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      Round Table

October 29 and 30, 2008

A Digital future? Some creative responses…

This round table will focus on presenting reflections and proposals of practitioners in the movie industry. The framework of this round table centers on the use of new technology and new means of production; to articulate for and about cinema.

It will center on three axes:
  • Classic modes of production (35mm format)
  • New Technology, low-budget films and new production methods
  • New production logic; a new aesthetic?
It is first a question of definition; what binds and separates production and classic forms of expression from new approaches in the art of saying and doing.

It is then a matter of deciding: what are the specifics of this new model, based on new technology and which seem to be linked to high quality art, low budget and wide audiences.

What are the possibilities and constraints generated by these new technologies: the constraints not always having been a check or a limitation? “The lack of limitations is the enemy of art” - Orson Welles.

In this manner, if access to this new technology is relatively easy for filmmakers in Africa and the Arab world, foregoing training, screenings and the professional support of a producer often leads to notable concessions in terms of quality. Nigeria, with nearly 900 video films produced annually is often presented as proof that new technology offers opportunities to make films at reduced costs. But it also raises many questions about their artistic contribution and especially regarding what these films serve as a vehicle for (what these films are trying to convey.)

The profusion of films, made possible by the accessibility to digital production, is not the sole criteria for judging the vitality of a particular cinematography.

It is quality that is most important, without which filmmakers from our countries would not find their place in a globalized world. To make films here implies certain ethical and aesthetic choices.

Thus, the objective of this round table debate is to discuss the current trends that have become apparent in small national cinemas and to probe the evolution of the movie industry in the South and particularly that of Africa and the Arab world.

We must also envision and evaluate all the perspectives and opportunities offered by this new technology.

The experience of numerous low budget films merits appreciation, in as much as this work has broken that disenchanted circle devoted to the anonymity of independent, quality cinema.

The films scheduled in the section, Ireland and Africa, which is devoted to low-budget productions and which have often been made with new technology, will offer an opportunity to view films which, moving away from the norms of commercial production, in other words being exportable , announce the birth of new forms of production and open expression to the public.
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