13th to 15th of February 2004
FEST – Youth Video and Film Festival was born out of the necessity to create a space where new and up-and-coming filmmakers could screen their work. Among many other objectives was the will to promote already established names alongside new one, in order to open new paths for new talents to break through.
In total 116 films were registered and 21 selected and screened in 18 hours of competitive sessions.
In this first attempt FEST only accepted Portuguese productions in order to establish if the project was relevant enough to justify an expansion to international productions.
Apart from the screenings there was always several debates and public discussions.
The festival took place in Casino Solverde’s film theatre and the rest of the activities at Espinho’s Public Hall.
Over 1000 people attended the festival, which considering the incredibly limited resources of the organization when compared with other festivals, proving there was a possibility to develop an audience for this sort of Festival. Soon FEST would find its place in the Portuguese and European festival and cultural calendar.
20th to the 17th of March
The 2005′s edition was a great test to the potential of the project, as well as the capacity of the young and small organizational team. For the first time the program was opened to international productions with immediate success, as 416 films from 29 countries were registered. In total 90 were selected, 43 of them were premieres.
Audience wise the jump was even bigger, with the event attracting 5188 festival goers.
This was also the year of the beginning of the Film Students Encounter, the event that would later be developed and renamed Training Ground.
Finally, the program turned out to be a huge hit, selling out the main theatre with influential pieces such as Birth, by Jonathan Glazer (who directed the box office hit Sexy Beast); The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of All Time, the legendary documentary on the band Radiohead; and the hugely popular documentary on Jeff Buckley Amazing Grace.
9th to the 16th of April
This edition was the confirmation that FEST had finally taken its deserved place in the international Film Festival circuit, as record breaking figures were finally achieved.
From the 1385 registered films, literally coming from all 5 continents, 124 were selected for the competition, and finally distributed in 19 action packed sessions. The 9 premieres of 2006 were the result of the development of a close relationship with some of the biggest local film distributors, who would became close associates of the project.
The Film Students Encounter also witnessed a significant development, quickly becoming an obligatory stop for anyone interested in starting a career in the film business.
Altogether this edition had an audience total of 8.973, while the rest of the activities were enjoyed by over 5.800 people.
28th of October to the 4th of November
Another year another brave and great jump. First of all FEST changed scenaries by moving its headquarters to Cine-Teatro antonio Lamoso of Santa Maria da Feira, a small town near Espinho. Secondly, 2007 witnessed the birth of its Silver Castle competition, nowadays the most important prize of the festival, exclusively dedicated to long features directed by young filmmakers (their first or second production). The impact of the new award was immediate, raising FEST`s profile among the national and international community.
The program included some of the most influential and prestigious films of the last few years, such as Goran Dukic`s Wristcutters, that year`s most talked about production at Sundance film Festival; the Israeli production Jellyfish, by Shira Geffen e Etgar Keret: and mainly C.R.A.Z.Y., Jean-Marc Vallée`s acclaimed piece, considered nowadays as one of the most authentic modern cult films.
The guest speaker list at the Film Students Encounter was the target of much envy as it included a series of prestigious names such as Hunter Todd, director of Houston`s film Festival and winner of no less than 155 awards; Federico Mutti, one of the most acclaimed Italian young filmmakers; Guillermo Garcia-Ramos, perhaps the most important Spanish documentarist; as well as Kathleen Haney, Albert Pagan e Udo Prinsen, among many others.
Another new section of the festival was FEST SOUND, a series of nightly musical performances that complemented the program to a great extent. Among other acts, 2007 brought to Portugal SebastiAn, soon to become a large music festival headliner; Fujiya and Miyagi; Moulinex; Ladytron and Toxic Avenge.
Finally 2007 also saw the start of FEST`s social responsibility section, which included specific screenings focused on children and the elderly. Its extraordinary success was the cause of great pride.
In terms of figures the most notable aspect was the fact that the festival became truly international, with participants coming from distant nations such as Kenya, Japan, the United States and Italy.
21st to the 28th of June
After a year of silence, as the organization was busy reviving another project, FEST returned to Espinho to one of its most successful editions.
