your Film were so good, with such a high standard, we felt that we had to award four prizes as opposed to the three we had planned to give,” she tells us. ”I really was very impressed with the stuff we got in and that we got over a hundred entries! And the winning projects are so eclectic – we have one flashmob piece, we’ve a horror and a comedy, so there’s great variety.”

The organisation of this year’s event have taken in Darklight’s new location of The Factory on Dublin’s Barrow Street, a move that Nicky is a big fan of: ”We love it!”She exclaims. “I’m so glad we moved up because it’s such a hub of activity! In the last few weeks we’ve been in organising the festival while John Carney was finishing a shoot and of course Kirsten Sheridan has been in too and Maureen Hughes is in here casting. And we have two cats – Oscar and Emmy. (I didn’t name the cats!) There’s just a great creative energy about the place and it suits us down to the ground.

On a final note Nicky tells us what her personal highlights are in this year’s line-up: “If you’re a film producer or involved at all with film production then Friday is your day,”she starts. ” I’m personally really interested in what David O’Reilly will bring to his screening, he’s been sending me these links to all kinds of stuff that I haven’t even heard of. He’s such an interesting artist himself that I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.”

The Darklight Festival is aimed towards filmmakers, animators and artists whose work explores the convergence of film, technology and art. It began in 1999, seeking to act as an opportunity for filmmakers and artists to share their work and experiment with new technologies and has emerged as one of the most important art events of the year including music, gaming and industry workshops and talks. Darklight’s mission is to nurture new talent and to create new possibilities for the imagination. For a full line-up and ticket booking information visit www.darklight.ie/html/award.html

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