‘The creation of a single world comes from a huge number of fragments and chaos.’
– Hayao Miyazaki
The opportunity of being involved in something important and impactful is a rare event into one’s life but when it happens it is a must to be recognised and act upon respectively. East Winds Film Festival will mark such moment in my subjective experience and I feel honoured for being a part of its organization. The whole preparation and execution is rich in emotional nuances, successes and fails, a crash between expectations and reality, an amalgam of nerves and excitement and a lot of field work and learning during the process. This mix was generously flavoured with time sensitiveness and setting realistic goals, being reasonable and resourceful. At the end of the day, it is true to be said that in order to experience something beautiful one should overcome few disappointments.
First lesson in participating in large scale events: it takes time to find the right place/position/role to perform. My journey in the unexplored land of film festivals started as part of production team, responsible for shooting Behind the Scenes film. The time spent on this task gave me some insights on the essentials of shooting BTS videos, as well as knowledge of creating formal proposal about our group’s idea and plan. However, the first small activity steps already had identified the biggest obstacle – coordination and collaboration between teams. The co-creation issue was almost overcome with the initiative to involve one representative from each department to work with others on specific tasks – my journey included few roadside stops of working on PR Stunt proposal and Intro for the Magazine Show. In my collaboration with other members I have always tried to be as professional as possible, researching and preparing my parts in advance, showing on time and actually trying to do some work. However, not everyone acts in the same manner and often late for meeting people, participants who come to meeting to drink their coffee or have a lunch only contributed to the overall stress. During this wandering and attempts to find the proper role I had experience my first failure to deal with my expectations of people to act as they care enough for the success of the event and not only about passing a module.
Second lesson in management and self-management: I learned that there is no existing management which works without any self- initiativeness. Group changed, roles shifted… ‘if you fail, fail fast’. The second period marked by the creation of new divisions and allocation of responsibilities felt like trying to jigsaw a puzzle – we had all the pieces but we were not sure how to combine them in order to achieve the final look. I had to jump the leap from the production department to become a head of the Creative team. ‘Great opportunity’, I was thinking while imagining how my inspiration spreads and spectacular film festival atmosphere is created… Not really. At this point I learn how inadequate is the attempt to fulfill everyone else’s expectations. Because I was stuck with no responses of the graphic designers, I felt responsible to work on t-shirts designs required by the Promotion team and leaflets needed by the Sponsorship team, while trying to collaborate with the Operations team about the gala opening, and… the results were unworthy. The overwhelming process and dissatisfying outcomes proven the need of further work on my self-managing skills. When it comes to social distribution of an event, one thing beyond any doubt is that equalizing imagination and capabilities is feeding unrealistic expectations which only makes the execution process harder.
Full attention and devotion will eventually place everything in order is the third lesson learned of being involved in film festival: yes, it definitely includes certain amount of chaos and the most useful guideline to deal with it is to do things with passion. Once I narrowed down the ideas which our creative strategy plan implies and once the physical preparation of models and samples grabbed me, there were no more shifting and wandering, only bettering. Excitement was turned into daily emotion – bunch of paper, wire and tape transforming into a lantern, or a lotus, or a peacock. But balance is always a requirement and a cold wave of perfectionism splashed my enthusiasm, made me question the importance of my work. Were these things good enough? Is handmade decoration something visitors expect to see at film festival? How are people going to experience these crafts?… However, everyone knows that doubts and fear have no place in such events; one should either do it or not do it at all, there is no in between.
Lesson number four: big goals have both up side and down side. It is characteristic of my personality and it clearly is being transferred on my professional attitude – my vision is often depicting exciting, spectacular, extraordinary experience and the unrealistic seek for divine grace is creating a vicious circle. Being involved in East Winds taught me that my head and hand should work in balance and after all the outside world only knows what have already been created and not what was the original grandiosity of an idea inside my mind. Probably the feeling of ‘what it could be’ will never fully leave my consciousness but I am also proud of what I did; even though there was this moment of hesitation how essential really was my work for the festival there is nothing as gratifying as someone who had just paid attention to the little details, or someone secretly admiring a floating over veils origami bird, or even someone who is impacted by the surrounding without even noticing it. The statuette for public award I designed, made of marble and granite is one of the finest things I have ever created; and what makes it even more precious is the attention invested in its creation, the delicate attitude towards it and mindfulness throughout the whole process. That is my mark, my fingerprint left after the end of East Winds 2017.
The most important and substantial lesson is in fact something quite simple: being respectful to the work of other people. ‘… artists need to fabricate and experiment both in laboratories and lived environments. […] By setting these ‘living experiments’ reality is both affected and reflected upon.’ Setting up the handmade decoration hours before the gala opening met some unpredicted challenges; even though that had increased the stress levels I experience it as part of the ‘living’ and actual professional environment where one has to take into account specific rules and regulations, as well as staff members’ willingness to collaborate and help. Furthermore, misunderstanding and gaps in the communication led to personal disappointment on the second festival day when I found out part of decoration taken down… ripped off. Being a crafter by all means one has developed self-respect which is naturally converted in respect to others; the links between someone’s attitude and someone else’s work became the perspective through which I perceive the event from that point on. It was surprising how sensitive and wounding the experience of disrespectful act can be when observed in variety of fields. Despite the frustration and anxiety my appreciation remains the same while the affect actually contributes to the acknowledgement of it. Looking back at East Winds and the preparation process, I can recognize the full worth of the effort and tireless work that the organizers put in it; I value the work and time that MA CCM students dedicate in certain areas of the event; I am grateful to have the privilege of being part of this course and thankful to those who made it possible for us to take part of the film festival organization; I respect the people and resources invested in the production of each film we were introduced to during the festival; I appreciate the involvement and help of external participants; I admire the passion and devotion of certain individuals thanks to whom the East Winds happened; and I also value the things I had created and my role in the festival.
Participating in event of such scale as East Winds film festival is a mixture of emotions, lessons, experiences and values which are too complex to be synthesized and put in words. With every look back, although it does not feel as something in the past yet, my mind finds new nuance; each flashback brings different texture; one cannot simply perceive such event, therefore express the experience of it as straight narrowed storyline. Just like some books we read and some films we watch for second time to find details we haven’t notice the first time. Being part of the festival organization taught me theory lessons in researching and evaluating information, writing strategy plans, including other members and their specific roles; it taught me even more practical lessons in being time sensitive, resourceful, enhanced my planning and self-managing skills, increased my attention to details and all of these while teaching me how to continue working and keep the quality of the work in stressful environment; it also taught me ethical and moral lessons and more importantly put me in situation when one cannot just stop when something is not happening as expected, teaching me how to alter my attitude, reshape and remodel my work and transform defects into effects (literally transforming the physical ones and figuratively the mental). Beyond the shadow of any doubt, the multilayered nature of the festival is going to reveal over the time extending its value and I am certain that there is more to be uncovered.