Training Ground finally took its current shape with immediate results. Among its famous and distinguished speakers was Tom Stern, director of photography of Gran Torino, Million Dollar Baby and Changeling, and technician in American Beauty, among many other films; Alex Rodriguez, one of the greatest talents in editing, with credits in productions like Children of Men and the Mexican super hit Y Tu Mama Tambein. Other guests were Chadi Zennedine, Dome Karukoski, Helen Carmichael, Jean-Luc Slock and 34 others. Even more impressively, the forum had a total of 160 young filmmakers from 25 different countries.
The actual festival had 1.500 films registered and 125 selected. The audience figures reached the 10.000 mark in all activities.
Finally the Silver Castle competition brought to Portugal a series of phenomenal films like The home of the Dark butterflies by Dome Karukoski, Klass from Ilmar Raag and La Zona by Rodrigo Plá.
20th to the 27th of June
This year FEST continued its progressive path to greatness.
Training ground saw the greatest and most complete guest speaker list so far , in its 23 sessions, with prestigious names such as Larry Smith, director of photography of Stanley Kubrik´s Eyes Wide Shut; Hervé Schneid, french editor whose name is deeply connected to the success of Jean Pierre Jeunet, having edited films like Amelie, Delicatessen and Alien: Resurection; Christian Frei, a household name in the world of documentary filmmaking, nominated for an Oscar in 2001 for its legendary War Photographer; David Macmillan, a three time Oscar winner in Sound Mixing, who has worked in films like The Right Stuff, Natural Born killers and The Firm; Nancy bishop, Casting director for several main Hollywood studios; Antonio Pedro Vasconcelos, one of the most popular Portuguese film directors; Bruno Chatelin, director of filmfestival.com, the biggest web film directory, and an expert in distribution and financing; Etgar Karet, winner of the golden Camera award in Cannes; among many others.
1633 films were registered in the festival, and 84 were carefully selected, guaranteeing a quality program.
In the Silver Castle competition FEST screened two of the most successful films of the year, Kyle Patrick Alvarez`s Easier with Practice and Debra Granik`s Winter`s Bone.
The usual audience growth was also a great victory with a grand total of 14.816 people.
Finally FEST also opened a new section entitled Filmmakers Corner, a space focused on improvised screenings of films brought and produced by the participants.
26th of June to the 3rd of July 2011
The last edition of FEST was a tremendous success. In terms of audience we witnessed a notable increase, reaching a total of 17.120 people in all the activities. The program was the focus of muchy attention, having included the national openings of films such as “Hanna” by Joe Wright and “Obselidia” by Dianne Bell. New award categories were created, such as the prixe for best Non Fiction Long Feature. The program also included some of the best works from some of our partner schools. Training Ground also grew significantly with 353 registrations. The event brought to Espinho figures like Eugenio Caballero (Oscar winning art director of films such as “Pan´s Labirynth”), the much acclaimed Portuguese Cinematographer Eduardo Serra (twice nominated for an Oscar), Colin Arthur (Special effects veteran) , Scandar Copti (winner of the Golden Camera award in Cannes and one of the most promising filmmakers in the middle east), among many others.
2011 was a particularly significant year because the event grew in a sustainable way, attracting much attention in the national and international media, at the same time it developed a brilliant program, providing a unique and indispensable in the development of the audiovisual industry.
1st to the 8th of July 2012
FEST 2012 was another great success. Achieving once again record numbers of audience and Training Ground participation, the event included a new key area that had been a great objective for a long time: the creation of a Pitching forum.
Answering a clear deficiency within the local film industry FEST invited a large number of producers, distributors and financiers to attend a long and intensive day of pitching sessions, where the participants had the chance to spend 5 minutes presenting their projects.
Training Ground once again included a wide range of guest speakers, including Martin Walsh (Oscar winning editor), Fernando Trueba (Oscar winning Spanish legendary director), Anders Osteergard ( Danish director of the famous documentary “Burma VJ), Brian Grant (a pioneer in the music video world), João Pedro Rodriguez (one of the most influential Portuguese directors), Kjartan Sveinsson (Soundtrack composer and keyboard player of Sigur Ròs), Sylvie Landra (Editor of the 5th Element and Leon), only to name a few.
On the film festival front the event also marked a big jump, with over 150 short and feature films on display in the most complete program FEST has ever had. Films like Runar Runarsson´s Volcano (which ended up taking the biggest prize), the Japanese sensation About the Pink Sky, or the Dutch experimental extravaganza 170Hz were part of an impressive Silver Castle competition that included 10 feature films altogether. The shorts competition was no less remarkable (please visit awards page to get to know the winners).