On an early Thursday evening the vestibule in front of La Cité des Arts, a basement venue located by the Pont Marie, slowly became filled with a cross section of film enthusiasts for the latest Rencontres Kinoma. From young filmmakers, producers, actors, and cinephiles to seasoned professionals, Les Rencontres Kinoma is a place for those with a passion for film to meet and discuss, to watch and to learn.
Les Rencontres Kinoma is a monthly organized forum and meeting place that provides a truly unique evening for both the film industry veteran and novice enthusiast. The night starts out with the Master Class, an Inside the Actors Studio-esque sit-down with a film industry luminary (minus the Bernard Pivot ending Q&A). This past Thursday, the guest of honor was actor-director-writer-producer Patrick Braoudé, best known for his film Neuf Mois (1994), which later became the popular American incarnation Nine Months, starring Hugh Grant and Julianne Moore. Mr. Braoudé endeared an auditorium filled with eager ears with his multi faceted experience in the film industry. Speaking of his creative process and what it takes to stay true to a creative vision, Braoudé was both realistic and inspiring. Noting that the slightest sound or change of light can make all the difference in a film, he underlined an often ignored precept in mainstream cinema, that details matter.
Beyond the Master Class, every Rencontres Kinoma is presided over by the Parrain de la Soirée, or the Godfather of the night. Lucky for this writer that the Godfather of the night this past Thursday was none other than Georges Bermann, the illustrious producer of such mind-blowingly fantastic Michel Gondry projects as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Be Kind Rewind and The Science of Sleep. Although interviewed briefly, Mr. Bermann shared illuminating tidbits and practical advice with the audience. One such bit of shared wisdom was that a filmmaker should be able to pitch his or her film in two sentences, or the time it takes to quickly exchange pleasantries with a co-worker in a workplace hallway. Any fan of Michel Gondry knows that this piece of advice seems slightly impossible (The plot of Eternal Sunshine in 2 sentences anyone?!) However, the key to his musings underlined the fact that young professionals in the film industry must be able to market their projects in a concrete way.
While the first part of the evening was dedicated to the established film industry professional, the second part, and perhaps the most exciting, was the showing of 5 short films by young and in most cases unknown filmmakers. The short films were screened followed directly by a Q&A with the directors. At the end of the night, audience members vote for their favorite film, the winner then entered into the end of year Kinoma film competition, with a monetary prize going to the overall winning filmmaker. Standouts Thursday evening were Farid Ismail’s The Mammy, about a gun totting, crime fighting granny and JC Cader’s The Amazing Adventures of Lars Jensen, a fable like tale of a geek’s revenge Both films were funny, smart and conveyed an accomplished esthetic sensibility.
My friend Ismini, a lover of movies but a short film newbie, accompanied me to Thursday's Rencontres Kinoma skeptical of what the evening might have in store for her. She came out of the Master Class and Projection energized by the discussion and the humorous, touching and dramatic shorts that were projected, going to show that Les Rencontres Kinoma is not just for the cinephile or industry professional but for anyone looking for an insightful and entertaining night off the beaten path.
Les Rencontres Kinoma occurs once a month, and it’s worth noting that there are cocktail breaks throughout the evening to mingle and drink.
Les Rencontres Kinoma
La Cité des Arts
18 Rue de l'Hôtel de Ville 750004 Paris
Métros: Pont-Marie & Saint-Paul