Category Archives: Interviews

Always Together at IDFA 2014 Competition for First Appearance

An interview with the Czech director Eva Tomanová, whose feature-length documentary Always Together, selected for IDFA 2014 Competition for First Appearance, premieres on November 20, 2014 in Amsterdam. Always Together is produced by Jiří Konečný (Endorfilm).

Plakat_always_together.

This is your first film, and it is already feature-length and in competition at IDFA.

Why did you switch from journalism to filmmaking?

Interesting stories have accompanied my entire professional life. I love them. I collect them. It’s not a radical change – rather, it’s an evolutionary step.  It’s important to know how to tell the story; minutes don’t count so much. I ‘ve directed many TV projects, documentaries, reporting (comparable to 60 minutes) before.

Journalism is a way of life; to me it is above all about curiosity. I also think I have a nose for interesting topics; I need to look at a subject from many different angles. I know how to make people talk to me. The arts, also, have enriched my whole life – drawing, sculpture, photography.

Eva_blackandwhite
Director: Eva Tomanová

How did you meet this family?

Another family that I helped as a journalist at the time introduced me. The man was very suspicious about me in the beginning. I remember standing behind the fence, being interviewed by him – he did not even invite me in.

Then, some weeks later, he expressed a wish to meet me again. He needed some help with the social welfare office. They did not like it that his children did not go to school.

ditko01_zuby_cisteni

How was your experience with the DOK.Incubator workshop?

DOK.Incubator was a great experience for me. I received very profound feedback from both sides, tutors and participants, which is always needed. The variety of nations and different points of view are another big advantage, and they all were so supportive. I believe it made me look differently at this and any other films that I might possibly make.
To be more specific, Sigrid Dyekjær gave me many dramaturgical ideas even before shooting. I met her through my work at the very first DOK.Incubator workshop. And the editor Per K. Kirkegaard (Armadillo) sort of reshaped my gaze and made it more relaxed, not so informative, and to let the characters speak for themselves.
Another important thing about this workshop is that you actually work with the whole team, the editor and the producer, and you develop the film together. Jiri has turned out to be a great help. Without him and without DOK.Incubator I would hardly have made it to IDFA.

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Master of the Light in Berlin 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall

An interview with  Marc Bauder, the director of Master of the Universe and creator of the Lichtgrenze (meaning border made out of light), the 8,000 glowing balloons that marked the former route of the Berlin Wall on the 25th anniversary of its Fall on Sunday 9/11/2014. Light artist Christopher Bauder and his filmmaker brother Marc began working on the concept for Lichtgrenze seven years ago, before the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Wall.
Marc Bauder & Christopher Bauder, lichtergrenze
Light artist Christopher Bauder and his filmmaker brother Marc Bauder (Master of the Universe)

I talked with Marc Bauder about Lichtgrenze in Berlin 25 years after the Berlin Wall fell down and the premiere of his latest documentary Master of the Universe (distributed by CineDoc), which premiers in Greece and four other countries (France, the Netherlands, Poland and Italy) and was recently nominated for the European Film Award 2014.

You can listen to my questions and his replies in the interview below:
1. From Concrete to Baloons, Berlin after 25 years. What's the difference?
2. What made you think about the Baloons, and what was the challenge about this project?
3. Greece is in a very bad financial situation. Many Greeks feel that it is mainly the Germans who set the rules in their country (financially and in politics). What is your opinion?
4. Do you have a special message for the Greek premiere of Master of the Universe and your Greek audience?
5. You are very interested in financial stories  - what is your next project about?

PODCAST: DocStories με τον Μάρκο Γκαστίν

Καλεσμένος στη ραδιοφωνική εκπομπή με θέμα το ντοκιμαντέρ DocStories στον KOSMOS 93,6 (1.12.2012 επί ΕΡΤ) ο Μάρκος Γκαστίν. Θέμα μας για 60 λεπτά η δουλειά του στην Ελλάδα με αφορμή το ντοκιμαντέρ Δημοκρατία ο δρόμος του σταυρού.

Marco Gastine
Director Marco Gastine

Απολαύστε την σε PODCAST:

An interview with Alexandros Papanikolaou & Emily Giannoukou about their film Hope on the Line

How did you approach your main character?

Hope on the line is an observational documentary without commentary. The content approach is direct and tells the story from the inside. We had exclusive access to Alexis Tsipras’s daily schedule.

The main aim of this documentary is to remain close to the character at all times. We tried, and believe we managed, to quickly gain his trust in order to create an honest and fair portrait. We wanted to have a successful portrait of his personality, so we initially tried to make ourselves “invisible” to the campaign team. Alexis Tsipras and his officials were not at all distrustful and did not hesitate to open their doors and let us into the core of the party.

