Festivals, Cultural and City Events

Film Festival interview with Martine Pierquin

Martine Pierquin, Course Organiser for 'An Insight into The Edinburgh International Film Festival' reflects on the 2015 edition of the short course offered jointly by University of Edinburgh and EIFF.

Premiere of The Legend of Barney Thomson
Robert Carlyle and Ashley Jensen at the premiere of The Legend of Barney Thomson.

The course you run is very unique. Why do you think it is important to engage with the EIFF in this way?

The current course stems from a longstanding partnership between OLL and EIFF (over 15 years) and is a unique opportunity for students, teachers, journalists and anyone with an interest in film to discover many aspects of festival programming, attend screenings (including the Opening gala) and network with fellow cinephiles and delegates.

I am already looking forward to EIFF 2016 as it is the festival's 70th edition and they have big plans. The course will join in the celebrations.

What do you think students learn from being involved with the Film Festival?

Students learn about the endless possibilities of the medium, from documentary to fiction and experimental, and they also learn to express their own response to film in a more elaborate way.

If you are a Film Studies student, it is an opportunity to apply and develop your skills and knowledge, and if you have an interest in creative and cultural industries you can also find out more about festival organisation and programming, event planning and meet people from the film industry.

How does taking part in the Film Festival inspire you?

First the curating part in preparation to the course is very exciting. It starts with the festival launch where we find out about the new programme. For the film selection, which I do with my colleague Dr Pasquale Iannone, we pick films from a variety of genres and countries that we hope will enthuse students and generate lively discussions.

Taking part in the festival is a privileged time as we get to hear filmmakers, actors and a range of other industry people discuss their work and share their passion.

What part of the course do you find the most rewarding?

It is a genuine festival experience for everyone on the course as tutors discover the films at the same time as the students. It’s about discovery, appraising films against familiar trends and discovering original work that breaks new ground.

The reward is in the sharing of experience, having open discussions where the traditional tutor/student divide does not apply as much as in the classroom.

Have any events in this year’s Film Festival programme particularly caught your eye?

I attended an excellent industry event where a panel of filmmakers and screenwriters reflected on changes to TV and film productions and how differences are not so clear cut anymore now that streaming providers produce their own series. This kind of event is very relevant to students with an interest in working for those industries.