PIAF Connect

Meet Tom Vincent

Wednesday 26 October 2016

  • Interview
  • Profile

Watching 300 plus films a year for both work and pleasure, PIAF’s film programmer Tom Vincent subsists on a steady diet of international cinema and short films – all to bring the most compelling stories and striking cinematography to Perth’s favourite outdoor cinemas.

What made you want to work in film?

I was teaching in Japan and became interested in how cinema and other cultural exports had shaped how my students and I perceived each other. I think the social and cultural potential of cinema is huge and I want to be part of this.

Do you have an extraordinary collection of DVDs and old video tapes?

I think it’s quite an odd collection. I’m not someone who has to own all their favourite films as I often prefer to wait years to see them again at the cinema. So I tend to buy things that are harder to find and which I think I might miss if I don’t grab them. My collection is full of hard-to-find films – and it’s not all good.

What do you look for when choosing a film?

I ask myself two questions – has this film achieved what it set out to do? And is what it set out to do any good?

What is your favourite international cinema?

The Gartenbaukino in Vienna. It’s in a style of architecture that really appeals to me (early 1960s ‘international’ style), and because I’ve seen lots of great films there with a switched-on crowd.

Why did you add short films to the Lotterywest Festival Films program?

I think that when used well, the short film format can do lots more than feature films. I wanted to show shorts as a way of highlighting some interesting filmmakers in Australia.

What part do you think venue plays in the experience of watching films?

It’s hugely important. Simply put, a bad venue will deaden the experience and a good one will elevate it. This is becoming acutely important as cinema faces ongoing challenges from new technologies. But as long as exhibitors create great communal experiences, we will always want cinema.

What can audiences expect from this year’s program?

Stories about family, about friendship and about artists. And a lot of really distinctive, personal touches from genuine film artists. I think this year’s program feels more personal than last year’s.

Who is a new director we should keep an eye out for?

Maren Ade.

Any advice for people who want to get into film programming?

Watch as widely as you can, read a lot of film history, find what you like most and find a platform to discuss and promote your thoughts. If you keep trying, you will eventually find people who like your ideas.