“Last September 2012 I was fortunate enough to be the winner of the annual Matt Clark Travelling Scholarship. After almost a year of exploring my personal skills and drawing my passion for film-making from university to the familiar space of my bedroom, I was awarded the opportunity to pursue a dream I once thought was far beyond my reach. A year of freelance film-making and artistic creation allowed me to improve my personal skills and re-evaluate my priorities and plans for the future. I was seeking an alternative path to continue learning and building my skills in the direction of discovery and production of alternative cinema. The Matt Clark Travelling Scholarship provided me with a key to this path and I am so grateful to be the recipient of this award.
My passion in life is to create and share, film and travel. This Scholarship provided me with the opportunity to combine my passion for film with my dream to travel. I decided to use this Scholarship to attend the European Independent Film Festival (ECU), in Paris, France. I chose this festival because it is “dedicated to the discovery and advancement of the very best independent filmmakers from around the world”. ECU festival provides the opportunity for “bold and visionary filmmakers to present their work to the cinema-loving public who are actively seeking alternatives to commercial-hungry major studio projects”. To support the modern approach of alternative cinema, the event is organised by a fresh international team of young interns, changing from year to year. It was very clear to me that the heart and soul of the festival provided a reflection of my ideas and motivations towards filmmaking; thanks to the Scholarship it was not difficult for me to manifest this opportunity into a reality. As soon as I could, I purchased a ticket to Paris and contacted the organisers of the festival about the possibility of volunteering.
The 8th annual European Independent Film Festival was hosted in a typical old-fashioned cinema in Paris, a humble venue that provided a warm and intimate space for all filmmakers and cinema lovers to share a personal experience. Over the course of three days, the event showcased 109 films from 35 different countries (including a non-European category).
To make the most of my experience I decided to approach the event from the inside and participate as a volunteer. After contacting the director of the event, my request to volunteer was accepted and I was given the honour of working in the social media department. This task was perfect for me, I spent each day from morning until night speaking with filmmakers, conducting interviews and publishing reviews on the official website. The selected films screened this year consisted of “the best and most creative indie films ranging from feature films, short films, documentaries, animation and student films to experimental works”. But the festival did not end at the cinema, as day turned to night all filmmakers, participants and audiences shifted venues to an after party celebration. From chic club atmosphere to a boat party sailing through Paris, everyone had the chance to meet, talk, share, network, dance and celebrate with each other. It was wonderful to have the chance to effortlessly enjoy a personal experience with professional indie filmmakers and like-minded individuals.
ECU Film Festival is the first film festival I have had the pleasure of attending and the experience, combined with traveling to the other side of the world, is something I will never forget. Participating in the ECU team allowed me to view incredible independent films and also have the opportunity to meet and talk personally with directors, editors, producers, writers, cinematographers, sound designers and actors from all over the world. By the end of the festival I had a mind full of fresh ideas and motivations, supported by personal and direct insight into the world of alternative cinema. I felt like a sponge, full of fresh knowledge about the film industry from many different perspectives and production roles. This experience gave me the confidence, inspiration and encouragement to continue my life as a ‘high tech hippie’, transforming my creative ideas and dreams into a productive reality.”
“Now, seven months later I have taken this experience of independent and alternative filmmaking and applied it to my life as I travel Europe, documenting my experiences through the lens of my camera and conceptually writing the story of life. Currently I have travelled to eight countries in Europe, always with my camera in hand to capture the colours, sound, culture, environment and people that cross my path. With the knowledge I gained from the festival combined with the people I have met, places I have visited and the adventurous path I have constructed through Europe, I hope to produce a film of my own that not only documents my experiences but to inspire and provide material for others sharing like-minded dreams of film, travel, adventure and exploring the ever improving possibilities of modern day technology.”