INTERVIEW WITH… NEIL BROWNE OF KERRY FILM FESTIVAL
On the blog today we have Neil Browne talking to us, from Kerry Film Festival. Their submissions window is open now, and the deadline is July 14th, so hurry!
Tell us a bit about your job, and what you do…
I’m the assistant programmer for the Kerry Film Festival. Basically that involves taking care of everything from submissions, contacting film makers, viewing the shorts, compiling the accepted films, introducing the events and other general festival running around and madness.
Every filmmaker is trying to second-guess a programmer. Does the team have themes in mind before the festival launch, or do you construct the programme from scratch once submissions are shut?
With the feature programmes and some elements of the programme we do try to construct a theme yes. Each year is different and new events are added in response to what’s relevant in the film world. With the shorts programme we also try to construct themes yes. We have different programming categories i.e international, documentary, animated etc. but the programme is strongly dependent on the standard of film.
We do find certain films compliment each other within the programme, which can add a great synergy. We do our best to construct a strong coherent programme and then let the quality of the shorts speak for themselves.
What makes Kerry Film Festival the ideal place to submit as a filmmaker?
We have an international exchange network 17 festivals strong where the winners of our competition are screened internationally. We also have internationally respected judges deciding on the short film categories and offering constructive feedback. Industry professionals and new exciting emerging talents are all catered for. The high caliber of film we show is proven annually as a number of our short film winners have gone on to Oscar nominations and awards.
Also, the audience reaction, the events and the hands on approach from the Kerry Film Festival staff all make KFF a unique and ideal place for any filmmaker to submit to. We are a young, dedicated and energetic crew all with a great interest in film and emerging talent. We work tirelessly to promote film in the Kerry region and our work has not gone unnoticed as the festival continues to grow from strength to strength each year (long may it continue!).
The festival celebrates its 15th birthday this year (Happy Birthday!). What can we look forward festival-wise at this milestone?
At the time we’re in the midst of programming the festival so I can’t give much away. What I can say though is that 2014 is shaping up to be a really exciting programme and personally one of my favourite. As always we’ve an eclectic mix of emerging talent in the shorts corner. As well as Irish premiers from national and international directors, Q &A’s from industry professionals, some classic cinema features, art installations, a look back at the best of the last 15 years and the premiere of a new live film score commissioned specifically for the anniversary festival!
What’s your advice to someone who gets a rejection from a festival?
Don’t take it personally and don’t get disheartened. It’s the hardest part of the job rejecting any film. I know it all too well myself as a filmmaker. It’s never an easy made decision believe me. Many factors come into play when accepting or rejecting a film. One point I would offer however is read the criteria for any festival before sending your precious film off. We’re bound by a time limit for short films and its something we stick strictly too because we have too. So if you’re film crosses the time limit it’ll more then likely not get accepted.
Tell us the best and worst part of your job?
Best Part: Finding a new and exciting film. I love watching film and seeing some new films from returning filmmakers is always interesting. Seeing how they have progressed and grown from one year to the next. It’s tremendously exciting.
Worst Part: Rejecting any film. I know it all too well myself. It’s never an easily made decision believe me. I have such admiration for filmmakers but its important to make sure we conduct the best festival we possibly can. Just keep making films and keep submitting. Every film is different and that’s why it’s such a wonderful medium.
Share with us one of your favourite films and tells us why you like it…
Mr Hublot is a Luxembourgish-French animated short film by Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares with/after the characters of Stephane Halleux. It won the best animated film for us last year and then went on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Short at the 86th Academy Awards. It’s such a clever and sweet film. The visuals are beautiful and meticulously crafted and everything is just so detailed. I loved this story, I’m a massive lover of dogs and this film touched me deeply. Funny, sweet and with a nice little twist at the end. Enjoy.
Thanks to Neil for taking the time to speak to Festival Formula. Submissions info for Kerry Film Festival can be found here and the deadline is 14th July.
Below is Neil’s biography:
Neil Browne is the short film programmer for Kerry Film Festival.
He looks after the short film programme for the annual festival and has compiled screenings for other festivals such as Kfest Arts and Music Festival and The Fresh Film Festival. He is also a programmer and organizer with the successful Secret Cine Club in the Munster Region, Ireland.
A trained artist, Neil is a big fan of the aesthetic of filmmakers like Jonathan Glazer (Under the Skin), Spike Jonze (Her), Wes Anderson (Grand Budapest Hotel) and Terence Malick (Badlands).
As a filmmaker he has written and directed a number of short films and documentaries that have screened at numerous film festivals and events.
In 2012 he completed an MA in Screenwriting in NUIG and continues to work on feature and short scripts in the hope to strike gold, move to Hollywood and marry Jennifer Lawrence.