AO: Is the quality of the films what you had hoped for?
DE: Absolutely and more so. They are definitely of a different quality than the films that have come out of the region before. We are very pleased that most of them have reached this level. It shows the passion of the filmmakers, their willingness to really work on the films. Quite a lot of the films were made by first-time directors, 25-30%, which is part of the process. Partly because they are young people and because HIV affects their age group more than any other age group, they are the ones who know what their peers are facing. I think for them it was a good experience because it gave them actual production experience with an international outlook.
Between the filmmakers it’s very much a feeling of a community. Not that it excludes anybody, but it’s a feeling of ‘Look! We’ve done something together’. Everybody really enjoyed it. Even though every filmmaker said, ‘It’s probably the most difficult film I’ve ever made,’ I think it’s because the subject matter is very emotional, so it’s very difficult. But also because they were encouraged to go as far as they could creatively and given all the support they could in order to do that.
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