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CONFERENCE

WELCOME NOTE

After 15 years of watching, selecting, screening, awarding, supporting, producing, and distributing short films, we feel the time has come for IN THE PALACE to add yet another strand to its diverse program of festival activities – one devoted to supporting short films become recognized and institutionalized as a genre sui generis.

Building on our experience of regular Q&A sessions, talks, masterclasses and workshops, for our 16th edition in September 2019, we are approaching the idea from two directions: research and professional networking.

A STUDY: With the intention to initiate debate, stir critical thinking, and extend the reach of short films, we commissioned an extensive study of the short film genre, complemented by comparative analyses of six films from our selection for the 15th edition of IN THE PALACE. We are now pleased to present Ivanka Shisheva’s work and share it with our audiences.

A CONFERENCE: In addition, as part of the FILMER FORGE program of the festival, we are organizing a two-day interdisciplinary international conference entitled THE SHORT FILM: A GENRE SUI GENERIS to bring together film professionals and academia who otherwise work in isolation on film theory or create short film works, to look at themes, trends, issues, and the perception of contemporary short films. Presentations and discussions will be centered around yet another six short films from the latest selection of IN THE PALACE.

Hoping to develop the above into long-term annual initiatives of IN THE PALACE International Short Film Festival, I invite you to familiarize yourselves with the texts and opportunities to contribute, join the festival, and be part of a community of like-minded people shaping the future of the short film.

Looking forward to meeting you in Varna in September!

Tsanko Vasilev

Director

IN THE PALACE International Short Film Festival

July 2019

THE SHORT FILM: A GENRE SUI GENERIS

THE SHORT FILM: A GENRE SUI GENERIS

an international interdisciplinary conference

 

As part of the FILMER FORGE program of its 16th edition, IN THE PALACE International Short Film Festival is organizing a two-day interdisciplinary international conference entitled THE SHORT FILM: A GENRE SUI GENERIS to take place in the seaside city of Varna, Bulgaria on 21 – 22 September 2019.

The event will be devoted to the short film genre and will be focused on the themes, trends, issues, and perception of contemporary short films. Over two full conference days PhD/MA/BA students involved in the study of film, literature, journalism, etc., will have the opportunity to present their critical insights on 6 short films from the latest (2019/16th) selection of IN THE PALACE. Participating young researchers will be led by their university lecturers/mentors (3 international and 3 from Bulgaria) who will also be invited to make short introductory talks on the work of their students on the selection of shorts and possibly on any of their professional/academic work on the genre of the short film. The event will end with a panel discussion between selected conference and festival participants. All sessions will be streamed online and recorded on video to be kept on archive. The conference proceedings will be posted on the festival’s blog and further published in a thematic collection to be distributed among academia and the short film industry. After the event, high impact factor journals will be contacted to explore the possibility of including the texts in thematic issues devoted to short films.

The film selection will be sent out to participating mentors and students in advance to prepare their analysis and presentations over the summer period. It is envisaged that the presentations and the introductory talks by mentors will be up to 15 minutes long. The working languages of the conference are Bulgarian and English.

The purpose of the conference is to create an interdisciplinary working space bringing together young and established academics from the fields of film, literature, language, etc. exploring and offering their renditions of a shared material and initiating an enriching debate on the genre of the short film.

The festival will cover the mentors’ travel, accommodation and subsistence costs and the accommodation and subsistence costs for students. Ideally students should be able to apply for travel grants at their respective universities.

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PROGRAMME

 

 

DAY ONE: 21 September, Saturday

11:00 – 11:05     Welcome and opening, Tsanko Vasilev, Director IN THE PALACE

11:05 – 11:45     Ivanka Shisheva, The Genre of the Short & Setting the context

 

11:45 – 12:00     Coffee break

 

12:00 – 12:15     Ognian Kovachev, Literature, Cinema and Visual Culture MA Program, Sofia University

Introduction

12:15 – 12:30     Irina Karakehayova, Literature, Cinema and Visual Culture MA Program, Sofia University

Political and football context and their interplay in Maradona’s Legs by Firas Khoury

12:30 – 12:45     Orieta Antova, Literature, Cinema and Visual Culture MA Program, Sofia University

Parents-children or a social circle outside the comfort zone in Beyond the Tide and Pigeonberry

12:45 – 13:00     Polina Pencheva, Literature, Cinema and Visual Culture MA Program, Sofia University

Stolen happiness, archetypal and psychological concepts of maturity in Mum’s Hairpins

 

13:00 – 15:00     Lunch break

 

15:00 – 15:15     Sirin Erensoy, Kadir Has University

Introduction

15:15 – 15:30     Ezgi Topçu, Kadir Has University

Journey back from loss: facing trauma in Pigeonberry, Beyond the Tide and Mum’s Hairpins

15:30 – 15:45     David Kokonchev, National Music Academy, Bulgaria

Timbre dramaturgy in the soundtrack of a short film

15:45 – 16:00     Coffee break

 

 

16:00 – 16:15     Rita Capucho, University of Coimbra

Introduction

16:15 – 16:30     Melanie Pereira, Universidade da Beira Interior

                               Women in the short film genre: a short representation

16:30 – 16:45     Lucas Tavares, Universidade da Beira Interior

                               Where does the particularity lie?

