CloseUp Film Festival
My graduation project is the production and design of an event: CloseUp, a film festival celebrating students in the Netherlands. In its competition screenings, it showcases audiovisual graduation projects from 2022 and 2023 and focuses on creating learning opportunities for the students and connecting them to the industry ,lowering the barriers to entry and giving more diverse works the chance to be seen by their audience!
The festival will take place in September in Rotterdam, at the Cinerama Cinema in Westblaak. For this project, I alternated between being a festival director; designing the visual identity of the event; producing the festival in its most practical terms such as funding, planning and organizing volunteers and socials.
The festival is a continuation of my work through the years at the academy as the student initiative I created, the MovieClub, grew more and more into a community space for students to meet and share their passion about films, and I continued organizing small screenings in Rotterdam, I found my passion for producing and curating.
My decision to work on an event came from a perceived gap in the industry: while there are many festivals in the Netherlands and some that accept student films, if a filmmaker finds a festival that does shows students works, they are often outliers, the initiative
is not designed around them. Most students can’t have their works shown at a festival, and talented creators are left to feel unprepared or unnoticed. Often, they enter the industry without the chance to go through the professional experience of showing your work in front of a large audience. The barrier to entry is high, while for those who manage to get their films shown, the advantages are many.
I hope Closeup can position itself as a hub for those young filmmakers whose work didn’t fit in any major festival, or who didn’t get a chance to show their work despite its qualities, for them to find an audience and for professionals to see the work that is being made and the people entering the industry.
Dropped in the deep end
The common threads in the visual identity for the festival is the idea of being suddenly dropped in the deep end of the industry and embracing imperfections. As such, collage and stop motion where chosen as recurring techniques when designing all the elements of the festival, from the programs, to badges and posters.
In the animated bumper that will play before each screening, a newly graduated student suddenly finds themselves from 2D to stop motion, falling in a deep pool and unsure about their future, until the festival logo helps float to back to the surface.
A large part of my research was spent looking at other festivals, trying to learn from them and to find what effects their design choices where having, to then adapt or not into my own work in order to create an event which is specifically designed to encourage networking and celebrate students.
My theoretical process was heavily influenced by the concept of the Etc.-Artist, which Ricardo Basbaum describes in the book “The Next Documenta should be curated by an artist” as an artist who questions the nature of their role, associating themselves with another discipline, such as writer-artist or a curator-artist. He goes on to explain: “I see the etc.-artist as a further development of the “multimedia-artist” that emerged in the mid-1970s, […] when artists curate, they cannot avoid mixing their artistic investigations with the proposed curatorial project.”
In my research, I wanted to understand my own positioning as a curator-artist and how that influenced my work, what me being also an artist added to the design of Closeup and how that was going to impact my choice as I was entering the industry myself. I looked at the artist collective ruangrupa, who curated the previous Decumenta 15 exhibition in Kassels, and worked on understanding my own direction as an artist who produces and curates events.
All my choices were made in response to my research, as I was both exploring my own vision and how that vision would impact my current project.
If you are a graduated student from any av school in the Netherlands or you’re interested in volunteering at Closeup, you can submit your film and find more information on the website closeupfestival.com and keep an eye on the Instagram page @closeupfilmfestival. Hope to see you in September!