Chase won the Grand Prix for best National Short Film at the Short Film Festival in Lille. Junkyard, from the Dutch animation director Hisko Hulsing won the price for Best animation and Oh Willy, by Belgium director Emma de Swaef, another Dutch co-production, won the Grand Prix International. It’s clear Lille is close to the Netherlands …
Chase has won the prize for Best 3D International Animation at SESIFF 2012, two weeks ago. On top of that another Korean festival likes Chase a lot. They invited me to present the film at Seoul beginning of November. I will certainly go, no visa needed!
The Volkskrant (Dutch newspaper) wrote an interesting article on ‘Who will win the Golden Calve for Best Short Film at the Dutch Film Festival at Utrecht’ This is the article, in Dutch I am afraid:
Tonight the nominations will be announced. Exciting!
I was supposed to be in St.Petersburg now. But a clash of French and Russian bureaucracy forced me to stay home. From the start it wasn’t clear to me what was exactly needed for a visa to Russia. Hard to find on their many websites. So to clear things up I tried to call their consulate and embassy. But after 12 fruitless attempts (they never picked up the phone) and many unanswered emails I decided to visit their visa consulate in Paris. So I filled out forms and armed with an official invitation from the festival and passport I took the train. Not a good idea. It was clear from the form that you had to have a health insurance. This seemed logical to me so I took my insurance card and a recent payment overview as proof that somebody would pay if I dropped down ill in a St.Petersburgian alley. But the not so real blond woman with a beautiful Russian accent as if she just stepped down from a 007-filmset was very clear. I had to have an official statement from the insurance company which stated that I was no risk during my stay with exact days and places to visit mentioned.
Off course it had to be the original document, signed with blue ink and a stamp.The stamp had to be round. I knew from experience that in no way I could arrange such a document within 2 days. If I would succeed then I had to do the whole Paris trip (9 hours travel) all over to present myself with the document. I asked here if I couldn’t just send it by express post, because she did already see me and could testify that I was who I said I was and alive and kicking. But no, that was against regulations. I asked if there wasn’t another consulate closer to where I live. I had already looked for that on their sites but couldn’t find any. Marseille and Strasbourg were the only other ones. She agreed that Paris was indeed the closest one for me. When I got home, disappointed and angry I had another look on their site and saw this:
So they did have a consulate in Lyon! Why didn’t she know that? But wherever I searched I still couldn’t find an adress or phone number. I figure it must be a ghost consulate.
Lot of money and time waisted on no dream trip to Russia. I hope the audience likes Chase, even without me to explain what its all about…
I am going to St.Petersburg at the end of September! Never been there and really looking forward to it. Chase has been selected in the experimental film competition of the famous Message to Man Film Festival. So they invited me over (very nice hotel).
Chase was also selected at the Fantoche Film Festival in Baden, Switzerland. At first I wanted to go there, but St.Petersburg tempted me more, being more excotic and all. Sorry Fantoche.
Anyone in the Netherlands who wants to watch Chase once more. Now is your chance! It’s running in 3D at the Dutch Film Festival in the Gouden Kalf Competitie. You’ll find ticket and booking information here: Chase | Nederlands Film Festival.
Another important selection for Chase is the 3D competition at the Klik! Festival in Amsterdam. More info later.
And then in a tiny French village, St.Germain de Salles, a very nice small festival.
During last summer Arte has produced a mini-documentary on Chase. It was all filmed on location at La Grande Serve, where we live and work. You can watch the documentary here, I am afraid it is all in French, but if that helps, you can switch to German (button, ‘Allemand’, in the lower right corner of the screen).
So I decided to take it upon myself to solve things. I arranged a meeting with Laurent Million, the head of programming, who was accompanied by Serge Blomberg, the director of the festival, and the projectionist.
After a light lunch in the sunshine on a nereby terrace enjoying the festival buzz, I entered the huge Bonlieu cinema in a very good mood. I had just received the message that the projectionist would turn up the volume for Chase just a tiny little bit. I often regretted not to have asked, so this time I wouldn’t fall into that trap. The best is always better to check with a test yourself but that couldn’t be fit in the tight festival schedule. And a tiny bit is a tiny bit, after all.
I sat rather close to the giant screen, which was not ideal, but I had to step on stage after the film to present myself. It suddenly hit me that something was missing. The cinema was already filled more than half, but I didn’t have any 3d glasses! Did the festival decide to show Chase in 2d, maybe because the jury was there and they thought it wouldn’t be fare to the other competitors after all? I couldn’t think of another explanation, a thought that depressed me immediately because it was seeing the film in 3d on this big screen I had been anticipating so much. Just to be sure I asked one of the festival volunteers. To my surprise she reacted as stung by a bee. I was right, where were the 3D glasses?
Serge Blomberg, creative director of the festival, was warned and came on stage to explain what went wrong: they had totally forgotten the glasses. Big bags containing 1000 glasses were distributed, adding to the pleasant chaos of hundreds of paper airplanes flying around, a custom accompanying screenings at Annecy. Totally relieved I sat back, after a 15 minutes delay the show could finally go on.
Chase was the fourth animation in this program and when it started it was immediately obvious I had made a wrong decision by asking to turn up the volume. I suppose the ‘tiny’ in ‘a tiny little bit louder’ was lost in translation. Too soft is bad, too loud is worse, it distracts from the image and becomes a burden.
I could hit myself for being so stupid to ask to raise the volume without having done a test. But that wasn’t all. The 3D looked weird. No matter how hard I tried, my brain couldn’t match the 2 images that I saw into one nice stereoscopic picture. This was a totally new experience to me.
Being a novice in stereoscopy, I considered I must have made a huge mistake. The screen must have been too big and my DCP was only tested on moderate screen sizes so far. Nicolas, my producer, had been dubious about not working with a professional 3D company. It seemed he was right after all.
The last film of the program was in 3D as well. It looked perfect. Very disappointed I left the cinema, realizing that beside 1000 people, the jury had seen all this as well. I came across Ron Diamond (American animation film producer) who was in the audience and asked for his professional opinion but he said he hadn’t noticed anything wrong and loved to talk to me about the film later. I thought that was peculiar and made me think I might have invented the problem myself after all.
Not knowing what to do with all this I went to the 18:00 screening to check once more. After all, it could still have been my eyes, or being too close to the screen or a problem with my glasses. I sat on a different spot this time. Nicolas and his ADM staff were at the 18:00 screening as well. The sound was OK now because I had asked to put the volume at it’s normal level. But the image was still completely wrong, causing headaches and very hard to focus on and almost no depth at all. It was better to shut one eye and look in 2D!
Afterwards, I felt awful. After 5 years of work, this wasn’t at all funny. I wanted to go home.
The most important screenings of Chase with 2.000 spectators in total at the most famous short film animation temple of the world were over. With other smaller screenings still to come, I checked the program and saw that within 30 minutes a screening was due in another cinema. Compared to the Bonlieu this was a small cinema but to me it still was huge with over 400 seats.
Thanks to the help of the service desk after explaining why I absolutely had to enter the cinema, I got a ticket at the very last moment. I jumped on my rented bike and arrived out of breath, anticipating a final dissapointment.
But to my surprise and utter joy, it was perfect! There had been nothing wrong with my eyes, neither so it seemed, with the material I provided. The picture was sharp as a knife with beautiful depth, as I had always meant it to be. But what the hell did go wrong at the Bonlieu?
To be continued…