«Maybe we have to wait until 2022»

Porto/Post/Doc: Festival Director Dario Oliveira speaks on the 2020 adaptation of the much loved Porto-based film festival.

Steve Rickinson
Steve Rickinson
Communications Manager at Modern Times Review.
Published date: November 19, 2020

The 2020 Porto/Post/Doc meets in hybrid form between 20 – 29 November 2020. From Porto, Portugal and the world, Porto/Post/Doc holds the usual competitions (International Competition and Cinema Novo Competition), which aim to reveal the most hidden pearls of contemporary cinema, as well as supplemental programming covering local cinema, music, and more

Before launching, Modern Times Review spoke with its Director, Dario Oliveira on the challenges and opportunities faced in the year of COVID-19.

Can you discuss the themes present at this year’s festival?
The festival presents a special program around the theme of the life and death of cities, discussing ideologies, social problems, all that in the program «The After City», with a selection of films that aims to reflect some of the problems about the city, from modernity to the present day and including two beautiful Portuguese gems The Invention of Love from António Campos and Colossal Youth from Pedro Costa. A shortlist that runs through both visions of filmmakers consecrated to the history of cinema and other filmmakers still to be discovered, and events as striking as rural exodus, migration, war, or ghettofication. Along with films, we have like in previous editions the «Forum of the Real», an international meeting that aims to think and discuss contemporary cinema. In 2020, the forum will present three roundtables with guest speakers that will discuss in 3 panels The After City: Historie(s) of City, Imagined Cities, and Fuck The Polis.

What sort of opportunities has the shift to online/hybrid presented to Porto/Post/Doc that would not have been possible in a traditional setting?
Our public can participate from home, seeing films on the VoD platform if they are not able to come to the theatre or if everything in the festival needs to be canceled. We decided this last March when all the film festivals began to be canceled.

Now, in November, we have to deal with a 50% reduction of seats, so in case of sold out screenings, everybody still has the online option from home.

How do you see the future of the physical film festival in the post-COVID-19 era?
Festival organizers are waiting for an optimistic wave in the new year, but maybe we have to wait until 2022. With the new tools, like VoD platforms there will be options for the nearest future, but we hope it will never arrive at a situation where we can call that a «Film Festival».

For this year’s festival, what is something you are particularly looking forward to?
To keep the public in touch with the reality of the cultural events that still can happen in a safe zone, the place where we can watch and talk about films even with restrictions.

What has been an important documentary film in your own appreciation for the genre?
I remember seeing Errol Morris’ Thin Blue Line downtown New York back in 1998 and feeling challenged and surprised, first with the commercial success in the United States, then the Academy considering it too controversial because of the innovative filmmaking. In fact, it was almost a film noir, a documentary noir, using reenactment, with the sublime Philip Glass soundtrack. More important than anything else, the result was the release of someone who was in prison. It is a film that is bigger than life.