Justin Olstein

Alumni post: Film and Television graduate Justin Olstein

In our guest post series, we invite alumni, staff and current students to reflect on their VCA experience. This week, Film and Television graduate Justin Olstein tells us about his experience at the Berlin Talent Campus.

I recently returned from the Berlin Talent Campus (run as part of the Berlin International Film Festival), where I had the opportunity to participate in master classes, panel discussions, screenings and networking events with emerging filmmakers from all over the world.

I’d spend the morning listening to a Jane Campion lecture and participating in a DSLR class run by Canon, the afternoon at a panel discussion on the changing landscape of film distribution, and the evening watching films. Sleep never really came into the equation.

Being able to see a major film market operate from the inside out was a real eye-opener. I developed a new understanding about international audiences, what kinds of films each find popular and how important it is to keep an audience in mind during each step of the creative process, from screenwriting to marketing. I came to view all the distributors, sales agents and consultants busy making deals as representatives of different kinds of audiences from all over the world.

Photo: Justin Olstein
Photo: Justin Olstein

In this constantly changing digital environment, it was also useful to chat to other filmmakers about how new technologies are not only influencing the way we make films, but how they are influencing the subject matter. Hearing experts on transmedia speak about the innovative ways creators can attract audiences using multiple media platforms was inspiring, and I hope to apply some of this knowledge to my own projects in the future.

The networking opportunities were a key attraction for me in applying to the Campus. Being able to meet producers and distributors from all over the world encourages you to keep moving forward with your projects, even if they are in very early stages of development. It was comforting (and somewhat terrifying) to note that everyone faces similar challenges in raising finance for their screen projects, no matter what country they are from. Yet everyone seemed to be united and buoyed by a common desire to persevere and make things happen.

Another good thing about being at a major international festival is that most people you meet want (at the very least) to know why you’re there. And who knows, after a few wines, they might want to know all about the blockbuster you are currently penning.


A version of this article originally appeared on Channel, the Faculty’s previous publishing platform.