We followed him throughout the campaign, right up until the final results. We have tried to reveal his personality by following him closely, listening to his speeches, meeting his friends, relatives and colleagues, but also by filming him in contact with voters. Each day we added more brushstrokes to his portrait in a bid to understand his goals and motivations.

By observing only one candidate in these elections and then his rise to the position of main opposition leader, we tried, with the aid of several events that occurred during shooting, to highlight the current state of democracy in Greece and feel the pulse of Greek society.

A&E-web

How did you manage to get behind the surface of the public person?

This was the challenging part because from the beginning it was clear with Alexis that we could do this documentary by filming him at work only. He didn't want us to film him with his family and we respected that. Accepting to do this documentary was tricky for him too. So we tried to film him as if we filmed any other person at work and focused on Tsipras the political person. We also asked him unconventional questins, more about his personal beliefs or about his past, rather than on current political issues.

HOPE_ON_THE_LINE_11

Are you satisfied with the way Alexis Tsipras is portrayed in the media (Greek and international)? Would you want to change that?

To be satisfied or not with the image of Alexis Tsipras in the media is not a question that we really ask ourselves - that is how the world functions. We are more interested in how the political system functions in our society. We are not image makers and we don't aim to change the course of things. We did this documentary because we wanted answers to our questions, even if in the end new questions come along. We think that the political situation in Greece makes the whole political picture even more dramatic. This makes sense because the situation is very tense, with big changes, scandals and injustice. Public opinion, the media and other countries are sceptical about all Greek politicians, not only Alexis Tsipras, and this is reflected in his image in the media.

What is he really like?

He is really friendly as a person. Also, without knowing us at all, he accepted our proposition to do this documentary and kept his word that he wouldn't interfere in the final cut, and that he would give us access to his office. He seems confident and calm, and is not afraid of his image, even when most of the media are punching him.

On the other hand, we won't make any comment on the politician, that's for the documentary audience to decide.

What was the challenge for you telling this story?

The challenge was that this doc is a portrait, but it's also the portrait of a politician. When you make a portrait of someone, you need to be fair with what you see and with the person that accepted you to film them. You need also to get closer to this person, and try to understand their way of thinking, even when you don't always agree. Then, when you do a documentary involving current affairs and politics, it gets tricky to balance the proximity you have with the person you film and the observational part filming the politician.

What was also challenging was to show the general feeling of a complicated period for Greece from the perspective of the offices of a political party during an election campaign.

How did you approach co-directing the film?

We are used to working together for years now; our experiences are common experiences. When we start a new project, with new challenges, we try to remember our past experiences and to go on. We discuss a lot about what we can expect. As independent directors and producers, we work together all along a project, from early writing until the end of post-production.

How did you work visually?

The conditions were not ideal because we had to work as a very small team. It was challenging to try to be creative at all times in these conditions. We tried to do nice outdoor images and close portraits in indoor scenes.

Could you give us some details about the production?

We started the production on our own. Then we did a rough cut with the help of our editor, Angelos Angelidis, who was selected with it at Berlinale's Talent Campus. We were thrilled! Angelos is a great editor, calm and wise. His mentor at Berlinale was touched by the work Angelos did on our doc. Then we found a co-producer, Ilias Bovalis, at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. He was very exited about our project and for that we thank him because we needed the support. It's always nice to find people who believe in your project and that can help you to continue to work on it. Finally we got the support of the French script fund SCAM.

HOPE_POSTER_A0_GR_horizontale

The film premiers at the Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival "Images of the 21st Century", Tonia Marketaki Cinema Theatre, 16/03/2014 at 20.00 and 18/03/2014 at 22.30.


CREDITS

Production: Persona Production (France)

Co-Production : Elibo Productions (Greece)

Script, Direction and Production:

Alexandros Papanikolaou & Emily Giannoukou

Co-Producer: Ilias Bovalis

Editing: Aggelos Aggelidakis

Camera: Alexandros Papanikolaou

Sound: Stavros Avramidis

Research: Makis Malafekas


PERSONA PRODUCTION

http://www.personaproduction.com

http://www.facebook.com/personaprod

http://www.youtube.com/personaproduction

Interview with Gudrun Sommer, doxs!

Dimitra Kouzi talked with Gudrun Sommer, the director of the unique festival Doxs!, which just took place in Duisburg, Germany (November 4-10). Watch the interview.(video in German with Greek subtitles)

doxs! is the oldest German film festival exclusively presenting documentaries for children and adolescents. The international film programme is part of the well-known documentary festival Duisburger Filmwoche. Each screening is accompanied by a moderated Q&A. The entry to all screenings is free for accredited festival guests and pupils.

doxs! works in various fields of media education and constantly develops new pilot-projects that set pace and break new ground.
doxs! jointly produced with the Goethe Institut a unique European Documentary film package, Young Heroes, in 2006.

Who is Michael Haneke ?

