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Taking electronica to the screen

Author: michelle pirovich
Tuesday, 4 February 2003
Beyond the spirited 'Human Traffic' exists many a documentary that has delved deep into the psyche of the electronic music scene. Heading up this years MEMF Film Festival, is Keren Flavell. Keren talks to TranZfusion about the festival and how filmmakers of electronica owe it to themselves to move onward and outward.

Admittedly films under the electronica genre are still in their infancy. A factor that although well aware of has not in anyway hindered Keren's selection for this year's festival. The selection process itself primarily involved Keren's time being taken up by searching and sourcing films through her contacts. In festivals to come however, Keren sees herself sorting through countless submissions. 'We are only in our second year, so I have had to source a lot of the films myself, but as opportunities grow for films in this genre, I know I will soon be flooded with material.'

The criterion for the film festival encompasses a great deal; subject matter, production styles, even film length. 'We want to show films that you can't pick off the shelves, ones that aren't that accessible. On another level we want films that investigate and celebrate dance culture, but most importantly films that are a little bit odd and definitely cutting edge.'

Taking on a global approach as opposed to a Melbourne centric one, the festival will be screening a good balance between the high gloss and those that are a little rough around the edges. Keren does admit though that for this festival there is a strong focus on the cream of the DJing circuit. ''The Beat Back' 'Pump up the Volume' and 'Hang the DJ' all feature electronicas' biggest artists; KLF, Carl Cox, Roger Sanchez, Danny Tenaglia, Junior Vasquez and Q-Bert. These films really look at the best of the best in music, DJ's we are all familiar with. Next year though we really want to see more films about our artists right here in Melbourne and Australia.'

Lindsay Cox and Victor Holder however will be representing Melbourne with their short film 'S-Crash'. There is also the feature length 'Midnight in Melbourne' directed by Mark Bakaitis, which takes a look at Melbourne's drum & bass scene and Keren also hints that there may be some old Melbourne clubbing footage emerging from the archives.

Keren herself is no stranger to film. Operating Springtime Productions out of her studio in North Melbourne, Keren has been fusing together her passion for electronica and film for some time. Currently working on the on-line doco 'Sounds like techno' Keren is all too aware of the void that presently exists in electronica based films.

Seeing that certain aspects have already been done to death Keren strongly points out that filmmakers should start to take a more experimental approach. 'There is always an inner circle of dynamic people who set the trends, and push the pulse, this does not come from the followers' says Keren. 'I know that films are hard to make and more often than not quite costly, but I'm looking for the day when we go beyond the fish bowl approach of what electronic music is all about.'

Keren finds the short flick as the perfect place to start. 'Shorts and film clips are a great way to highlight a unique aspect of dance culture and electronic music. This scene has a truly enriched culture and I want to see films that celebrate this, that stimulate conversation and take look at where the scene is going.'

Keren too envisages more artists making their own films as they tap into the synergy that exists between sound and vision. 'At the festival we will be screening Samuli Alapuranen's 'Ulkomaat' which has done just that. 'Samuli's music is very minimal and this is reflected in his film making, it's a really interesting approach to explore.'

Somewhat enlightened I return the conversation to the festival itself where Keren explains the set up and her opting for a more relaxed atmosphere. 'We want this to be an informal affair, the warehouse will be filled with
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