I was watching a documentary on Eisenstein and the Battleship Potemkin on the TV the other night and it's impact at the time was so great that during the Odessa Steps sequence people were astonished to witness the birth of a new art form. Previously Cinema had been stage bound and an extension of vaudeville. At a stroke the power of Eisenstein's imagery, direction and editing put Cinema on a level with the best of fine art, architecture and music. Eisenstein had the resources of Revolutionary Russia at his disposal. He was not working with no or a low budget.

Until the recent development of camcorders you've really needed a substantial budget to make a halfway enjoyable film.

With notable if eccentric exceptions, according to taste from Bunuel to Cassavetes, from Ed Wood to Ken Loach, the great works of cinema have had the luxury of a substantial budget.

We at the Portobello Film Festival believe the introduction of Digital Technology will change all that.

The Portobello Film Festival started five years ago mainly as a reaction to what we believed was the moribund state of the British Film Industry. We decided to show films in unusual surroundings : in nightclubs, bars, community centres and parks and not to charge for admission.

And by showing every film submitted we presented in a non-judgemental way the complete cross section of grassroots film and video creativity. We'd be lying if we said every film was brilliant. But luckily most of the films were short so even if they were out of focus, inaudible, badly written, edited and acted it didn't really matter because they were over in five or ten minutes. In fact the most technically inadequate became a genre of their own and filmmakers and viewers often moments of high if unintentional hilarity in the directors girlfriends who couldn't act, the leaden scripts, the yawning gulf between intention and achievement.

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