MakeDox, the festival for socially engaged cinema and documentary film, was established in Skopje in 2010 with the mission to share and promote creative documentary films and art. With its 10th edition occurring 21-28 August 2019, Modern Times Review spoke with the festival’s Artistic Director, Petra Seliskar.
Speaking about the 2019 festival, can you tell us what the overall theme of 2019’s edition is?
This year we celebrate our 10th anniversary and we chose co-production as a theme because it is something very rare in the region. We invited producers and funders from the region – from Slovenia to Greece – to try to find a way to co-finance docs within the region.
Regarding the program, the only focus is on Eastern Europe and the fall of the Berlin Wall, because this year is its 30th anniversary. We picked eight films from different periods approaching subjects such as why the wall was there in the first place, why did it fall, and discussing what remains from the legacy of what was there and is now gone.
We invited producers and funders from the region – from Slovenia to Greece – to try to find a way to co-finance docs within the region.
Can you provide some insight into the selection process? Is there any one particular criterion you look for when making the selections?
We only stick to one rule – that is to have good films, regardless of the subject. We are not interested in films about something specific but in films that change us. And we are looking for variety in approach.
Do you have a documentary that was seminal to your interest with the genre?
One film that influenced me a lot is Grey Gardens (1976) – which gives insight into a parallel world. It made me realize there can be a world behind the doors you see, but you will never reach that world unless you make a documentary. That was the first time I was drawn into reality filmmaking.
Where do you see your documentary landscape progressing in the next decade?
We are very focused on high school education. We have a program through which every highschool screens 12 documentaries we select. And every year, we have four films being made by high school kids. We realized that in our region, schools don’t pay attention to documentaries. They are seen as something you do to practice. But now I think young people see potential in documentaries, and they can say anything they want – it is freedom of speech put in practice. Of course, it’s a skill and a lot of people don’t learn. But I see the future in this. I also see that newcomers are making much better films. This is the 5th edition when I feel that I could have a full edition screening only newcomers – first and second films. And this kind of supports my theory about the future.
Read all Modern Times Review coverage of documentaries featured at MakeDox HERE