Katri Vanhatalo graduate of Screen Academy Scotland, Edinburgh Napier BA Photography & Film writes about attending her first ENGAGE workshop which took place Mar 30th  – Apr 2nd  at the National Film School at IADT in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. ENGAGE is a training and project development programme for emerging writers, writer/directors and producers designed to foster  international creative collaboration. ENGAGE is run by Screen Academy Scotland, Edinburgh Napier University in partnership with the National Film School at IADT, Baltic Film and Media School at Tallinn University and The Department of Arts, Architecture and Design at Aalto University’s School of Art and Design in Helsinki


The first leg of the ENGAGE started in Ireland the first weekend in April. With excitement us “Edinburghers” left to represent Screen Academy Scotland. I say “Edinburghers” loosely as we were really a multi-national group of filmmakers representing Scotland. After getting to know the students cialis online cheap from the four partner universities and ENGAGE external participants better, this picture of three different nationalities representing another started to look more like a pattern than an abnormality. The multi-nationality that always felt natural at Screen Academy Scotland, also felt natural at ENGAGE. 

This cross-country collaboration and the exciting tension of ENGAGE resulted in an amazing exchange of ideas from morning to night. Networking started at breakfast, continued at the organized sessions and surgeries and persisted into the late hours – watching reference films in the hotel lobby to squeeze the most out of the short time together. It was a pure mobile and email detox, as there was simply no time or desire to check either. Everything that I needed was always within reach.

The days were structured around getting to know each other and our projects as fast as possible. It was quite intense at first, as it felt like we were pitching even on our coffee breaks. This helped me understand my documentary better and made the end goals clearer, thus I could talk about it more fluently to others. On one of the days we had a break from this pitching when Creative Europe (ex. MEDIA) came to talk about their new developments. On the same afternoon two alumni came to talk about their experiences on ENGAGE. We got a taste of what we were in for in the four workshops and also what our futures might hold. Donal Foreman showed his first feature on our second “day off”, which he had developed over ENGAGE. It felt like they were part of our workshop, guiding us through it and even joining us for a cheeky drink on the last night.

I came to the workshops with a feature documentary idea, looking to test it out. Through group sessions, I was inspired by the peer and mentor support, and the brainstorming became a space in which ideas bounced between each other’s projects naturally. This back and forth continues with contributions to each other’s projects both in person and online. Ireland was the beginning of intense working relationships coupled with wonderful friendships.