Dead pigeons, live sheep, naked men: welcome to Kino Kabaret
There’s been a burst of film-making in the heart of Dublin thanks to Kino, an international network of guerrilla filmmakers.
Liam Mac an Bhaird and George Hooker of Kino Dublin
Someone is looking for a dead pigeon,” says Liam Mac an Bháird, a co-organiser of Kino Kabaret. “Does anyone have a dead pigeon?”
Film-making is a funny business. Mac an Bháird, a hirsute and ebullient presence, is sitting in the middle of a former factory space at the top floor of Applerock Studios on Foley Street, in Dublin, helping prospective film-makers as part of Ireland’s first Kino Kabaret. Sitting beside him is Kino Dublin’s more deadpan founder, George Hooker.
Behind them is a table with food. At the other end of the large space, laptops are ready for editing. Gathered before them are 55 amateur and professional film-makers, 20 of them Irish, who spent this week filming, editing and screening dozens of short films. “There’ll be very little sleep,” says Hooker.
Kino Kabaret involve a bunch of film-makers banding together to make a spate of short films in a short period. Kino started in Montreal in 1999 when a group of film-makers decided to make a film every month in the run-up to the millennium. It soon spread to other cities. Now there are more than 70 film-obsessed guerrilla Kino “cells” in different cities around the world. “There’s one in Mexico,” says Mac an Bháird with surprise. “I didn’t know that before, but I’ve just met a guy from Kino Mexico. He’s here.”
Hooker discovered Kino after finishing a college course in film. “I was feeling a bit disillusioned with film-making but then I heard about a Kino Kabaret in Prague . . . I didn’t know anyone. I had no money. I just arrived in Prague and three days later I had a film.”
Subsequently he’s been to visit kinos in Brussels and Strasbourg and this year, Hooker and Mac an Bháird travelled to Hamburg for the biggest Kino Kabaret of them all: “Two hundred and fifty film-makers made 150 films in nine days,” says Mac an Bháird.
What’s the appeal? “The kino motto is ‘do well with nothing, do better with a little and do it now,’” says Hooker.
“Film people often put a lot of emphasis on the finished product but not the process. The main thing with kino is breaking down economic and social borders and creating a global network. It’s about doing it rather than just talking about it.
“It’s non-competitive. It’s collaboration . . . Competition can be great for creativity but it can also stifle creativity. This is a festival where people are encouraged to work together for everyone’s good rather than competing.”
Here in Applerock, participants introduce themselves and outline what they can do. They come from all over the world. Many operate cameras and direct. There’s a make-up artist and a good smattering of actors and writers. There are also some less obvious cinematic talents. “I’m a mathematician,” says Hooker’s friend Sam Bouma to an enthusiastic whoop from the crowd. “So . . . if you need the trajectory of any projectiles calculated, I can do that.”