This conference deals with the potential effects of Internet circulation in terms of creativity, aesthetics and the place of authors and directors. What are the features and specific traits of this diffusion window? How can one work with the web? What is its role in the creative process? Using numerous examples and initiatives, our panellists will thoughtfully weigh these issues.
Marché du film court Clermont-Ferrand/Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Market
IFTS, Online Animation Library, Clermont-Ferrand short film festival, My Animation TV, Internet circulation, exclusive rights, L'Œil de links, Animirus, short films, speedruns, distribution strategies
Pascale Faure is head of short programmes for CANAL+ and co-producer of L’Œil de links (the eye of the links), a weekly 26-minute magazine exploring creativity on the Internet which is circulated both over the net and on TV. Nicolas Thépot, its director, tells us: "It’s a collaborative magazine since the web user can contribute content which we then use for our programmes. The aim is to go out and encounter the creatives where they are and present their original productions. One example of this is The Elephant's Garden by a Tasmanian animator, Felix Colgrave, who stages his characters in a fantastical and psychedelic world."
He shows us the work of Sam3, Cyriak, and also Animirus, a series which comically relates the history of myths having origins in religion or culture. Produced by the 1A4 Studio, founded 5 years ago in Russia, Animirus is heavily censured there. Moreover, its work doesn’t travel well to Western nations, except for speedruns, which happen to be quite unpopular in Russia. The basic principle of a speedrun is to tell the story of an American blockbuster in a single minute.
These grouped independent creatives have no offices that can be confiscated or searched. Everything is produced "at home". They call on animators worldwide: the director/head animator lives in Ukraine, whereas their production unit is based in Moscow. Nicolas Thépot explains that these are common practices in Russia since the 1A4 members don’t want to create anything which they might end up losing.
Ulrich Wegenast is in charge of the Stuttgart animated film festival. He started in experimental art 30 years ago before turning toward animated films, which interest him for the independence of their model. "In 1998 with the festival we began by setting up an Internet contest. However by 2005 this had become extremely bothersome since there was no longer any difference between a normal animated short film and an animated short film aired on the net," he explains.
He mentions two of Stuttgart festival’s initiatives.
The Online Animation Library is a project carried out in partnership with Stuttgart municipal library. The aim is to create on-line animation for library patrons. Library-users can go there and watch animation films which are not available on the Net. They can also choose to watch them at home. "It works; we attracted 10,000 people in one year. All these films pass through a pre-selection committee so people know that the documents have at least a minimum level of quality," Ulrich Wegenast states.
They also produced films during the festival but were unable to develop a simultaneous output channel. For this they contacted My Animation TV (MAT), a commercial platform experienced in promoting Internet content, disposing of 40,000 fans and 40 million views. Ulrich Wegenast expands on this: "Before contacting them we closely examined their financial results: 50% of their revenue comes from the Internet and 50% from short films. During the festival we do lots of interviews, we present shorts and we can source new content. We also offer creatives our platforms for use. If their film is already on YouTube, why not air it elsewhere?"
Pascale Faure adds that on the web, production resources and prices are different. She specifies that content for TV is never free; all the films they broadcast are remunerated, including for L'Œil de links. "For us it was crucial to have a programme exploring the amazing potential that we can find on-line. We’re experiencing a total upheaval in the way we work and in the way films come to us. We’re always checking how well a film has done on the web when we purchase it, and we request exclusive rights covering specific territories. The new generation of animators was not reared on the "TV only" culture. Their target is to get as many views as possible, establish a reputation and go to festivals. Some refuse to remove the films from their websites, even if it means they sell them for less. And many are waiting for the rights to end so that they can take back their content and post it," she states.
Laurent Crouzeix thinks that because so many new directors are self-trained and self-produce on the net, they struggle to decode the festival world, the life of a film in the hands of a distributor, or the film’s career once broadcast on TV. As programmer for the Clermont-Ferrand festival, he’s more impressed by the tens of thousands of people who come to Annecy than by the millions of clicks on YouTube.
How does one build up a viewership?
Ulrich Wegenast: "Many creative talents work on the web to gain anonymity, and many films which meet with festival success don’t necessarily succeed on the net. Also, some festivals refuse films which have already circulated on the net. Schools should teach strategy courses on how to use the web in the right way. They should promote the web. Some schools have a licencing department which helps sell students’ programmes to TV, festival organisers or other distributors. I recommend keeping an eye out for content which easily goes viral."
Drafted by Alain Andrieux, ITZACOM, France
Translated by Sheila Adrian
The Annecy 2014 Conferences Summaries are produced with the support of: