The San Diego Surf Film Festival took place a couple weeks ago and like all festivals, it included a handful of awards given out to exceptional films. Nathan Oldfield took home the top award, Best Feature, for The Heart and the Sea, which has been making the festival rounds this year. We talked to Oldfield about that film a while back and can understand why it did so well at the SD Fest. But in addition to learning about any film in particular and the process of making it, we wanted to understand what an award like this, and the festival circuit in general, can do for an independent producer. So we got in touch with Loic Wirth, who’s film Intentio took the award for Best Cinematography at our hometown soiree. It too has been going around to international festivals, most with equally exceptional results. Here we discuss what festivals are really about, how Intentio has performed at other festivals around the world, and how the internet has changed the way producers can get their work seen. This interview has been edited lightly to amend anything that might have gotten lost in translation.
KTV: Are you in Brazil today?
Loic Wirth: Yes, I’m visiting my dad a bit far from where I live
KTV: How nice. I wanted to ask you a couple questions about Intentio and film festivals. Has Intentio played at lots of festivals?
LW: Of course, I would love to talk about. Did you go to the festival? I would love to hear about how it was as well.
KTV: I went one of the days but unfortunately not the day that your film was playing. They sold out most of the showings so I think it went really well
LW: I wish I could have made it as well. Saw some photos and it looked like an amazing place.
KTV: Yeah, Bird’s is awesome.
LW: So, back to your question, if I’m not mistaken, it was screened in six festivals and soon in Lisbon KTV: That’s great! And it was released in 2011?
LW: No, it was actually released in 2012. The first screening was at the San Sebastian Film Festival
KTV: Have you noticed since putting it in film festivals that the movie has gotten more attention?
LW: I’m not sure, it’s hard to tell as today internet plays such a big role in that, but I believe it did, especially for people who haven’t heard about it, it gives credibility.
KTV: I see. Do you have specific internet promotion that you are doing for the film?
LW: Not really, nothing besides the trailer. And the film on iTunes, witch just got released. I wish I could do more but I’ve been really focused on my next film.
KTV: Was the Cinematography award the first award you have received from a film festival?
LW: No, it was the 4th.
KTV: Congrats! What were the other awards?
LW: It received the Best Film Award from the public at the Anglet Int’l Film Festival, Best Photography from the jury at the Mimpi Int’l Film Festival and Best Performance at the San Sebastian It’l Film Festival.
KTV: Good variety. When you were making the film, did you have a plan for how to get it out there once it was finished?
LW: Some distributors approached me and I knew it would be on DVD and iTunes. Then festival directors sent emails and one thing lead to another. It worked by itself, it was a great surprise.
KTV: Oh I see, so mostly people were contacting you for the festivals?
LW: Yes, it was really a lot of luck. Internet makes things easier.
KTV: True. What is your next film about?
LW: So hard to explain in words.
KTV: Will you be traveling for it?
LW: I feel like I wouldn’t be able to [explain it], I would express this better through the trailer and the film itself.
KTV: That makes sense. When will it be finished?
LW: I have been traveling and will be talking a bit about it on a website I’m working on. I’m planning on [releasing it in] early 2014.
KTV: Do you think you will put it in film festivals again?
LW: I would love to for sure. It’s always a great feeling to have directors you admire around to share their experiences…to have people who love films watching it and sharing their thoughts and feelings on it.
KTV: Have you been able to go to any of them? I bet it is fun to actually be there, watching people watch the film.
LW: Yes, [I went to] San Sebastien, Anglet and Rio. So much fun. It’s the best feeling. It’s not about judgment, its just so many people sharing a moment. It’s special.
KTV: Are audiences pretty receptive to the work?
LW: Yes, a lot. They are open to anything and actually watch it
KTV: Do the festivals draw pretty big crowds, from the ones you’ve been to?
LW: Yes. They do a great job. It’s not just about the films.
KTV: What else is it about?
LW: The directors of the festivals I’ve been to, like the one from San Sebastien for example, they’re such passionate people, they are there for much more than just the work, but to create a celebration of something they love so much–films. They create a vibe, a message, a gathering of creativity. Look at the San Diego festival–boards everywhere, bands, paintings… just an overdose of creativity and inspiration. Now a days we spend so much time in front of computers that those make such a good impact
KTV: It’s true, it is really nice to get out in the world and be among people.
LW: I want to just say a huge thanks to all the organizers who put up all this work and everyone who supports it.
See more of Loic’s work on his Vimeo page here: https://vimeo.com/loicwirth.
*Photos by Brooks Sterling. To see more of Brooks’ work, check out his website http://iambrooks.com/, peep him on Instagram @BrooksSterling or browse through his Flickr stream http://www.flickr.com/photos/brookssterling.