As we ramp up to the closing date of September 15th, for filmmakers to submit their shorts to be eligible for the 2023 T-Port Lighthouse Selections, we wanted to share a bit more about our esteemed curators – as well as finding out what drives them and where they come from.
In this interview we caught up with Laurence Boyce to ask him what greatness looks like in short film form as well as finding more out about his career-to-date.
Hi Laurence, please introduce yourself
I am, chiefly, the Head of Programme for PÖFF Shorts which is the short film element of Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia. I also programme for other festivals including the Leeds International Film Festival in the UK.
I am also a film journalist who writes about stuff – often with a focus on shorts – for the likes of Screen, Cineuropa, Talking Shorts, Sight and Sound, Ubiquarian and anyone else who’ll have me. I am also the Chairman of the Board for the Short Film Conference, an international network of short film organisations.
If you could watch one film forever on a loop – what would it be?
Feature – ‘North By Northwest.’ Short – Simon Ellis’ ‘Soft’ or ‘Kung Fury.’
What do you think a curator’s super power is? (or should be?)
The ability to watch thousands of shorts a year and still be excited and passionate about the form.
What will you be looking for while selecting Lighthouse films?
Good films. Nothing more, nothing less.
There are good films and there are great films. What makes a film great?
That’s hard to write down. As a programmer, it’s something you recognise. A spark, an almost unknowable thing that pushes a film over the line. If I could bottle that unknowable element, I’d be a very rich person indeed.
Can you name a trope, convention, or other aspect that would immediately turn you off a film?
Watching so many films, you do see lots of themes and ideas repeat: if you want a template short then write one about an Alzheimer’s sufferer who is coming of age and entering a tentative love affair complete with drone shots and a sparse piano score. But we recognise that similar stories happen to everyone across the world and we know that the joy is in experiencing different cultures and generations takes on age old topics.
That said, beginning something with a quote from the Bible/Plato/Nietzsche/Dr Seuss is cool for a book, veering on the pretentious for a short.
Could you tell us about how you became a curator / Programmer? What does your career path look like?
Luck and persistence. The ability to work for little or no money to prove that you can watch films and have a coherent worldview. The confidence to speak in front of an audience and sound like you know what you’re talking about. I went from the UK to Estonia and did a lot of things across the way, and that is a full film in itself.
Do you have any advice for wannabe curators / programmers that you wish you’d known early in your career?
That it’s now hard to be ‘just’ a curator. Being a cultural multitasker – whether it be working as a journalist or something else – is more and more necessary
What’s your best piece of advice for filmmakers as they are embarking on their early career?
Watch other films – especially shorts. They are not going to ‘spoil’ you. This is the form in which you work. Understand what people are responding to in that form. And go to festivals. Not only if you have a film there.
Let us know if you have anything else to add!
That we know and appreciate how hard filmmaking is and we do what we do because we love shorts.
We are Seeking the Future of Film – Submit Your Short Today
All films uploaded to T-Port before our deadline of September 15, 2023 will be automatically considered for our T-Port Lighthouse Selections – a curated selection of films picked by leading industry programmers. The T-Port Lighthouse Selections is considered our premium collection and given increased exposure to our network of film professionals.
T-Port films are only accessible to professionals, so your premiere status will not be affected.
Stake your place in the next generation of filmmakers waiting to be discovered for only 15 Euros / year. Find out more on our website and get started with T-Port today. Check out several films from our 2021 selection for free before the deadline.Back to T-Port Blog