Professor Erik Knudsen was pleased to initiate the StoryLab International Film Development Workshop by inviting Dr Nico Meissner, Sarah Kuntoh and Susana Ortiz Obregon to Bournemouth. Members were introduced to each other and a series of meetings took place in which the project plan was developed.
We discussed in detail the purpose of the network, its remit and aims and objectives. We compared notes about the context in each country and discussed how we were going to communicate and, importantly, disseminate our research findings and how we were going to engage with the wider filmmaking and research communities. From these discussions we were able to sketch out a detailed plan for each workshop, as well as discuss a range of issues around documentation, data storage and ethical issues.
An important aspect of what we discussed concerned reach and diversity. We are conscious of the fact that these workshops are taking place in capital cities and that the very nature of democratisation of the moving image medium does involve the idea of regionalisation, cultural and linguistic diversity and, indeed, the subversion of traditional film institutions and structures. These all pose very interesting questions, some of which can be addressed in our work and methodologies, but some of which are going to require further separate exploration. We may well develop a follow on project to address some of these issues around diversity.
During the week, we were also able to bring together a number of colleagues from the Faculty of Media and Communications at Bournemouth University who have an interest in story and narrative development in film, particularly in relation to international engagement. We had a very stimulating afternoon of sharing and discussing issues around story and story development for film across the world. The StoryLab guest members were able to brief Bournemouth colleagues on the filmmaking situation in each of the participating countries and it was very interesting to observe differences and similarities across continents. This project is particularly concerned with independent filmmaking and it is interesting to see how much is changing across continents and how these changes are leading to diverse film cultures that nevertheless share a number of aspirations and emerging working practices.
No visit to Bournemouth would be complete without a visit to the beach and pier. In fact, for both Sarah Kuntoh and Susana Oregon, this was a first visit to Bournemouth (for Susana a first visit to the UK).
The next stage of the process involves further development of the detailed workshops, work on attracting participants in each of the countries and finalising contractual agreements between participating institutions. The first workshop is planned for Bogotá in March 2016, which will be followed by the Kuala Lumpur workshop in July 2016 and the Accra workshop in September 2017. The project concludes with a symposium at Bournemouth University in June 2017. During the project, you will be able to visit this site to engage with progress and developments and to communicate with the project. There will also be opportunities for you to engage with the debates emerging out of the projects.