When people think about science and film, they normally envision one of two things – either science fiction, like Star Wars, or TV documentary, like National Geographic. CineGlobe has screened films of both types, but this is not its bread and butter. CineGlobe is a different type of science film festival, and seeks out work that wouldn’t normally be thought of as science-related.
The most important distinction when trying to understand the CineGlobe festival is the concept of inspiration. Our goal is not to teach science – that is already done very well by schools and science centres. We want to demonstrate the inspiration that science can provide and to show how science and culture are both critical in understanding our society. We don’t shy away from difficult topics like climate change and the risks of social media; we try to engage with these through meaningful narratives that incite people to look further, to educate themselves, and to make their own decisions.
CineGlobe adopts a different theme for each edition. It isn’t the end of the story – we will sometimes choose films that are a little different if they present something that we think is important and topical – but we try to let the theme guide us. Our themes are very open to interpretation, however. We do this intentionally, in order to allow for some flexibility in choosing the best films. The themes from preceding editions of the CineGlobe Festival are:
2007* – First Edition, no theme
2010* – Second Edition, no theme
2012** – Infinitely Interconnected
2014** – Beyond the Frontier
2015** – Convergence
2016** – Special summer edition, no theme
2017 – Mythes and Realities
2018 – Intelligent Futures
2019 – Transformation / Transcendence
*The online versions of these editions are permanently offline, due to outdated web development. They’ll just have to live on in our memories.
**The online versions of these editions are currently offline, due to problems associated with our previous website. We are working to restore these electronic versions so that you will have access to (most of) the history of CineGlobe.
So what happens when you send your film to CineGlobe? Does it go into some quantum computer that decides the entire program on its own? Do we do a random pick from a hat? Nope and nope. We watch your film. We have a pre-selection team that watches films and ensures that they are eligible for the festival – does the film respect the time limits, is the category correct, does it address the theme in some way? If the first reviewer has any doubt about one of these questions, then he or she asks for a second opinion from another reviewer.
If your film fits, it’s rated and then watched by another reviewer. If it passes both of these steps, then it finally ends up at our group programming shindig, when we sit down and define the different film programs that we’ll present. Sometimes a great film just won’t fit into the program, and we don’t accept it. Remember, we’re trying to make interesting curated programs for the audience to enjoy. Getting rejected doesn’t mean your film is bad – it just didn’t fit in our program.
There’s no magic formula for CineGlobe. We value ingenuity, a fresh voice, and a strong narrative above all else. But sometimes, we just think a film is brilliant and don’t quite know why. Most of the time, the audience agrees with us, so we’ve learned to go with our instincts.
Let’s face it, the short film industry is difficult. We know that most filmmakers scrape up every last Euro and Dollar in order to make their films, and that they are then expected to pay for entry fees for film festivals. On the other side, you have festivals like ours, which are also constantly fighting for resources and to survive, and often we cannot afford to pay screening fees, give cash prizes or pay for travel. However, we do want to do right by our filmmakers. In fact, we’ve signed the Fair Submissions pact and the Short Film Conference code of ethics to show you that we’re serious about being as fair as we can be. So what do you get when your film is submitted to and selected for CineGlobe?
First of all, we don’t charge entry fees. So when you apply to CineGlobe, there’s basically no risk, other than disappointment. On the other hand, if you’re selected, we invite you to come to CERN for about a week. You don’t have to stay that long, but you are welcome to. We don’t guarantee rooms, but we’ve almost never run out of space, and we pay for your stay. The festival is completely open to the public, but you’ll be registered as a CERN guest while you are here, so attending the CineGlobe Festival will give you behind the scenes access to the world’s largest science laboratory. We also organise, on a space available basis, tours of experimental areas, meetings with physicists, and lectures specifically for CineGlobe attendees. We think that’s all pretty cool and worth the visit, and we hope that you do, too. Oh yeah, and the CERN cafeteria is the stuff of legend. You might even sit down and eat next to a Nobel prize winner. Not many festivals can say that.