In our first Meet the Jury feature of 2017, we bring to you Kate Domaille—a highly-esteemed film studies professor from our IES Abroad London Center who we're very excited to welcome to our Film Festival jury. Read on to hear her perspective on filmmaking, and her words of wisdom for young creatives!
Film Studies, IES Abroad London Faculty
IES Abroad: Why is London a great place to study film?
Kate Domaille: London has a strong and vibrant film culture. The annual London Film Festival brings glamour to town, showcasing more than 250 films in 16 days from the best of Hollywood to the most interesting Indie, National, or Global Cinema. Additionally, with a strong and vibrant independent cinema culture, it’s possible to see new and prize-winning films from Europe and beyond in all kinds of interesting settings.
IES Abroad: What skills do you hope your students take away from your film course(s)?
KD: In addition to becoming adept film viewers and readers, I hope students take away a desire to watch beyond the mainstream and to know cinema as a living, breathing art, constantly developing. I want them to become curious about cinema and to understand it actively. I hope students will extend their love of cinema and learn about form, style, and process along the way.
IES Abroad: Which of your film-related accomplishments do you feel the most proud of?
KD: I am primarily a film educator and my work at IES Abroad London is focused around the study of film rather than filmmaking. I’ve been most proud of bringing students forward from mildly interested in film (and frankly for some naughty students them ticking a box that they think is an easy option) to very focused, engaged, and critical viewers.
My favorite experiences have been opening students’ eyes to less mainstream cinema. Last year, I took a group to see an Icelandic film about sheep-farming. They were unconvinced with the write-up in advance of the viewing, but found the film provoked good discussion about the role of film festivals in promoting new work and in showcasing the talents of directors and writers who work in different traditions and who explore new ideas. For emerging filmmakers, they see the value of working in short form, and the role and purpose of festivals for distribution.
IES Abroad: What is the role of film today for young travelers? Are there any unique or powerful ways you see your students utilizing film and video abroad?
KD: Film is not a ‘window on the world’; after all, it is a representation that’s been crafted and produced. But film can provide new ways of thinking about ideas, it can be artistic, creative, and show social and cultural values in flux.
IES Abroad: If a young filmmaker is interested in getting involved in the film industry of their study abroad host city, how would they go about finding a relevant group or industry professional?
KD: I try to link students to festivals, events, and special screenings whilst visiting London. Showing enthusiasm and knowledge are key building blocks networking and developing their own work. The wider the students think about film, the more likely they are to make a splash into the industry later, confident in their knowledge and understanding.
IES Abroad: What advice would you give to young filmmakers today?
KD: Watch as much as you can -–watch broadly and watch closely. Turn off other distractions. Respect the film as a piece of craft – every bit as much as you would want others to watch yours! Make films. Start with photographs or screenplays. Students should approach their studies by doing more than they need to, by following directions that don’t have obvious or immediate outcomes (but are interesting nevertheless),and by being ambitious.
IES Abroad: How would you condense the spirit of study abroad into one word?