When you hear FIFA 20-10 South Africa, you remember the unity and the camaraderie that South Africa experienced for the first time in many years. There is a debate as to if that magic has lasted up to 2013 but we can all agree that 2010 was a year for togetherness, a year of bridging the gaps. That being said everyone knows that FIFA is the World Cup soccer championships. Everyone knows the IRB World Cup is the rugby World Cup. Everyone knows that the ICC is the cricket World Cup. But what is the world cup for magicians?
The Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magiques (FISM) (International Federation of Magic Societies) is the magicians’ world cup. FISM takes place every 3 years and in 2015 FISM will be in Rimini, Italy. This past year was the 25th World Championships competition and it took place in Blackpool, United Kingdom.
The federation was created in 1948 and today consists of more than 80 societies national and international as well as national federations that represent over 50,000 magicians. Their aims are:
• To be a leading platform, unifying magic societies from all over the world, committed to the enhancement, promotion and development of the Art of Magic;
• To develop, elevate, promote the art of magic and to preserve the knowledge of the history of magic;
• To coordinate the activities of Member Societies, enhancing their authority and encouraging the exchange of reciprocal cooperation and services
• To fight against exposure and copies of acts, effects or inventions, presentations or original routines
• To organise international events such as the FISM World Championships of Magic and supervise Continental Championships of Magic.
This is THE most powerful convention to date. To be a participant and come stone-cold last does not mean you suck. To be able to fulfill all the criteria to perform at FISM means that you have incredible talent, creativity beyond comprehension and a love and desire for magic that is unthinkable. To enter FISM means you are going to face the crème de la crème. You ARE the crème de la crème! Only 150 participants (100 for stage and 50 for close-up) take part in FISM so if you make it – you are seriously talented.
The rules to enter FISM are extensive and 7 pages long. Basically to participate in FISM you need to have reached FISM level (That is over 50 points in a previous competition) and you need to belong to a magic organisation that is under FISM auspices. OR if you reach FISM level and are not part of an organisation that is under the FISM umbrella, if you receive a letter from the FISM president then you are eligible to enter. To qualify into FISM you as the contestant need to own the rights to the effect and the rights to perform it.
There are many prizes to be won in either stage or close – up performances. Stage prizes are for best comedy performance, illusions, mental magic, manipulations and general magic. Close – up prizes are for card magic, micro-magic and parlour magic. The Grand Prix winners are not World Champions but the title precedes world champion. For e.g. John Smith is the FISM Grand Prix winner 2012 and the World Champion Manipulator 2012.
This year the Grand Prix winner for Stage was Yu Ho Jin from Korea. He also won FISM for Manipulation. His video posted below will show you why. The magic was incredible. The grace of how he maneuvered the cards was phenomenal!
The Grand Prix close – up winner was Yann Frisch from France. Yann Frisch also won FISM in the Parlour section. Parlour is neither close – up nor stage. It is kind of in-between. His act was incredible. Both acts in fact were so beautiful to watch. The cups and balls routine dates back centuries ago and to see it in the 21 century being performed in a way that is so unique and so theatrical really shows you just a glimpse of how creative Yann is. No final loads in his act, which is new and unorthodox for a cups and balls fanatic, but new is good and when it is performed at a level that Yann did – it is just remarkable.
One day I would love to attend a FISM convention, maybe even participate in it. My magic is far from the level of FISM but I’m working on it. Enjoy the two acts and know that if magicians are dropping their jaws at these performances then it has to be the best.