Over this past week I’ve been in touch with different philosophy teachers and networks, and was reminded about the fine art of going slow. Roger Sutcliff, from SAPERE Communities of Enquiry made the point at one meeting that we need to think more slowly and listen more carefully, particularly when it comes to being involved in conversation. Many thanks to Janette from the Victorian Association for Philosophy in Schools and Gordon from the Philosophy Café in Brunswick for welcome me into their circles.
The whole “slow” thing reminded me of our whole approach to short films, which I wrote about back on our old site in 2008. It was comforting to see that these thoughts had not changed much over the years, even though our intake of films has gotten faster.
From the June 2008 Campfire Film Festival blog…
Imagining a SLOW FILM movement
You know about fast food. Perhaps you also know about slow food. Well, along with slow food came slow travel, slow shopping, and slow design. I wonder if it’s time to consider slow FILM. The whole slow movement has been quietly ticking away for a while now. In 1999, Geir Berthelsen formalised the movement with The World Institute of Slowness. Professor Guttorm Fløistad summarises the philosophy of the slow movement like this:
"The only thing for certain is that everything changes. The rate of change increases. If you want to hang on you better speed up. That is the message of today. It could however be useful to remind everyone that our basic needs never change. The need to be seen and appreciated! It is the need to belong. The need for nearness and care, and for a little love! This is given only through slowness in human relations. In order to master changes, we have to recover slowness, reflection and togetherness. There we will find real renewal."
Photo credit: Fast Car Slow Girl, TuTuWoN, Flikr
Whether creating or viewing, we like our short films fast, or short, or both. With faster tools to write, shoot and edit films, we naturally assume that producing quality films can happen faster. For online viewers of short films, faster access to a greater number of films means that we’re swimming in choice, and we get impatient about the one we’re watching lest we miss something better that’s only a click away.
But how do we take it all in? How can we appreciate so much? The fact is, we can’t, and we are the poorer for trying to get through more and more at a faster and faster rate.
The SLOW approach
The Campfire Film Festival (now Foundation) features just 5 short films at a time, allowing 3 months for viewers to absorb the small selection along with the broad range of responses from our key reviewers. OK OK, I’d be lying if I were to say that a slowness philosophy was the only reason for going slow. There’s also the reality that we’re limited by lack of time and resources. But the more I think about expansion and improvement of what we do, the more I see the value in investing time and exposure in just a small number of select films. We want to do more than simply grow in the number of films we present, and the number of buttons and features on our site. Albert Einstein said,
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction."
And that’s the direction we want to head. Of course, calling Campfire the ‘slow film festival’ probably sends the wrong message. After all, what’s a slow film? Ponderous, tedious and dull? Quite possibly. But if ‘slow’ was a label that stuck to sum up our philosophy on film creation and appreciation, then I’d be only too happy about it.
Take the time to watch the entirety of each of the short films we present. Take the time to read what people have said. Take time to smell the roses. Go slow. Life wasn’t meant to be so fast.