VIDEOX is an annual international experimental film and video festival based in Zurich, Switzerland. May 10th through 19th it was arranged for the 4th time. We had a chat with Patrick Huber from the VIDEOEX team a week after to ask about the status of this year's festival.
LOCALMOTIVES: You screened quite an impressive amount of films this year, including both international and Swiss competition programmes, along with retrospective and special programmes. How did the festival start out 4 years ago?
Patrick Huber: It started out with a smaller program, but the main idea was always trying to organize a festival with high quality and also being able to present new works from all over the world. This demands a size that allows us to function not only on a regional level, rather in a context of other international festivals. In '98 everything was smaller, but the basic structure was similar to the festival of today. An important change was the introduction of the international competition in the 2000 edition. Today this represents a central part of the festival and also a large part of the organizational work (this year we got more than 1000 entries).
LOC: 10 days of experimental films is a lot, considering watching experimental films can be a rather harsh experience sometimes. Are you sometimes afraid an «art-overkill»?
PH: This may seem a lot, but I am convinced that in this field the works we present are very specific and very diversified. We are trying to present the audience an overview of recent produced works, giving them the possibility to pick out the works they prefer or are most interested in.
LOC: Is there a big enough audience for these kinds of films among Zurichs 400 000 citizens, or do you depend on visitors from the outside (like us)?
PH: Basically there is a big enough audience. The problem is that most people are not familiar with this kind of works and there is an initial approach problem. We are also very interested in an international audience.
LOC: You seem to focus on social aspects, making the festival centre a meeting point, by running a bar, as well as putting on concerts and club events. How did that work out?
PH: One of the main purposes of the festival is to create a platform for communication between artists and also for the public. The festival center plays an important role in creating this meeting point and being the social center of the festival. On the other hand we are very interested in the new forms of presentation: VJ culture, live imaging acts, connections between electronic sounds and images.
LOC: Organising a festival like this demands a lot of work and a substantial budget. How do you manage to finance the festival?
PH: We have quite a small budget. The festival is possible only because a large amount of people work for free and because most of the technical material is sponsored or borrowed by friends.
LOC: Do you always get the films you want?
PH: Mostly we do. Our good program and the high projection standard are very helpful for getting the films. We also have contacts with most distributors and a lot of artists.
LOC: On my way to Zurich I told a girl I met that I was going to a festival called VIDEOEX and she gave me the strangest look. I suddenly realized that the x in VIDEOEX might as well stand for x-rated. Have you ever thought about this?
PH: We know about this. But as soon as you mention the word 'experimental' it should be quite obvious where the ex comes from (some times I explain that our email address is spelled like 'videosex' without the 's')