It’s rare to see something today where the sole purpose is altruistic. KinoD is a non-profit organisation whose mandate is simply to make films – guerrilla films – gathering together like-minded individuals and using whatever resources they want or need. It’s non-hierarchical, non-competitive and erodes the exclusivity often associated with filmmaking, replacing it with an inclusivity that breaks down the social and financial boundaries usually seen in the film industry. Totally Dublin caught up with founder, George Hooker, and co-founder (along with Paul Butler Lennox) Liam Mac an Bhaird to talk about the upcoming cabaret they’re organising.
So tell us a little bit about KinoD:
Liam: KinoD is the Dublin section of the Kino movement. Essentially we’re running three separate cabarets for filmmakers, editors, actors etc. to come together and make films. People only pay a registration fee that covers food and the venue rental. Obviously it’s not for profit – all the proceeds just go back into the project. It’s a similar set of beliefs and ideals in Kino cells all over the world.
George: It’s a little bit glamorous and a little bit punk.
Do you ever have any ideas about what the Kino films will be like beforehand?
L: It depends. Either you can have a full concept and use members of KinoD to help you make it happen, or you can come up with an idea with other people when you arrive. You can make whatever you want. No one tells you can’t make a film. The only constrictions are that there’s zero budget. It’s definitely enriched by the fact that there are so many minds all coming together. It’s often a really great way of getting a film made that’s been sitting in your head. The quality varies too. Some Kino films have gone on to be screened at international film festivals. I find it shocking how good some of them really are considering the budget. Personally, I don’t really care about the quality of the films though; they’re not for anyone to judge. The films speak for themselves.
Why do people want to take part? What is so attractive about the Kino movement?
L: It’s a collaborative thing and they’re very addictive. You get a sense of the comradery of the people involved and the creativity all around you. It’s just a great way to make films.
G: There’s a little bit of an adrenalin-junkie aspect to it too. You have 48 hours to make a film, so you’re really off your feet the whole time.
Did you have any funds before you started?
L: Not really. Funding tends to determine the kind of film that gets made. You can see that in all the Hollywood blockbusters. They can be formulaic. No funding usually tends to mean more artistic freedom.
G: Or you can experiment. People want to try something out without the risk of money.
Can you tell us about the ‘non-competitive’ aspect of the project?
L: We don’t have the idea of something being the “best” or there being a prize within KinoD. Everyone’s going to clap either way. It’s a very supportive atmosphere, especially if it’s your first film. People are there to help you out. Everyone likes to be creative, and Kino is a non-judgemental way of starting. People utilise Kino to step into a more professional realm.
G: In Ireland there’s that dilemma that if you don’t have work, you can’t get experience and if you don’t have experience, you cant get work. Kino bridged that gap for me personally. I came out of college and I didn’t really have any experience; no one cares about the college short you made. Kino’s really helped me to get places. Most recently it helped me get to Palestine where I was organising film- making and photography workshops for a month in Jenin with my girlfriend.
Are you seeing countries using Kino projects as a political mouthpiece in any way? Does this contradict the essence of the movement?
G: We’re political only in a sense that we’re apolitical. But yeah, I’m sure countries will start to use it in the best way that suits them. I think Kino needs to stay predominantly apolitical though, so that anyone can come in and use it as a microphone.
L: Every action is political in my opinion. A Kino film is a political act. Just saying, “Let’s make a film together”, without having to ask people, “Can we?” The power of people coming together and making something is political.
Your motto is “do well with nothing, do better with a little, and do it now”. Can you expand on exactly what you mean by this?
G: To be part of Kino you just need one camera, one person and an idea. That’s what our motto is trying to suggest. It’s also about the immediacy of it. You have a choice between doing nothing for the weekend and making a film. Go and make something! I see Kino as a megaphone for other people to use. We’re the organisers right now, but hopefully more people will get involved. It’s going to become it’s own organic thing.
Historically, Ireland has always had a rich oral storytelling tradition, do you see Kino as a continuation of this?
L: I think storytelling is definitely in the roots of the movement. Kino pushes forward storytelling because anyone can have a voice.
G: Precisely. People finally can tell their stories, without the need for money.
And how can you see it expanding?
L: Hopefully in the future we’ll see a KinoB in Belfast, a KinoC in Cork and a KinoG in Galway. We want to see it really take off in Ireland. Why not!?
KinoD takes place from 12th to 20th July. This will consist of three sessions- the first from 12th to 13th July, the second from 14th to 16th July and the third from 17th to 19th. Each session costs €15. Screenings on 12th and 13th July take place at the Twisted Pepper. Tickets are €5. For more see www.wearekinod.com or www.facbook.com/kinodublin
Words: Molly Rowan Hamilton