16:45 – 17:00     Ana Castro, University of Aveiro

                               Cinema as a social weapon/the ammunition: the short film

 

 

DAY TWO: 22 September, Sunday

 

11:00 - 11:15      Sean Homer, American University in Bulgaria

Introduction

11:15 – 11:30     Yoanna Dimova, American University in Bulgaria

Death in Beyond the Tide, Mum's Hairpins and Skin: a vehicle bringing intimacy to the viewer and clashing with the classical narrative

11:30 – 11:45     Nathan Bernacki, American University in Bulgaria

The use of radio in Vaca, Skin, and Maradonna’s Legs

 

11:45 – 12:00     Coffee break

 

12:00 – 12:20     Zelma Catalan, Sofia University

Plot and story in short fiction on page and screen: beginnings and openings

12:20 – 13:00     Case Study: The short film Millimeterle by Pascal Reinman, Iv. Shisheva & P. Reinmann

 

13:00 – 15:00     Lunch break

 

15:00 – 16:00     Panel discussion

16:00 – 16.30     Coffee break

16:30 – 17:00     Roundup and evaluation

 

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THE MODERATOR

FILMER FORGE 2019

Ivanka Shisheva is a philologist (Czech, Bulgarian, English and American studies, Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski"), freelance translator, teacher, and cinephile. She has earned her translating experience mainly through translating media and cinema products. Her infatuation with (dating back to early youth) and semi-professional interest in films have inspired her to elaborate on her knowledge in film and film adaptation theory. She has devoted her last year mainly to exploring the genre of the short films, its definitions, examples, tendencies, etc. She has publications of literary and film analysis.

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PARTICIPANTS:

THE MENTORS

Ognian Kovachev

FILMER FORGE 2019

Ognyan Kovachev is Associate Professor of Comparative Literary History and Founding Co-director of the “Literature, Cinema and Visual Culture” Master’s Degree Program at the Faculty of Slavic Studies of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. He is the author of The Gothic Novel: Genealogy, Genre, Aesthetics, Sofia: Ednorog, 2004; Literature and Identity: Transfigurations of Alterity: Sofia University Press, 2005; essays and articles in the fields of Comparative literature, Bulgarian Literature, Gothic Studies, Film Studies and Film Adaptation Studies, Literature and Nationalism and Translation Studies. Currently he is working on the monograph The Book and the Film in the Western Literary Canon in the area of Film Adaptation Studies.

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Rita Capucho

FILMER FORGE 2019

Rita Capucho is a film festival director, programmer and producer. She is co-director of the Porto Femme International Film Festival and programmer of the Porto Femme Sessions. She is PhD student in Artistic Studies, specializing in Film and Image Studies at the University of Coimbra. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Art Studies from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Coimbra. She is a member of the Working Group on Artistic Currents and Intellectual Movements of the CEIS20 – Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of the 20th Century of the University of Coimbra and the group Image, Art, Ethics and Society of the Federal University of Pará. She was one of the founding members of the AVANCA | CINEMA – International Cinema Conference – Art, Technology, Communication and editorial producer of the International Journal of Cinema. She has been a jury member at several international and national film festivals; she belongs to the organization of the São Tomé Festfilm. Rita is a member of the Poetic Group of Aveiro and she organizes the Poetry Slam Aveiro, as well as other events related to poetry. She was a programmer at Dolce Vita’s Ovar Cinema, at The Thursdays of Cinema of the Movie Theater of Estarreja and at The Films of Our Tuesdays of Aveiro Theater.

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Sean Homer

FILMER FORGE 2019

Sean Homer is Professor of Film and Literature at the American University in Bulgaria, where he teaches courses in Film Criticism, History, Memory and Narrative in Contemporary Balkan Cinema as well as Modernism, Postmodern Literature and Psychoanalysis. He is author of Fredric Jameson: Marxism, Hermeneutics, Postmodernism (Polity Press 1998), Jacques Lacan (Routledge 2004) and Slavoj Žižek and Radical Politics (2016). He is co-editor (with Douglas Kellner) of Fredric Jameson: A Critical Reader (Palgrave Macmillan 2005). He is currently completing a book on History and Cultural Trauma in Balkan Cinema.