In 25 years, Michael Haneke established himself as one of the most important directors in cinema history. From his early work to AMOUR, he created a unique universe, revealing like no other the dregs of our society, or existential fears and emotional outbursts. Through the vision of his actors and previously unseen footage, MICHAEL H. depicts the work of a rare artist. images

Yves Montmayeur talked to Dimitra Kouzi about his new documentary Michael H. Profession: Director when visiting Athens for the screening at CineDoc on October 9, 2013.Yves MONTMAYEUR

Listen to the interview he gave me (in English).

Watch the official trailer.

“THE CLEANERS” the true face of “Golden Dawn”


Konstantinos Georgousis was born in Athens, Greece in 1980. He holds a degree in Social Anthropology from Pantion University, Athens. In 2007 he continued his postgraduate studies in Visual Anthropology and Ethnographic Documentary at the University of Manchester, UK. Having discovered his passion for documentary, he joined the National Film and Television School. He graduated from the school in March 2013. His latest film, “THE CLEANERS” follows the pre-election campaign of the neo-Nazi party “Golden Dawn”.IMG_9712

What was the role of the Greek media with respect to the Golden Dawn in your opinion?

In the beginning, about one and a half year ago, the Greek media were a bit ignorant of the neo-Nazi identity of Golden Dawn. A lot of journalists were treating Golden Dawn as a common political party, let alone that some journalists and TV broadcasters supported them intentionally. Moreover, they were presented as a tough attractive life style for youngsters and so on. Lately, especially after the arrests, corporate media became more critical and try to expose the Nazi past and present of Golden Dawn. However, there are still a lot of awkward approaches, since a lot of reporters have no idea who these people really are.

You are a Visual Anthropologist – how do your studies influence your point of view and your approach to your film, The Cleaners?

As a visual anthropologist I am trained to approach every social context quite differently than the majority of journalists and directors. I have developed extreme patience and the ability to live with aggressive people for extended periods of time. The anthropological technique helped me approach Golden Dawn members slowly and with the necessary persistence I managed to gain access and film them. It is “participant observation”, a method initially applied by anthropologists and now wide spread in other social sciences, that helped me coexist with Golden Dawnists.

What does the film show and what does it not?

In the movie you can watch Golden Dawn members being openly racist in front of the camera and actually being proud of it. You can see the banality of their cruel and vulgar behaviour, full of resentment. Their need for scapegoats and victims is more than obvious. You will not see knives and killings or any actual physical violence.

THE_CLEANERS2
What are your sources of inspiration? Which issues in Greece interest you?

That’s a very difficult question to answer. My interests are not limited around politics like the neo-Nazi movement for example. I had a great interest in the Golden Dawn issue as I have experienced their politics since I was an adolescent but now I want to move to different issues. For me it is not the issue that it is important but the aesthetics of a film which actually make the movie work. Having said that, every issue can be turned into a good film if the director knows what he/she is doing and tries to make a movie and not reportage for TV.

What is it that makes you prefer to live outside Greece?

Living abroad is not that easy as Greeks believe but there is a big difference, especially being a director, compared to living in Greece. In our country there are not enough “critical minorities” involved in the art world or even in academia. There are not enough specialists willing to build a context in which artists and thinkers can operate creatively. I write better film proposals when I live in London that when I am in Greece. I think Greek society is very conservative and people who want to do something different can easily disappear in the wrong context. I want to make films with Greece as a location but not live in the country.

What’s your take on the state of political affairs in Greece today?
What would you change in the country’s policy if you had a magic wand?

I am sure the biggest problem of Greek politics is definitely the presence of Golden Dawn in the parliament and the increasing support to the extreme right in general by Greek society. It is inconceivable to hear MPs deny the holocaust and who are openly Nazis inside the parliament of the “cradle of democracy”. It is disappointing to watch Greeks becoming fascists so easily.

What is the role of aesthetics in a documentary film?

Aesthetics for a film is almost everything. Stories are important but actually not that important. Through the aesthetics of a film, through image and sound, our perception changes and that is how we become able to experience a film and live the apocalypse of it. Documentaries which stand on the side of journalism are indifferent to me. I do not believe that revelations are important for a society.

How did you intend the filming and the shots you chose for The Cleaners to function?

I want the audience to be able to experience the film like being on location with Golden Dawn members. That is why the film is purely observational. I want people to feel the resentment of the neo-Nazis and in the end to feel that they cannot take more. I tried to make a film with good aesthetics so the audience can feel the sense of place, the neighbourhood and not only listen to what people say. It is more important how the film looks that what the characters say. That is why I don’t like interview films which are often very dry and the sense of place is absent.

What is your opinion about script in documentaries – does it fit cinéma vérité?

