Venice: Postscript

I returned from Venice yesterday after a fortnight on the island of San Servolo. I didn't get to enjoy the Mostra di Cinema as much as I would have liked to, but I did see three films: Darren Aronofsky's BLACK SWAN, which me and Rob Beames agreed is a masterpiece, Catherine Breillat's SLEEPING BEAUTY, a monumental failure, and John Turturro's PASSIONE, a sweaty, funny, energetic and beautiful document of the Naples music scene.

At the CICAE training, it was my job to keep notes of all the English language sessions, and we had some interesting ones. Kelly Bagely, from Morris Hargreaves McIntyre in Manchester, had some radical ways of looking at venues from the audience perspectives. Based on extensive audience research, her company help organisations like TATE understand what audiences want from them. I found it fascinating!

Another interesting session was held by Patrice Vivancos, an expert for the European Commission, who talked about the need for more cinemas and why, making a convincing argument for higher screen density and its relationship to cinema admissions.

The most important element of all, of course, was meeting all the new trainees, 51 of them from 27 different countries, including Daryl Els from Johanesburg and Roy Dib from Beirut. Some of the interesting people (I couldn't possibly list them all) I spoke to included Meryl Moser from Switzerland, Martyna Lach from Warsaw, Dirk Van Der Straaten from Amsterdam and Ivea Bužinskaitė from Lithuania. They all had backgrounds and experiences that aroused my interest, and now I can count them as friends too. One year ago this led to many projects and ideas - who knows what will come out of this year's training.