In partnership with the Portuguese film festival FEST — New Directors | New Movies, Digital Production Challenge II (DPC II) workshop program is set to take place in a new online format from March 29 to April 1.
Now in its 10th year, the initiative gives international participants in-depth knowledge of post-production workflow processes and the business and art of digital distribution.
The new virtual take will mean shortened presentations, more breaks and the likelihood of a virtual bar for attendees to gather virtually to relax between and after sessions.
DPC II head of studies Paul Miller said the decision to transform the annual meet, host and spitball event was a challenge. Miller, Filipe Pereira, FEST Manager, Marta Carvalho, FEST Session Host and DPCII Coordinator, and Martin Hagemann, Moderator and Expert, rolled up their sleeves and set to work reimagining how the four days worked.
“The main thing we’ve done is expand this year’s workshop program,” says Miller. Rather than the traditional 40 minute talks, we changed the 20 to 25 minute talks with breaks and tried to make it as interactive as possible.
There will be a virtual conference room and a virtual lounge for discussions between participants.
Miller, a film producer and finance and production expert, says this year has seen more applicants than ever vying for the 25 spots available at the DPC II workshop.
DPC II is supported by the Creative Europe Media program and the Portuguese Film Institute. It is designed for industry professionals with a focus on producers, executive producers, cinematographers, cinematographers, production and post-production managers.
The lineup of tutors and experts on this year’s workshop team includes German Film Board member and producer Hagemann (The Turin Horse, Creep, Fay Grim); Florian Rettich, ARRI expert, DIT and workflow supervisor (Everything will be alright) and director of photography and digital imaging supervisor Philippe Ros.
Swiss sound artist and filmmaker Maurizius Staerkle Drux joins Tommaso Vergallo, CEO of Noir Lumière and digital imaging expert; Netflix Post-Production Supervisor Miga Bär (Daughter, Sulfur, Zama) and producer and MEDIA program expert Konstantina Stavrianou.
DPC II always strives for a mix of participants and this year is no different. “We have more post-production managers and coordinators than before. We also have producers and filmmakers, a cinematographer and an editor,” says Miller.
For a post-production executive, getting his spot on the program was the result of very hands-on advocacy. The contestant told organizers in a questionnaire about his recent experience working on a production during the pandemic that everything that could go wrong did. “He wanted to come to DPC II because he knew next time he couldn’t use the Covid pandemic as an excuse,” Miller says. “It’s nice to have people who screwed up and come to the course to make sure they don’t mess you up again and get back to basics.
The level and experience of the candidates has increased this year for a workshop which already insists that the selected participants have directed a film or worked on several films or documentaries. Seven selected participants come with a project, one of which is Portuguese. These participants will enjoy a little more one-on-one regarding their projects and their projects are also used as real test cases during the four days. There will also be 18 other participants with no ongoing project.
“Our whole philosophy is that the worst thing you can do is think about post-production when you’re at that stage of post-production,” Miller says. “You should think about it at the start and know where you are aiming. Always think about where the movie being made will end. There’s no point in using an Arriflex camera and expensive film if the footage is for a cell phone or a YouTube channel.
“Post-production isn’t the sexy end of the business, but the people doing this workshop are super grateful and super committed,” he continues. “Post-production is the crucial final stage of filmmaking, and the one where mistakes tend to be costly, often very costly.”