Bianca-Olivia Nita
Bianca is a freelance journalist and documentary critic. She is a regular contributor to Modern Times Review.

Interview – Emilie Bujes

What is the focus of this year’s edition? Do you have a theme for the films selected in the festival this year?

Each year we have a Focus program and this year the country in focus is Serbia. For the program we selected eighteen films covering the last decade, and as part of our industry activities five projects will be pitched during the festival.

Besides this, Claire Simon is our Maître du Réel this year. This is a homage section dedicated to a filmmaker working both in fiction and documentary. Each year we also have two Ateliers, which combine retrospectives and master classes with two directors. This year we invited Robert Green from the United States and Philip Scheffner from Germany.

Claire Simon

 How did you choose these three guests? And why Serbia?

 The three of them create a spectrum of approaches and these three homages are meant to offer a certain span of practices and subjects. In the case of Robert Green, he is working on the tension between documentary and fiction in each film he makes, while Philip Scheffner has a very political interest that takes various forms. For me it is important to follow how his work evolves, getting sometimes more radical. Claire Simon on the other hand has a more classical approach, based on direct cinema but with a very personal style, and her fictions always have a remote relation to documentary.

Regarding the Focus program, which is a specific part of the Festival supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, I felt like Serbia was the obvious choice, since we have a strong relationship with the country, and happen to always have had interesting films coming from there. The structure of the Focus relies upon countries that have a consistent cinematography over the last 10-20 years, as well as producers and directors currently developing new projects. In Serbia there are many interesting people working in film at the moment and in the past few years. I am sure it will be very relevant to share and exchange ideas with them.

If you would have to describe the festival in five keywords that would describe what the festival is and what it means to you, what would those keywords be?

One keyword: cinema. It’s really all about the cinema. I will never just be looking for topics or for subjects. I am interested in some subjects, of course, and I want us to have many subjects, topics and protagonists, but what I am truly interested in is the way one is looking at them and trying to translate them into a cinematic language. Sometimes you find films that make you let go of everything you know because the film is so overwhelming it somehow embraces you, and in the end you feel that you have experienced something you didn’t expect. That’s what I am mostly looking for. But again, beyond this, the spectrum should be wide and open.

What does the term “movie that matters” mean to you?

 A movie that matters is a film that is going to stay with you. There are, of course, movies that matter for different reasons. Some movies are important for what they are saying. For some others, you cannot summarize and easily describe them or their effect because you have to experience them.

What are for you three documentary films everyone should see and why?

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