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Şirin Erensoy

FILMER FORGE 2019

Şirin Erensoy wrote her PhD dissertation on the subversion of generic conventions in contemporary French cinema. Her academic interests lie in cinematic genre studies, the use of video as an alternative media practice and (trans)national cinemas. She has directed several short films and documentaries and has more recently been working as a local producer for international productions with a leg in İstanbul. Furthermore, she is a guest lecturer at the Faculty of Communication of Kadir Has University.

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Zelma Catalan

FILMER FORGE 2019

Dr. Zelma Catalan is a former member of the Department of English and American Studies, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Bulgaria, where she was Associate Professor of English Literature and Stylistics and co-Director of the MA in Translation. She has taught courses on Victorian Literature, Translation, Stylistics, Popular Fiction on Page and Screen, Genre and Style in Translation, and others. She is the author of a full-length study The Politics of Irony in Thackeray’s Mature Fiction (Sofia 2009) and Wonderful Divergencies: Tellability in Dickens’s First-Person Novels (forthcoming). She has published extensively on Victorian literature, narrative and fictionality, style and discourse in literary and non-literary texts. Her publications cover works by Victorian and some more recent British novelists. Dr. Zelma Catalan has lectured in the Universities of Lille, France, Bamberg, Germany, Roehampton, UK. She has presented papers at a number of national and international conferences and has contributed to published volumes. She was a visiting lecturer at the University of Leeds, UK, and a visiting professor at SUNY, Albany.

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THE STUDENTS

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Irina Karakehayova, Literature, Cinema and Visual Culture MA Program, Sofia University, Bulgaria 

FILMER FORGE 2019

Political and football context and their interplay in Maradona’s Legs

The presentation discusses the different levels of denotation in the film Maradona’s Legs by Firas Khouri in the context of football and Palestine’s history. It analyzes the phenomenon of being a fan through R. Barthe’s A Lover's Discourse: Fragments and seeks connections with the feeling of belonging and the attitude to the country of birth. An attempt is made to decipher the visual code to uncover the hidden messages of the director.

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Orieta Antonova, Literature, Cinema and Visual Culture MA Program, Sofia University, Bulgaria

FILMER FORGE 2019

Parents-children or a social circle outside the comfort zone in Beyond the Tide and Pigeonberry

Focused on the short films Beyond the Tide and Pigeonberry, the presentation discusses the generic and specific characteristics of the two cinematic works. In terms of dramaturgy and imagery, they go beyond the visible, delving deep into the laboratory of the subconscious. The focus is on child-parent relationship in a situation of family crisis. The children, as protagonists, play a major part in defining the style of the entire film presence that adds a specific nuancing to the wealth of meaning and plasticity of the artistic synthesis. In Beyond the Tide, in the perfectly staged “clash” between father and daughter, there is blurring of boundaries between dream and reality, truth and deception, guilt and revelation. While in Pigeonberry, naturalistic realism is combined with metaphors of old-times wisdom where each soul has its own fate.

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Polina Pencheva, Literature, Cinema and Visual Culture MA Program, Sofia University, Bulgaria 

FILMER FORGE 2019

Stolen happiness, archetypal and psychological concepts of maturity in Mum's Hairpins

Coming to age through a stage of initiation and catharsis, and the transformation to a new social role, are processes, which can be challenged and terminally disrupted by circumstances such as war. Such circumstances usually cause traumas and the only attempt to save oneself would be the denial of reality and living in a magic fairy tale. The archetypal concepts of human existence become the basis of the plot in the short film Mum’s Hairpins. The attempted escape from the “bloody” past and the forcefully stolen happiness become a reason for the protagonist to go through the process of initiation too early in his life… Will he be able to complete the process when loneliness and nightmares are closely following him?

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Ezgi Topçu, Kadir Has University, Turkey

FILMER FORGE 2019

Journey back from loss: facing trauma in Pigeonberry, Beyond the Tide and Mum's Hairpins

The portrayal of trauma in cinema has been a topic of debate among scholars; can trauma even be represented? The debates surrounding this issue have led to a ‘crisis in representation’.

The Holocaust no doubt can be viewed as one of the most traumatic events of modern history, and any film about the Holocaust faces the dilemma of having to represent the un-representable. Mum’s Hairpins relates the survival of a young boy after facing a terrible loss within the context of the Holocaust. The visual aesthetics used and formal choices made to represent the traumatic event witnessed and the personal loss faced by the protagonist will be subject to this presentation, by referencing debates surrounding the representation of collective trauma. 

Furthermore, the presentation will delve into the more personal experiences of the protagonists of Beyond the Tide and Pigeonberry, wherein tragic losses are at stake. The analysis will bring to light the visual dimensions of a journey through the mind where working through trauma in order to overcome psychological distress (Beyond the Tide); and the world of fantasy in reconciling a father-son relationship in order to fight with an incomprehensible illness with an inevitable tragic end (Pigeonberry).

