Avanca 2004 Film Festival :: Lycette Bros

2004 :: Portugal
The Lycette Bros. were invited to deliver a workshop at the festival and receive an award for Best Multimedia work from Avanca 2003[1]. With the kind assistance of ANAT, Mark Lycette was able to accompany his brother John to deliver the workshop.

Practitioners within Film, Television, Video & Multimedia come from all over the world (Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Iran, Italy, France, Russia and Spain) to act as jury members and deliver workshops. The bulk of attendees are students who come from all over Portugal, many pitching their tents at a local school for a week attending the workshops during the day and film screenings at night. All the catering is provided in the school canteen or at some excellent outdoor “picnics” and a relaxed environment in the summer warmth ensues.

European festivals fluctuate between serious theoretical talk-fests and casual social gatherings. I have found both have their strengths and weaknesses but the more relaxed they are the more opportunities and contacts seem to be made. Avanca definitely falls into the later category. The small town of Avanca in northern Portugal is primarily and proudly known as the birthplace and residence of Portugals only Nobel prize winner, Dr. Egas Moniz, who pioneered methods of brain surgery specifically for performing lobotomies. The last festival picnic, which featured an enormous pig on a spit, was held within the grounds of Moniz residence, now a museum (Pork is a popular choice in the local diet).

The festival is a local affair with the town taken over by the festival. The bewildered locals (mainly farmers) are inundated with hundreds of festival banners on every telephone pole and gaggling gangs of foreigners walking their quiet streets and filling their bars. The local school becomes a camping ground and venue for the workshops, the local church provides the cinema and the first night banquet was held at the local swimming pool! It creates an infectious vibe and one that events from all around the world could learn. There are many small towns in Australia that could benefit from such a focused and positive event.

All these opportunities for networking proved valuable and enjoyable, being able to swap notes on other events, learn of new festivals and meet practitioners from all over Europe.

The interest in Iranian film across the world continues, we met two Iranian film-makers, one of them, Shahram Alidi is connected to the Tehran International Short Film Festival, on his invitation we have entered this years competition. We also received an invitation from Marc Lavigne, the Programmer for the festival Rencontres Audiovisuelles, Lille, France. We find both opportunities highly valuable. Iran being a new destination we would like to visit and one to exhibit our work and the event in Lille, as we have exhibited and visited there before (International Internet Film Festival, FIFI) and have some good contacts. While in Lisbon preceding the festival we also spoke with Miguel Braga, the winner of Best Multimedia from Avanca02. He wanted to discuss and negotiate some ideas with the possibly of developing some animation for cable television in Portugal.

The title of the workshop we presented “Making a Web Animation” determined a Flash based tutorial to be the logical response. A more detailed breakdown can be seen on the workshop website[2] but basically it established fundamental skills in animating with Flash (keyframing, tweening, symbols, squash & stretch and sound) which were applied within a number of exercises and then ultimately in making a simple short self-determined animation. With workshops we have found that being overly prepared is a good idea, while not necessary in this case it became apparent that the workshop group had to be spilt in two in response to the varying levels of experience that some attendees possessed. This enabled the groups to work at their natural pace.

Some of the exercises and works in progress can be seen on the aforementioned website. While demanding work and at times some language challenges to overcome our beliefs again were confirmed that computers and software are a great source of “common ground” not to mention the natural connection students of animation possess – that driving need to tell engaging stories with moving pictures. The response from the students was one of enthusiasm -some being able to make something satisfying (via the computer) for the first time. We had the added highlight, although we were too busy to notice at the time, of the workshop being filmed for the local television news.

As we found the event as relaxed as festivals can get and the people friendly, appreciative and the connections lasting we would without hesitation accept an invitation to return at a later date to deliver another workshop or sit on a jury. The Cine Club of Avanca, the most internationally active of the Portuguese clubs, promotes and succeeds in delivering a positive environment not only for international exchange between attendees but also with the local community.

[1] Not My Type IV, http://www.lycettebros.com/notmytype/

[2] http://infotyte.adc.rmit.edu.au/avanca04/

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