Q: What is the Drone Cinema Film Festival and when was it originated?
Q: The event happens in the US as well as abroad, are there any differences in the programs?
Image: Albert Borkent
Q: How is the event curated, call for entries, otherwise?
A: Each year we create a theme which serves as inspiration for the artist and a call for works is announced. We post a entry form that people can fill out and include a link to the work they’re submitting. We make use of platforms other than social media but obviously social media tends to be play a major role in getting the word out.
Q: What types of technology are used to either showcase this event, or employed live during the show?
A: It’s pretty straight ahead really. All we need is a large space, chairs, a decent sound system and a video projector. The sound artists who open the festival in Seattle and Leiden bring their own tech to perform with but other than that it’s a simple setup tech wise.
Q: Is the environment/set-up similar to Robert Rich’s sleep concerts, or Francisco Lopez’s darkened performances, with lounges and the like?
A: No. It’s a standard presentation of films. Screen, seats, viewers. We do want to open it up in the future and include talks by artists and workshops but that depends on finances.
Q: What’s new this year?
A: The theme this year is “silver/lunar” so all the films submitted for the festival draw their inspiration from that. The thing that is new is that I will be performing a new drone composition with a new project I call Khem One at the Seattle festival. I’ve been working with modal theory lately and this new piece is a grand experiment of sorts. Silent recording artist Lingua Lustra will be opening the festival in Leiden.
Q: How long does the full program run?
A: We typically try to contain the film portion to 90 minutes which is a format most people are used to. The musical performances opening each event usually run around 20 minutes. So in total, a little over two hours of drone art – anything longer and we’d have to carry sleeping people out on stretchers.
Image: C130 + Scant Intone
Q: In what ways might you differentiate DCFF from a typical music festival?
A: Well for one we are primarily a film festival that makes the sound of drones visible as moving images. We do our best to honor the unconscious in the artist as well as the viewer so many of the works are minimal, hypnotic and meditative. We feel the unconscious has become devalued in the arts and want to make this a key aspect of what we are trying to achieve.
Q: What is it like putting this together alongside your own work, and a record label?
A: Well, it’s a lot of work as you can imagine. The first few years were a labor of love but the festival has grown since then and we are finally able to pay people to help out with various tasks. But the labels and the festival tend to inspire one another.
For example, I worked on a computational release a couple of years ago with the label timesymmetric that played one hour soundtracks culled from the Drone Cinema pieces. It was Raspberry Pi (small single board computer) based and I designed the packaging for it. We also released some of the soundtracks as a digital release too. So the festival feeds the labels and vice versa.
Q: Does your event get confused with the (flying type) drone film festival?
A: Yes, all too often we get submissions by people who don’t read the information given on the submission sheet and submit their GoPro drone videos. There is a YouTube video of a beautiful performance by the band Low of a piece that ends with the singer stating “Drone. not drones!” – which I feel, says it all.
Image: Kris Force
Q: Anything that happens behind-the-scenes that you’d like to share?….
A: Not much really happens behind the scenes except countless hours of hard work that goes into making things go smoothly. I usually tell people “even when I’m not working, I’m working.”
Q: Thanks for taking the time during a week that will likely be quite busy.
A: You’re very welcome and thank you for giving the festival some exposure in Toneshift 🙂