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Organising a film festival

 

I spoke to Nashen Moodley, manager of the Durban International Film Festival, in hindsight.When do you start organising a filmfest? Have you started with 2012yet? Any dates yet? We start pretty much immediately, and are at the moment in a number of review meetings working on ways to improve the festival. We alreadyhave some programming plans for 2012. The dates have not been set yet,but we expect to occupy the same time in late July.How was the attendances at Diff 2011? I saw various sold out cinemas? The attendance was great and improved on 2010. We are really pleased about that and that we had so many sold out screenings.Do you attend some of big fests during the year such as Berlin andSundance and decide what you would love to bring? I attend Rotterdam, Berlin, Cannes, Toronto, Pusan and Dubai each year.Favourite big fest? And why? Cannes! It is an amazing festival which shows the intersection between the art and business of filmmaking, and the selection is usually great.How do you decide what is in competition? I try to ensure that there is some geographical balance, that we have a range of first-time filmmakers, and mostly that the films are very good and striking.Any chance of taking the fest on the road? Gautengers and Capetownians miss out?Logistically this is difficult as film prints travel rapidly betweendifferent corners of the globe at the moment, but perhaps in thefuture.Your three favourite films of Diff 2011 and why? The films are like children - I have no favourites! Or couldn't say so anyway.What will you never screen at DIFF? We are open to everything. I don't think there's any type of film we would automatically disqualify.Where to for DIFF? We hope to continue growing, getting bigger audiences and more and more visiting filmmakers and film professionals.Do you "go to the movies" and what do you watch? Or avoid? I go to the movies as often as I can, which is pretty often, and watch just about anything from comedies to action flicks to the arthouse fare. I avoid musicals and costume dramas.In short, describe how you would get a film to be shown if you thinkIt should be shown? (without giving away too many secrets). For example you saw Journals of Musan. How would you go about to get it DIFF? If I see a film and like it and think it should be at DIFF, I would send a letter of invitation for the film. Then there would be negotiations over costs, availability, transportation etc. At this stage, I am happy to say that the vast majority of our invitations are accepted. I've seen a trend at Diff 2011 where certain films are shown at certain cinemas. How do you decide that? For example Snow flower was only shown at Nouveau and Attenberg only at Musgrave? Ideally, we would like to move the prints around as little as possible. Also, some films are ideally suited to a particular cinema because of that audience profile. Why don't you go to Sundance? It must be so exciting. I don't go to Sundance as I usually go to Rotterdam and Berlin at around the same time. I hope to go at some point though.

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