Acclaimed Film Maker Quentin Tarantino is quoted as having said, “When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, ‘no, I went to films.’”
Films Screenings is a monthly film screening and discussion platform that focuses on equipping viewers (especially young and budding filmmakers although anyone is welcome) with knowledge and skills in cinematography, editing, Music for film, Writing and many other various film subjects. This screening involves the watching of a film with exceptional production qualities in terms of art, creativity and manipulation of various elements to produce the good film. The post screening period will be used to discuss the variety of production and creative topics which we intend to discuss or which the audiences would have identified. The attending aspiring filmmakers will exchange knowledge on the skills with some established filmmakers from watching the film and potentially (in the future) collaborate in recreating some of the tactics they would have observed. We intend to host the screening once every month for the remainder of 2014.
The Rationale for the Project!
Bulawayo in particular and Zimbabwe in general have no appropriately running film school. Despite this fact many aspiring filmmakers find ways to teach themselves the trade. These indie filmmakers range from making music videos to documentaries to feature films & Television programs. I am one of the self taught filmmakers living and practicing in this city. All this demonstrates a willingness to learn through experiences and exchange with other like minded artists. The ability to deduce tangible skills through observation of experienced filmmakers is a key motive for these targeted screenings as they will help strengthen a generation of filmmakers who cannot be deterred by lack of funds, resource or formal education.
The Back Story
In general, Indie Filmmakers in Bulawayo make up to 3 ‘Feature Films’ every quarter (four months), about 4 Documentaries of various lengths, monthly and every other second week, a music video is released. Yet with most of the work, certain fundamentals of film are missing. A program like this then provides tips and tactics, skills and knowledge to the filmmakers without putting them through a class room type setting. This will then benefit them by allowing them to be involved in discussions with other filmmakers, for them to also explain their perspectives and ideas and weigh them against other ideas and points of view.
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo has a Cinema for Hire; The John Knight Cinema, a 45–50 seater that has been the home of some film screenings that we have hosted prior. There is also a bigger venue, the Rainbow Cinema, which can be hired if the need arises. Based on previous related events, we are confident that there is a ready film audience and the numbers keep growing. More importantly; this audience is mainly made up of film ‘buffs’, filmmakers and artists who are seeking knowledge as well as a platform to share tactics and opportunities with fellow practitioners. The format is to be a free flowing environment where a beautiful piece of art will be appreciated(film to be watched) and a lively discussion held where people can talk about a range of topics from camera settings, Types of shots, to types of equipment, editing processes and/or programs to the history of film & cinema to directors tips, actors all the way to distribution, festivals, TV and the likes.
We intend to show a range of films. From well done Shot Films to Documentaries, Features, to Television Programs from which there is a lesson. The initial idea is to entertain because what better way is there to learn than the way through which you are having fun. To appreciate good work and to use that good work to inspire a discussion and a learning process. The screening will also include some locally made films and internationally made and/or acclaimed films.
Monthly events will leave filmmakers with ample time to practice and work on their various projects. This can also enrich the feedback in each next screenings.
I have learnt what I know about film from watching films. Today I write scripts, I Direct, I Edit, I compose Music for Film. I have managed to take myself through music class to better my understanding of music composition and engineering. At each turn, I do what is necessary for me to expand what skills and knowledge I have about film and art. This project could be such a critical platform to inspire, critique and collaborate with other filmmakers in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo.