Learning Film and Criticism in Film Criticism Workshop FFD 2017


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This year, Lokakarya Kritik Film (Film Criticism Workshop) presented for the first time in Festival Film Dokumenter 2017. This workshop conducted as a response on a necessity of our cinema right now, it is film literation. FFD feels the need to educate people on film assessment to be able to develop the capacity of film appreciation activist.

In its implementation, FFD invited Cinema Poetica to work together to succeed the program. Through the application that opened on October 25 – November 10, 2017, the festival team had chosen 40 candidates and eventually selecting it to be seven participants. They are from different city in Indonesia with different backgrounds, professions, and experiences.

For five days on 10-14 December 2017, the workshop took place at Langgeng Art Foundation. The participants offered by several topics related to film and documentary. The topics were delivered by Adrian Jonathan Pasaribu (Cinema Poetica), Ayu Diah Cempaka (FFD), and two guest presenters Thomas Barker (University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus) and Akbar Yumni (Forum Lenteng).

The workshop was divided to 4 sessions from 09.00 until 17.00. The participants are required to write a review about the films screened in the festival to be discussed in the next day. Therefore, the participants will get direct lesson through practice and evaluation.

Before getting into the topic related to film criticism, the participants were introduced to film ecosystem. This topic delivered with the purpose of telling that film is not only something to watch. It is because of there are series of process and bureaucracy that determining, utility, availability, and affordability of film in public space. Film ecosystem consists of production, distribution, exhibition, appreciation, education, and film archive.

After introduced to film and its world, the participants were invited to know more about film criticism. According to Adrian, criticism is something that reflected people’s daily life. One form of criticism towards film is film review. In writing film review, the writer is required to pay attention to three components; they are content, concept, and context. These three then poured through description and opinion in the film review.

FFD 2017 | Kelas Kritik

In a review, the content contain various scene, sound, and expression that exist in the film, and also contains audio visual elements arrangement of the film. Then, the concept contains of story-telling logic and film internal, also story patterns of the film. Meanwhile the context can be poured by comparing the film with other creation, measuring film offer in the context of an era or relating it with certain issue. Main reference of film review is the film itself, not the context. “So, when we want to give opinion, find the evidence to strengthen it, through various elements in the film itself,” said Adrian in one of the session.

The workshop was also emphasizing the participants to express their opinion towards film honestly. “Your writing is your perspective,” said Ayu. According to Ayu, representing other audience’s perspective in a review is considered a fatal thing. This can be happened when the writing in only representing the same audience’s opinion. It’s because, review is portraying its writer’s opinion. So, review writer is expected to be not assumptive towards film they watched, or other audience’s assumption toward the film.

Besides giving lessons related to review film writing, Film Criticism Workshop was also discussing about Indonesian film history. The discussion was guided by Thomas by requesting the participants to describe Indonesian film scene situation and its important moment in certain decade. The conclusion of the discussion showed that sustainability of film ecosystem in one certain time and certain place is affected by various factors, as example politics, economy, and cultural. The discussion was not only about Indonesian film history, but also discussed about documentary film development from time to time.

FFD 2017 | Kelas Kritik

Not only that, the participants were also offered the topics about reality in fiction and documentary film. When fiction film is rebuilding or remaking a reality, documentary is only processing the reality. The processing of the reality is then having various forms so documentary divided to several traditions. One of it is experimental documentary tradition which emphasizing on cinematography technical novelty in the documentary. “Experimental Documentary accentuating on the form and how cinematography becomes way to see reality,” said Akbar.

The discussion was happened throughout the session of the workshop. Besides learning session and evaluation by the expert, the participants were also invited to watch various type of documentary and requested to express their opinion about the films. Therefore, the participants can practice more to give proper criticism and still based on evidences that showed in the film.

FFD 2017 | Kelas Kritik

After the workshop ended, all of the participants required to revise one article they’ve wrote and discussed it with the presenters. Their article will be posted on Cinema Poetica and FFD’s web page.

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