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Leon van der Merwe
Leon van der Merwe established the Cape Winelands Film Festival (CWFF) in 2008. Since the first edition CWFF has significantly grown in size and international participation and is now one of the largest film festivals in South Africa.
Leon was instrumental in organising several retrospectives of South African cinema at international events. During 1992 and 1996 he arranged a retrospective at the Free University of Brussels, as well as a photo exhibition. During 1994 he organised a focus on South African cinema for the Giffoni International Film Festival.
Since 2006 Leon has played a key role in several South African film festivals including the Apollo Film festival. The 2006 edition of the festival included the first ever international youth jury at a South African film festival. During 2007 Leon established a film festival component for Small Karoo National Film Festival (KKNK).
CWFF aims to build a rich film culture among South African audiences by celebrating great achievements of the past and the present. During the first edition, the oeuvres of giants of the cinema such as Ingmar Bergman, Youssef Chahine and Ousmane Sembene have been highlighted. The intension is to create an awareness of past and present milestones in world cinema.
'The Film Festival Academy has a great potential to become a truly valid platform for creative film festival professionals willing to share knowledge and experience on a collaborative basis. This initiative should be welcomed with enthusiasm and excitement.'
'The role of the film festival in today's digital world is constantly being re-evaluated and debated, but it's clear that film festivals are still as relevant and important as they have ever been. The Film Festival Academy should provide an important focus for the rich and diverse amount of film festivals in the world while giving festival practitioners an important outlet for networking and collaboration.'
'The new Film Festival Academy initiative is to be very much welcomed by all film festival professionals and anyone interested and involved in the increasingly central role played by film festivals in the international cinema industry; this is definitely the right thing at the right time and promises to be an exciting and important development that will be of great service to all of us working in the film festival arena.'
'The unswerving positive response from film festivals, professionals and academics regarding the launch of the Film Festival Academy comes as no surprise. Sharing between academia and industry is essential in developing highly-trained film professionals and we look forward to the collaboration between film schools, film institutes, festivals and other film industry partners through this unique platform.'
'The creation of the Film Festival Academy is a very important step in the ongoing process of consolidation and exchange on the European festival scene. I wish all possible success to this important initiative.'
'The Film Festival Academy has my full support. It is amazing that in a market overflowing with all kinds of professional training it has taken until today to come up with a simple and great idea: high level opportunities for the exchange of ideas and programmes for learning more about the complex art and the technical skills of running a film festival. Anybody who has participated in any of the rather dubious endeavours that were made in this field before will appreciate the non-profit approach of the Film Festival Academy; anybody who knows its founders will trust their professional knowledge and personal integrity. I will support the Film Festival Academy in every possible way.'
'The Film Festival Academy offers a much needed interchange of views between filmmakers, festival programmers and academics doing research on film festivals. That this interchange takes place not in the academy but at festivals themselves will be a huge boon to film festival scholarship and to an important sharing and deepening of the perspective of those interested in not only theorizing but also intervening in the continued growth of these events which play such a crucial part in the disseminating of a global cinema and in the breaking down of commerical barriers.'
'Do Film Festivals need an Academy in this day and age? The answer is, resoundingly, yes! A complex mixture of the professional and the cultural, the economic and the cinephilic, film festivals today are increasingly complex beasts – and no festival is an island unto itself. Connected in a tight web of international exchanges, comparisons and manœuvres, festivals are all about giving value to particular films or particular types of films – and finding, or creating, the audiences for them. The new Film Festival Academy is ideally placed to integrate the already widely scattered field of researches, discussions, trainings and co-operative interrelationships occurring within and between the literally thousands of film festivals in the modern globe. It is a new world on every level – from the challenge of projection formats to the politics of curating – and the Film Festival Academy will open the doors to it.'
'The inauguration of the Film Festival Academy brings important and long overdue attention to film festivals as cultural locations for the traffic in filmmaking, from glitterati events with red carpets, to those that shed light on human rights abuses, to the world-building projects of activist communities.'
'To focus on film festivals, not in opposition to but in articulation with critical and scholarly thought, is what world cinema needs in order to be understood in all its complexity. The Film Festival Academy deserves our applause and support for providing, for the first time, a common platform for festival professionals, critics and passionate spectators.'
'The enormous growth of film festivals – in number, location, diversity, and artistic influence – is accelerating by the day. But not until now has their importance to global culture been matched by an organization with the cinematic acumen, media savvy, networking skills, and expert leadership needed to provide top-level support, training, information, and connectivity for participants in all areas of festival activity, from programmers and publicists to filmmakers, academics, and critics. The arrival of the Film Festival Academy is the most exciting development in years for moving-image professionals everywhere.'
To become a member, please read the descriptions of the two levels of membership to select which one better fits your needs, and then select one of the them. You will be redirected to a registration page where you will create your Film Festival Academy account, and will soon begin to benefit from the many advantages afforded by membership.
The two kinds of membership are:
PREMIUM (€90 per year, or €60 per year if taken out before 31 December 2012)
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