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David Kokonchev, National Music Academy, Bulgaria

FILMER FORGE 2019

Timbre dramaturgy in the soundtrack of a short film

The short form is often being neglected among the arts. We consider the short story a “light” one; the miniature in music was received terribly when it first emerged; in the fine arts, it is widely regarded as a street exhibition form, rather than a high-end gallery one. And the genre of the short film is… non-existent, in the minds of most people. It is perceived more as a form that is hidden in the shadow of the feature film, than a separate genre. This mindset has an inevitable impact on the way we approach the short form’s means of expression, one of which, of course, is music. What separates a short film’s soundtrack from that of a feature film and how the dramaturgy of timbres and the way we go about them could help push the establishment of the form as a genre on its own. What is different about the short form in terms of its soundtrack’s leitmotifs and themes? Why is timbre the most important tool of expression in film music and how is that manifested in the genre of the short? We will seek some answers in some of the films from the official selection of the 16th IN THE PALACE International Short Film Festival.

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Melanie Pereira, University of Beira Interior, Portugal

 FILMER FORGE 2019

Women in the short film genre: a short representation

As part of an international interdisciplinary conference on the short film genre, and based on seven fictional short-films selected for said conference, the present study will discuss the female characters in these short-films. Throughout the films, directed by male and female directors, we find ourselves in the very short presence of six wives and mothers, who’s importance varies from plot device to plot insignificance, and solely one bold female lead character. The diversity in these women is apparently non-existent and restricts them to conform to stereotypes still too often present in films. While female characters usually have a difficult time to establish themselves, their development is simply non-existent, even impossible in these examples – they are condemned to be background characters. This study will therefore discuss the lack of representation, the recurring stereotypes, and the short or non-existent relevance to the story of female characters.

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Lucas Tavares, University of Beira Interior, Portugal

FILMER FORGE 2019

Where does the particularity lie?

In a work of art, what exactly allows us to differentiate between medium and genre? Its language. Film language is diverse enough for different genres to exist. Different words such as close-up or long-shot take on different meanings in different genres; a zoom in a Drama is completely different from a zoom in a Horror movie. If cinema allows this linguistic difference within genres, then we should be able to note it in the sum of its linguistic richness: the narrative structure. If we understand that the relief work of the Trajan's Column has enabled a completely different narrative structure from paintings and sculptures depicting the same episode, or that the narrative structure of Jonas Mekas' films offers us a completely different look on immigration when compared to other documentaries, then why, when we study the short-film as a genre, don’t we look for the films that allow us to witness new proposals of narrative structures outside of the structure of three acts, which invades film theatres on a daily basis? Why don’t we look for these short films, which maybe contain that one differential particularity that is so much talked about when opposed to feature films?

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Ana Castro, University of Aveiro, Portugal

 FILMER FORGE 2019

Cinema as a social weapon/the ammunition: the short film

This article aims to understand the potential impact that cinema can have as an agent of social change, and specifically how the format of the short-film can more concretely achieve it. Visual stories, of whatever kind and genre, will have a greater power at stimulating a response from the viewer, as well as amplifying the voice of the teller. What role will cinema, through short-films, play in changing social paradigms? Based on the analysis of a sample of 7 short-films from 3 different continents (Europe, Asia and America), this study proposes to understand if there is an amplification of the effect of this weapon, cinema, which the directors and/or screenwriters have in their power, to “be part of the change,” using the short-film as ammunition.

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Yoanna Dimova, American University in Bulgaria

 FILMER FORGE 2019

Death in Beyond the Tide, Mum's Hairpins and Skin: a vehicle bringing intimacy to the viewer and clashing with the classical narrative

Beyond the Tide, Mum’s Hairpins and Skin are short films, which concern themes of close human relationships. These relationships can be found everywhere in everyday life and thus the viewer becomes more than a mere observer; he engages himself in the story by relating the characters, their encounters and choices to his own life. Films have always been thought to serve as a way to escape reality; however, the topics that short films and these in particular observe bring more intimacy to the viewer compared to the conventional contemporary full-length cinema releases. What is more, the theme of death is persistent in the three films and serves as a vehicle to both shock the audience and change the classical narrative. Death is a topic that is very sensitive and in such intimate films it is used in a thought-out manner, in order to become the trigger for the development or resolution of the events in the storyline.

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Nathan Bernacki, American University in Bulgaria

FILMER FORGE 2019

The use of radio in Vaca, Skin, and Maradonna’s Legs

In films that feature little to no music, radio is often substituted in as a way to break the silence.  Its place in film tends to be in the auditory background, and is perceived as one with the setting. However, the function of a radio is much more than merely existing as a scene’s audio backdrop.  Radio can be utilized to creatively “paint the blank canvas” left by an absence of music. The films Skin, Vaca, and Maradonna’s Legs showcase the diverse cinematic functions of radio’s presence in film, often inviting the audience to see what is not shown.