Imagine you’re surrounded by one of the bluest seas, fed delicious seafood while watching breath-taking sunsets, and discuss story arcs and characters’ motivations over a few glasses of ouzo, Greece’s traditional anise-flavoured drink. It may sound like paradise, but it’s actually hard work too if you’re a scriptwriter, filmmaker or producer attending a full immersion program that can bring your film to the next level. So imagine again all the above, shaken with pitching sessions, screenwriting consultations, rewritings and revisions, lectures and training activities… for 12 days straight. And this is just the beginning.
As I am writing this, it’s not even been a week since I am back from the first session of the Mediterranean Film Institute Script 2 Film Workshops on the Greek island of Nisyros. After my participation last year, the training program for script and project development of European and international feature films invited me to come back and run again a double workshop plus a public masterclass with two selected projects from this year’s line-up.
I had a great time working with Cyprus-based writer/director Stelana Kliris, who is currently working on her second feature The Islander, as well as writer/director Ainhoa Menéndez and producer Daniel Méndez from Mano Negra Films, a Spanish team developing a project entitled Daydreamers. As per my MFI usual format “Connecting Stories: From Scripts to Audiences”, on 27 June I worked with the participants on a 3-hour workshop on each project, and the next day I ran a masterclass on films and audience engagement presenting the outcome of those sessions.
In-between my activities, I had the opportunity to exchange ideas with some great international trainers who joined the MFI team this year, including producer Simón De Santiago and Power to The Pixel’s founder Liz Rosenthal. See, what makes these sessions so special to me is their informal structure: business conversations and in-depth chat about the current state (and the future) of the audio-visual industry can happen very naturally over spaghetti with prawns at lunch, while going for a swim or while walking into the island’s volcano at sunset.
As far as the participants are concerned, after this session in Nisyros they’ll have plenty of work to do over the summer to prepare for the second residency on the island of Rhodes in October. So keep up with the good work you all!