Ahead of this weekend’s Dub Web Fest (20 – 22 November) Film Ireland caught up with of the organisers behind the festival.
Dub Web Fest is a celebration of the storytelling power of the Internet. 2015 is the inaugural festival, which will bring together the movers and makers of the digital media and tech worlds to celebrate creative, collaborative opportunities. 20 – 22 November will see Filmbase, the main venue, filled with youtubers and content creators all thanks to the vision of Mikael Thiery, the festival director, and Erol Mustafov, his co-director.
Before envisioning the Dub Web Fest, Erol had been running Videography.ie for 5 years, which provides predominantly video production services, as well as working as a freelance camera operator, cinematographer and editor on various projects, including commercial videos, film, and documentary and web series. Meanwhile Mikael has been living in Dublin for 8 years; he produced and directed his first Irish short film (Joe Drummer) which was selected in Dingle and Chicago and has also been working as photographer, production assistant on various projects. We got the opportunity to ask them both some questions about this brand new festival.
Where did the idea to organise The Dublin Web Fest come from?
Mikael: In 2013 I co-produced and directed the comedy web series titled “Ash Airways”. It was selected for the LA Web Fest 2014 and for the web forum in Paris (Cross Video Days). Back in Dublin I felt that something was missing… An Irish web fest.
What is it about specifically about the format of the web series that inspired you to do this?
Erol: The way we consume media now happens pretty quick, using various electronic devices, apart from the TV set. The web series format is ideal for the ‘time poor’ society today. The format is short, snappy and dynamic in most cases, which makes it ideal for web viewing. Many filmmakers today, who were predominantly doing films, have jumped on the idea and format of web series, which gives them quite a lot of benefits, with the main one being, quick and instant exposure of their work online.
Mikael: As Erol mentioned the way people watch TV changed for ever. A quick question – How many videos do you watch on a daily basis on your smart phone? maybe 5 ? 10? How many times do you go to the Cinema? once or twice a week? Do not make me wrong. I love Cinema and Cinema will remain the greatest art form ever created. In the US, producers and filmmakers have been working on the web series format for years. The reason? The Audience spend more time on their tablet rather than watching the old fashion TV! The age of Smart TV has arrived.
How did you get everyone on board and what was the starting process like?
Erol: I mainly followed the passion and inspiration of Mikael, the founder of the festival and I think the rest of the team did the same. It was hard to start the process, but luckily we were able to see some of the process of existing web festivals and in many cases the process is similar to film festivals.
Mikael: At the beginning you have a concept/idea. Then you talk about it to your close friends. After some passionate talks you have a great team.
Is there a genre, style that’s your favourite? And if so, why?
Erol: It is hard to say. Comedy pops up straight away, as 70% of web series content at the minute is comedy. I presume it is to the with the ‘instant’ entertainment effect that most of us seek when we are online. I am also a big sci-fi fan and I was nicely surprised with the quality of work submitted to DubWebFest this year. The sci-fi genre captured me since I was a kid and stayed with me and I think it is to do with the fiction element and the ‘rich imagination’ that it offers.
Mikael: The main genre is definitely comedy. I suppose people prefer to have a laugh during their lunch break. That’s why comedic sketches, gags are omnipresent online. I do appreciate comedy a lot, web documentaries or Drama/ thriller series. The online docs are really special. The internet does not have any boundary so web doc-makers can explore even deeper topics.
How did you pick the varied selection? Did you find any themes emerging?
Erol: We did follow certain criteria like creativity, overall execution, story development, character development, actor performances, and various technical aspects like cinematography, sound/music and editing. We rated each criteria so it was easier to process, analyse and assess.
Mikael: Within this fast online ocean called teh internet there are tons of content. So start with is quality. Quality of the story. Quality of characters. Quality of cinematography/sound. The emerging themes would be the online dating, music lovers and people form around the Globe.
Were there any surprises along the way?
Erol: I suppose for me the main thing was how well it was received and the support we got. How people were jumping on board when they heard about the idea, whether it be the team, volunteers or partners.
Mikael: Indeed. Nowadays we can communicate through the social media web sites and receive great support like our amazing great web fest partner SF Web Fest.
What was the hardest part of the process of creating the festival?
Erol: For me it was the project management bit, there were a lot of ‘what ifs’ and ‘when’ and ‘how’ hanging in the year, as this is the first year of the festival. I am managing the websites, newsletters and various design and communications, and the technical aspects of those could be quite challenging.
Mikael: The process of creating a web fest ihas been challenging since day 1. We had to join our forces to keep moving forward. Keep connecting with people. Confirming. Reconfirming. Meeting partners/ sponsors. But with some passion even the hardest part is alright. It’s for a great cause. Celebrating this great online storytelling.
What about the line-up excites you the most?
Erol: I think meeting all the filmmakers from Ireland and abroad is the most exciting part for me, to actually put a ‘face on the name’ if I am correct with that expression. We have been chatting with many directors, producers and actors and it would be amazing to see them all in Filmbase. Of course, I am also looking forward to all the masterclasses, workshops and panels we have lined up.
Mikael: To see the Dublin Web Fest happening. Meeting the series makers, producers from everywhere. From Australia to USA through Lebanon, UK, France, Ireland, etc. Many people want to flock to Dublin to showcase their shows, have great talks, exchanges and enjoy great parties.
What about next year, is there going to be another one? And if so, any plans already?
Erol: Yes, we are planning to make it an annual event and more than that. We are going to keep it active also throughout the year with various other events and there are some nice surprises coming along the way right after the festival, which I can’t share right now.
Mikael: Next year, it will be year 2. The online web community is growing so we never know what’s going to happen. But we plan some amazing surprises. Do you want to jump into the Online Storytelling Game?
The Dub Web Fest takes place 20 – 22 November 2015 at Filmbase