Thursday, June 01, 2006

Ekow Eshun Interview, London UK

Ekow Eshun is the Artistic Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. He is a contributor to BBC2's Friday night arts programme Newsnight Review and a former editor of Arena magazine. Filminute is pleased to announce that Ekow Eshun will participate as a member of the inaugural jury for Filminute 2006.

What makes a great film?
"A great film will turn light into solid. Film is intangible. It is not physical. But when we see a great film, a collection of flickering images turns into something real that lives inside people, stays with them, walks with them. With the greatest films, the random flickering images turn into myth.

Film is the most important art form of the modern era because it brings new beliefs along with it. While we may venerate film stars and the glamour of the film industry, beyond that we also take films into our body and into our world of understanding of hope, faith and belief.

For example, in any random order, let's say from King Kong to The Seventh Seal to Star Wars: with each of these films come new ways of understanding and experiencing the world. We change and expand because of these films in terms of our understanding of spirituality, war, death, love. An image, a set of ideas and ideals comes with a great film."

What makes a great one-minute film?
"A great one-minute film will last longer than a minute! Sometimes in a full-length film, you'll get one scene that resonates beyond the length of the full film. The one-minute film is the reverse of that; in one minute, a great one-minute film will capture an idea that stays with you far beyond one-minute.

The one-minute film is like a stained glass window: in one frame, in that one shot, you get the world."

As the Artistic Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, and as a long-standing commentator on contemporary culture, what strikes you about Filminute?
"Filminute catches up with the pace of the world.

Most new initiatives tend to replicate what was. For instance, we see festival after festival starting up and they all tend to be repeating themselves. Here (with Filminute), we are acknowledging the way people communicate and entertain themselves -- it has changed. Filminute is keeping up with that change. It is not trying to replicate the past. Filminute's form tries to make sense of the present."