NEU NOW LIVE Retrospective: Part 5 - Robbe Vervaeke, Film Maker 16 August 2013

'I'm kind of having my 15 minutes of fame.
 I'm actually looking forward to all that being over...

When this interview was conducted via skype on 18 June, 2013 Belgian Film Maker Robbe Vervaeke had just snatched the prize for the Best Debut Film at The Annecy International Film Festival, amongst the most prestigious events in the animation field. Norman, his winning short, is his first professional work since his graduation from film academy, making this achievement all the more impressive.

Not surprisingly, in the interim Vervaeke and Norman have gained even more heat. With upcoming screenings at another of the world's great festivals, The Montréal World Film Festival, as well as at a 'big American festival' that he is not at liberty to disclose details about at this time, Vervaeke's star is rising - but all he's hoping for is to get back to work on his signature style, oil painted animation. Don't know what that is or what it looks like? Scroll below to watch the full version of Erszebet, his entry in NEU NOW 2009, and a trailer for Norman. Read more »

NEU NOW LIVE Retrospective: Part 4 - Bogdan Gîrbovan, Photographer 05 August 2013

'For the first two weeks I stay in a new place I can't take any photos at all... '

Bogdan Gîrbovan is not interested in photographing sensational things. In his work, documentary photography that focuses largely on domesticity - how humans arrange and live in spaces, whether it be a communist era housing block in Bucharest or a small village in the Romanian countryside -  he is always looking for images that express a deeper understanding of a place.

The NEU NOW team dispatched Adina Ochea, resident NEU NOW documentarian, to catch up with Bogdan and talk about old - and new - times. 

This interview was conducted in Romanian via skype on the June 19, 2013 and translated by Adina Ochea.  Read more »

NEU NOW LIVE Retrospective: Part 3 - Mindaugas Bačkus, Cellist and Orchestra Art Director 30 July 2013

'Some of my colleagues were shocked by this, because at that moment I had already three kids.

But professional development was in progress  and I didn’t want to stop.

Mindaugas Bačkus is an accomplished musician who has dabbled in many forms of artistic practice -  from pioneering the revival of baroque cello in Lithuania as a freelance Cellist (at the time he was the only musician in the country who played a baroque instrument) to championing diverse concert programmes that attract broader audiences as the Art Director of the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra. In tempo with all this he is also a father and a dedicated educator to children whose endeavors can teach us all about balancing the responsibilities of life with our creative passions.

Bačkus's contribution to NEU NOW LIVE 2009, 'On the Edge', reflected the 300-year evolution of the cello. This music programme featured baroque and modern cello performances that contrasted the compositions, playing techniques, and instruments themselves yet still brought them together into one musical entity.

The NEU NOW team dispatched Jessica Maxwell, resident cello and diversity enthusiast, to catch up with Mindaugas and hear how the beat goes on.   

This interview was conducted via written correspondence the week of June 10, 2013.  Read more »

NEU NOW LIVE Retrospective: Part 2 - Koji Wakayama, Experience Designer 19 July 2013

'Do you have a pet?
Are you comfortable in the presence of robots?
Would you like to have a robot as a pet?
Would you like to have a robot as a servant?
Would you like to have a robot as a slave?'

These are just a few of the questions Koji Wakayama, Swedish Experience Designer and participant of the first edition of the NEU NOW LIVE Festival, investigates through his work with applied robotics and new technologies. 

Wakayama's presentation in Design at the NEU NOW LIVE Festival in Vilnius, ‘Robot Garden: Can Machines Have Experiences?’, primed the audience to consider these matters. 

Wakayama recently landed the position of Frontend Developer for the Nordic region's leading digitial agency, Creuna, and in the past has created electronic promotion campaigns for household names like IKEA, Volkswagon, and Grolsch as well as having taught Experience Design to Master Students at Konstfack University.

The NEU NOW team dispatched Jessica Maxwell, resident festival tech nerd, to catch up with Koji and see where life has taken him - and his creations - over the years.

This interview was conducted via skype on June 20, 2013.  Read more »

NEU NOW LIVE Retrospective Launches: Part 1 - Susanne Irene Fjørtoft, Theatre Maker 17 July 2013

'Talk with people and be curious. I think that's a good approach to most things. Be curious, and investigate, and engage.'

This is the answer Susanne Irene Fjørtoft, Norwegian theater maker and participant of the first edition of the NEU NOW LIVE Festival, offered when asked what advice she would give to the young artists in this year's Festival, now on its fifth edition.

Not one to shy away from her own advice, Susanne is currently engaging with the world in a number of different ways; from her her freelance work as a sceneographer, to her theatre making with the performance ensemble LIVESTOCK, and her collaboration with the Happy Gorilla Dance Company, her artistic endeavours have led her to unexpected encounters - including finding herself in Istanbul in the midst of June's protests.  

A self described '100% Happy Gorilla', all of her undertakings are marked by a thoughtful playfullness that emanates from her sense of curiosity as well a keen sense of awareness, reflection, and social responsibility.

The NEU NOW team dispatched resident festival busybody Jessica Maxwell to catch up with Susanne and see where life has taken her - and her art - over the years.

Returning to the craft of the long form interview, what follows is a condensed form of the longer original version. In regards to today's bitesize media consumption it includes section headings to expedite reading.

This interview was conducted via skype on June 19, 2013.  Read more »

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