FESTIVAL FORMULA

INTERVIEW WITH… GEORGE OIKONOMOU FROM BETHERE! CORFU ANIMATION FESTIVAL


                                                           
Today on the blog we have George Oikonomou speaking to us, who works at BeThere! Corfu Animation Film Festival, an international competitive festival about to celebrate its 4th edition (16-19 October 2014).

 

Tell us a bit about your job, and what you do…

Hi Festival Formula! My part in this festival consists of two halves. The first half concerns the period before the submission deadline. In collaboration with my precious assistant, Thomie Karydi, we are registering every incoming entry (taking note of certain pieces of info about each film) and then checking the requested files sent over to us by each participant. Afterwards, I contact the respective participant in order to let him/her know whether something is missing or not. The post-deadline half includes tasks such as informing those who qualify to the official screenings as well as those who don’t, organising and supervising a translators team who translates foreign speaking films that have qualified, embedding subtitles, eliminating video and sound abnormalities that may exist in some films, compiling the playlists for the official screenings, setting-up the projection rooms and fighting stress so as to enjoy the 96 festival hours!

 

Do you feel animation should be featured more in other festivals, as well as having separate festivals?

Tricky…It’s not a yes or no answer…Well, one way to attract new viewers in the art of Animation (I’m arbitrarily supposing that this is the question) is to instill it into them in small doses! On that basis, yes, we do need festivals of a general agenda to introduce animation as a side dish of their cultural menu, so as the audience gets familiar with it and, unavoidably to my opinion, intrigued by it. Then, we certainly need separate festivals, dedicated to animation (either short or feature films), in order to establish its position on the art-map.
However the marginal cultural profit of yet another animation festival on this world will be decreasing, unless each new festival succeeds in gaining its own audience, in creating new art lovers. In an era of such fiscal tightening, an infant festival must quickly become able to “feed” upon its own virgin viewers (are you thinking of Christopher Lee now?), otherwise it will wither and fade…

 

With so many animation styles around, do you get a higher percentage in one of them? (3D, rotoscope, stop/start .etc.)

Yes, indeed! There are so many techniques around! Comparatively, we do get more 2Ds than 3Ds, although the latter sort of deviate from the typical US studios 3D. I’d say there are plenty of stop-motion films. However, since I lay far from the DIY category of men, I deeply admire those artists who show great craftsmanship by creating stories out of clay, plaster, puppets etc.

 

What’s your advice to someone who gets a rejection from a festival?

That’s the hard part! Especially when I address to the, by nature, ambitious undergraduates…Well, my default answer goes something like this: “Why did you skip classes in Professional Orientation lessons at school? Anyway..It’s never too late. Statistics say that there is a worldwide high demand on certified plumbers! Unless you have wealthy parents, you should give it a try!”

Ok, I’m getting serious now! Samuel Beckett is quoted: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” A rejected film is not necessarily a bad or mediocre film. All festivals, I guess, have a finite screening time. No matter how many excellent movies we have received, we are able to screen a specific time amount of them. Thus, it’s always inevitable to reject some otherwise worth to watch and mostly enjoyable works. Next time show us that our program, either half or ten hours, should start with your film!

 

Tell us the best and worst part of your job.

I’m able to watch all these great shorties for free!! All right, I’m not involved in BeThere! in order to make my living so I enjoy almost every moment of it! E.g. I love contacting people from all around the world and even have, from time to time, a non “run-of-the-mill” conversation with some selected few of them whose personality is stimulating my ever-dormant brain cells! [NB: Festival Formula would like to take a bow here!]
If it’s mandatory to refer to the worst parts of it, I’ll just mention the stressful period, as the opening day closes in. I seek technical perfection and of course I never achieve it! Moreover, as I said before, I hate when I have to let the directors know that they haven’t qualified…

 

Show us one of your favourite films and tell us why you like it…

Pleaaaase, let me present two!

The first one (Balance – Wolfgang and Christoph Lauenstein) is my all time favourite! The magic of simplicity! The most succinct story about mankind ever told!

Another one, among my favorites ever screened in BeThere, is Merfolk, Rory Waudby-Tolley’s graduation film. I loved its political stance. Seasonable, now more than ever. As perspicacious and sarcastic as it should be.

 

Thanks to George for taking the time to speak to Festival Formula. Submissions are open for BeThere! Corfu Animation Festival and all info can be found here. The deadline is June 30th.

Below is George’s hilarious biography:

Born (September 27th, 1979 according to calendars here) in Corfu, exoplanet Kepler-22 but raised downtown HD 209458b, in the constellation Pegasus. I finished Ultra High School there and after sitting the intra-galaxial exams, I was accepted by the Department of Economic Sciences of the Kapodistrian University of Athens (that’s why my earthly surname is Oikonomou – pronounced Economu). Landed on Athens in 1998, meaning to stay for 4-5 years, just to get my BSc, before going back home. However, I enjoyed so much life here that I’ve been staying on Earth ever since! Swimming in temperatures below 190 Fahrenheit…so cool!
Then, I found a magnificent verdurous island called also Corfu (just like my birth town, can you believe it?) so I went there (that is, here) and completed a post-graduate program in Scientific Translation (working languages Greek, English, Wrebrif and Galal) in the Ionian University.

I’ve been working on the island as a Secretary of the Trade Unions Center (by the way, I never understood why you people use these extremely sluggish calculators called PCs). I don’t need money as I feed on laughter energy but I wanted to blend in.

On my free time I am wholeheartedly involved in BeThere! Corfu Animation Festival because they say art is good for your heart and soul (I have neither of them) and fart is good for your stomach (that I have). Though, humans say only one of them must be diffused to the people but I keep confusing which one… Apart from that, I love watching cinemas (I rarely enter though), playing football (my career high is four dead players on one shot), swimming (already said that), running (Corfu to Lisboa to Beijing and back to Corfu, twice a week) while I’m considered to be a real literature book eater – not literally, I’ve tried once but it tastes like colsifeburger but without the methane sauce. Lame! I guess that’s all you need to know about me. Bye (it’s the same in Galal)!

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