The World of Film International Festival is taking place from 1 – 4 October, in the CCA, Glasgow. Siobhan Smith spoke to the festival director Martin Petrov to find out more and get his round up of the events that shouldn’t be missed.
With 17 events over four days, and subjects ranging from ‘The Hyperphysical’ to ‘Memory’, Glasgow’s World of Film International Festival offers up a diverse and exciting programme from directors all over the world.
WoFF started life last year as the Commonwealth Film and Theatre Festival, after Glasgow University received funding to launch a film festival alongside the Commonwealth Games. With the success of last year’s festival, the team behind it decided to branch out, and the international version of the festival was born.
In its first year under this name, the festival received more than 200 features and short submissions from directors all over the world.
One of the significant features of the festival is the two main competitions that it runs: championing new filmmakers and female directors with the ‘First Feature’ category, and providing a whole section dedicated to female filmmakers. With sexism in the film industry currently sparking lots of debate, this was an intentional move to make sure to represent women fairly.
“The idea came up when I was discussing the second edition of the festival and how we want to shape it,” Martin tells me. “We came up with the idea of dedicating a section to female directors only because we were interested in having a category to see film from the female perspective, and to showcase work from female directors. Because female filmmakers are under-represented sometimes in the media or at film festivals.”
Martin goes on to tell me that, according to a report he read in the Guardian, in each section of the world’s biggest film festivals, the representation of female directors is still as low as 9%.
“It’s still an issue and although we hear a lot about it, it’s still not out there completely.”
So, what’s their male to female ratio looking like?
“I haven’t calculated it but I think it’s more or less 50/50, or there might even be more female directors than male directors which is interesting” says Martin. “Our opening film is from a male director but we have a lot of short films directed by female directors, and a lot of them have been at lots of the big film festivals.
“The films also deal with very interesting issues that look at females in different countries. One of the short selections is actually called ‘Women of the World’ and it’s a compilation of shorts focusing on the lives of different women and how they cope with different situations in various countries around the globe.
“To be honest, in the beginning, I did have some people asking me ‘are you sure that you want to divide the categories and say that you have a female only category?’ It could be easily misinterpreted and people might think that I’m separating the female directors into a different category because I don’t want them in the other one, which is not true. I wanted to give them more stage, and there are also female directors competing in the other section. So they’re no excluded from any categories.”
Sound like something you would like to check out? Here are Martin’s five highlights from the festival:
1. How To Stop a Wedding
“This is the opening film of the festival. It’s the first feature from the director and I’m really excited about it. I was looking for an opening film for a long time. One of my programmers emailed me saying ‘you have to check this film out, I just saw it at the Warsaw film festival’. So I watched it, and I loved it.
“It’s about two characters who meet on the train and their story and how they connect. They are two strangers but by the end of the film you get the sense that these people really know each other. I loved the interaction and the creative vibe that you get. The atmosphere of the film struck me and it’s very well shot. It was actually shot in five hours, on the train to Stockholm.”
2. European Short Pitch Programme
“I’m extremely excited about a collaboration we have with the European Shorts Pitch, which is an institution based in Brussels and Paris. They fund independent filmmakers all around Europe to make their first short film.
“They are showing five films in total, one of which has become a great film festival success. It’s called ‘The Chicken’ and it tells the story of a young girl growing up during the Bosnian war.
“All five films are amazing and very different stories. There’s science fiction, a bit of horror and history as well. It’s a great selection and there’s something for everyone.”
3 Oct. CCA. 6.15pm. More info.
3. Animation Shorts
“Most of the films have been in different film festivals including the biggest animation film festival in France, Annecy. I’m really happy about this selection because they were all films that I saw during the Montreal festival and they deal with very interesting and contemporary stories. The characters are animated but they feel so real, which I guess is what makes them so special.
“For example, there is a film from an Italian director called ‘Beauty’ which is basically an attempt to describe the beauty of life. It features a lot of figures and painitngs and sculptures from the Italian Renaissance. It’s a beautiful film, about beauty!
“Another one is a film called ‘Wrath’ which is from three students at the German Film Academy in Berlin. It’s a very short film dealing with overpopulation and the way we treat the planet. It’s a film about nature and humanity coming together.”
4. The First Summer
“This is the first feature film from a Portuguese director called Adriano Mendes. It’s about a boy and girl who meet in Portugal, in Lisbon, during a driving lesson, and it’s a very unusual relationship. It’s a romantic story. A love story but told in an unconventional way which is what I liked most about the film.
“It’s very tender. It’s very sincere. It’s not the usual romantic comedy that everyone wants to go and see. You can see that in certain countries around the world, love and romance can still be found in an old fashioned way.”
2 Oct. CCA. 6pm. More info.
5. Lux – Part of The Hyperphysical Shorts Selection
“In the Hyperphysical section, this is also a Portuguese film, directed by young directors. The world premiere is at our festival which I’m extremely excited about. It’s a bizarre story in a way, inspired by the tale of ”The Spider in the Keyhole’ by Leonardo Divinci.
“The film deals with loneliness. It’s like an esoteric monologue, a personal search for happiness and success. There is a lot of dialogue and a lot of interaction but at the same time, the film manages to isolate a single character in a very effective way.”
2 Oct. CCA. 2pm. More info.
General tickets and listings here.
Visit the WoFF website for more information.