Thursday, September 12, 2013

"You can never forget you're a dedicated film fan first" - Matt Micucci on his experience at the 70th Venice Film Festival

As the IFI reporter from the Venice Film Festival, for the last couple of weeks I have been posting news, reviews, interviews and overall gossip from the Lido – I hope you have been following my updates featured on the IFI Twitter account? It’s has been a lot of work, but enjoyable work, which sadly is coming to an end – for now.

Before it does, I would like to do a couple of things. One of them is to publicly thank the wonderful people at the Irish Film Institute who made this possible for me. I would particularly like to thank Alicia McGivern and Shauna Lyons, as well as Anna Pas in the last stage of my Venice adventure, with whom I had direct contact and whom I hope to remain in contact with in the future. I hope to have repaid their trust with dedicated reports on Twitter and from my website. I also hope to have represented them well in this 28 Times Cinema project, a programme set up by the European Parliament for young cinephiles – one from each European country – to come together and discuss cinema.

Cinema is something I have always connected with and something that has always meant an awful lot to me. This passion and love I feel for it led me to study Film and TV in GMIT, a course which I successfully completed in 2010. While I started the course with an idea of becoming a filmmaker, I realised that perhaps what I really wanted to do was talk about film and open cinematic debates by pursuing a career in film journalism.

While at the 70th Venice International Film Festival, I collaborated with CineEuropa, who set up a blog for us and our reports and reviews, and also linked the IFI to all my shorter reviews for all the screenings I attended. I also kept a daily Venice diary which I compiled for Film Ireland. My three interviews were with the director of the festival Alberto Barbera and the filmmakers Bruce la Bruce and Costanza Quatriglio. So far, I have had a chance to meet many interesting people and to network.

I always carried my audio recorder with me at every screening, just in case the filmmaker attended and spoke about the movie, giving me the chance to include his or her thoughts and stories. To complete my self-training on the ‘report’, I practiced the art of sneaking into press conferences without a press badge, or standing next to the door and overhearing what was said. The main one of these was the one for Philomena, the film by Stephen Frears which at the time of writing looks set to win the competition. At the time, I hadn’t seen the film, so I just posted what was said at the conference directly transcribed. Another priceless experience I received here in Venice was in interviewing, which I think is the ultimate promotion that the press and media in general can offer to a filmmaker and his creation.

Certainly the most important thing I learned about this job is that you can never forget that you are a dedicated film fan first. Film is a wonderful form of art, perhaps the most impressive, but it is so mistreated that sometimes it is hard to watch. If journalists start acting superior to cinema, then we can all kiss its credibility goodbye. On a personal level, I want to be involved, and I will work very hard to build a reputation as a good and hard-working promoter of film.

So, that’s what I have learnt so far in my experience in Venice. At the risk of seeming incredibly pretentious, I would really like to open a debate particularly regarding Irish cinema from what I learnt here in Venice. It is crucial not to underestimate the value of film reporting, film interviewing and film critique. Ireland needs a good film magazine. Ireland needs more critique circles. Ireland needs more talks before special screenings. This type of film promotion is exactly what can moderate film culture, promote film passion and certainly, when done right, generate more money in the industry.

Matt Micucci

For the fourth year in a row, young film-lovers representing each of the European countries have attend the Venice Days. Matt Micucci has been selected by IFI Education as this year's representative from Ireland and he's been tweeting tirelessly from the Lido on behalf of the IFI. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @MattMicucci89!

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