To return to my perspective from both sides of the festival programming process, I understood that a film’s quality is never the only factor of selection, but equally important is how it harmonizes with other aspiring strangers’ work and with the programmer’s personal taste. You come to realise that your work doesn’t stand alone, is merely a piece of a puzzle and becomes less powerful individually, but more meaningful on a wider scale. It is therefore an instrument in the curator’s hand, just like a shot, scene or sequence in a director’s hand.
In mapping out a more comprehensive view of the short films he can work with, the curator becomes a new breed of director, who creates a certain storyline or mood by arranging films like building blocks in the amount of time he has available to screen them.
It is not enough to order films alphabetically or by genre, that is easy and lazy programming. A genuine artistic vision can synthesize a message by placing film A instead of film C, a decision with a rationale behind it. He could create irony by clashing films together like the Russian master Eisenstein did with intellectual montage or guide an audience’s mood by composing the programme like a musical piece. It is only a matter of extrapolating from a director’s wand to a curator’s, which brings forth what I would call meta-directing, a medium which allows artists to transcend to higher levels of media literacy, but still work within existing grammatical film structures.