Festival organisers have to be storytellers and stylists, not only executives of commercial machines, writes Mark Cousins in his manifesto Film Festival Form, which he hopes can transform the film festival world.
“The Oberhausen Manifesto helped launch the New German Cinema; the Danish Dogme 95 manifesto brought new ideas to, and detoxed, 90s cinema. The film festival world could do with a manifesto too…,” says Cousins (The Story of Film: An Odyssey, The First Movie) at the start of his one-page manifesto. In it he asks us to challenge the increasingly uniform way in which film festivals are organised.
The filmmaker, festival programmer and film critic feels that too many film festivals in the world are enthralled by their function as the “alternative shop window for film industries”. And they should, he says, be more sceptical about business and industry.
Film festival’s should be the ”conscience of the film world” and Cousins therefore thinks it would be a good development to rid of unnecessary excess such as red carpets, limos and VIP rooms – turning film festivals once again into something “purer, more beautiful, inclusive and alive”.
The manifesto can be read and shared from the Film Festival Academy’s website.