The script in observational cinema is a challenging issue. When you propose an idea to a production company you have to prove that you will follow a certain path so commissioning editors will give you funding. But life is unpredictable so an observational movie is always made on the way and it’s always transforming. I do believe though that the director should know where he/she is going especially in terms of aesthetics and form of the film. Script in the sense of fiction movies and storyboards are almost impossible to be prepared in observational cinema.

Your model is Victor Kosakovsky. How did he inspire you in this film?

Kossakovsky is kind of a lonely fighter in the documentary industry. But we do need people like him. Without directors like Kossakovsky the art of documentary would have died already. I cannot say that The Cleaners is a Kossakovsky type movie, this would be stupid. But I was always bringing in mind some of his rules that I also want to apply to my next projects. That the aesthetics of cinema are always a priority, that the basis of cinema is image and not really what people say and that films need to have something to show, not something to say. Even if somebody does not follow exactly his rules you always become a better filmmaker if you listen to him.

What has your film’s trajectory been so far?

The Cleaners premiered at IDFA last year in the student competition section and the film was also screened at the same festival as one of five films that are important for Europe currently. It was a special screening of the “Vrij Nederland” magazine. It won the special Jury prize of the Sarajevo film festival in August 2013. It has also being screened in smaller festivals. Part of it was broadcasted by Channel4 in England and it was also screened on a special workshop at the “Topography of Terror” museum in Berlin last spring. Now the film premieres in Greece and it also sent in other festivals around the world.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing, as you have, a Master’s degree at the British National Film and Television School?

The NFTS is an amazing film school. I would suggest to any of my friends to study there without a shadow of a doubt. It is a unique community of people and it has cutting edge equipment. I can’t really think of any negatives in the school. It’s just a bit industry oriented but this is not necessary negative. Maybe people who want to follow a more “arty” career will find NFTS is more of an industry school but in my opinion any student can find a personal pathway and actually the tutors who have a huge experience leave us do whatever we like. The films students make in NFTS are actually quite diverse.

http://www.channel4.com/news/racist-anti-semitic-violent-the-true-face-of-golden-dawn

Director’s Filmography: (All documentaries)
1. Skizaftiko: 67 minutes 2010
2. The Festival 16 minutes 2010
3. Gathering 18 minutes 2010
4. Foreseeing 6 minutes 2010
5. The Parliament Square Diaries 12 minutes 2011
6. The Last War 4 minutes 2011
7. Khaos 30 minutes 2011
8. The Cleaners 36 minutes 2012

Τι μου λες; Για πες για πες…

DocStories
15.00-16.00 KOSMOS 93,6 και 107 με τη Δήμητρα Κουζή
Το Σάββατο 30 Μαρτίου 2013 η εκπομπή DocStories είναι αφιερωμένη σε στιγμιότυπα του 15ου Φεστιβάλ Ντοκιμαντέρ Θεσσαλονίκης που μόλις ολοκληρώθηκε.

Με συνεντεύξεις των Κατερίνα Πατρώνη (για τη νέα της δουλειά, που παρουσιάστηκε στο Docs in Progress), Μαριάννα Οικονόμου (Food for love), Χριστίνα Κουτσοσπύρου (Στο Λύκο) και Γιώργου Αυγερόπουλου (Αγορά, παρουσιάστηκε στο Pitching forum).

Εκπομπή DocStories - KOSMOS 93,6 και 107 FM, κάθε Σάββατο 15.00-16.00
και ζωντανά στο διαδίκτυο: http://tvradio.ert.gr/radio/liveradio/kosmos.asp

 

Στενό μαρκάρισμα στον Όλι Ρεν

Ποιος είναι ο Ολι Ρεν;
Τι κάνει στον ελεύθερο του χρόνο;
Έχει ελεύθερο χρόνο ! ;
Τι είδους άνθρωπος είναι και ποια είναι η αποστολή του;

Η ΣΑΡΑ ΣΑΟΥΡE- ΣΟΥΦΛΑ ζει τα τελευταία 25 χρόνια στην Έλλάδα. Είναι Φινλανδή δημοσιογράφος και εργάζεται για το φιλανδίκο δημόσιο κανάλι YLE (την Φινλανδική ΕΡΤ δηλαδή) και το ραδιόφωνο.

Την περίοδο 2010-2012 συνεργάστηκε με τον σκηνοθέτη PEKKA LEHTO για την παραγωγή του ντοκιμαντέρ The Commissioner με θέμα τον Όλι Ρεν, τον Επίτροπο της ΕΕ για τις οικονομικές και νομισματικές υποθέσεις.

Ακούστε την συνέντευξη που η Sara Saure-Soufla παραχώρησε στη Δήμητρα Κουζή, με θέμα την εμπειρία και το παρασκήνιο της παραγωγής του ντοκιμαντέρ The Commissioner που πραγματοποιήθηκε στην Ελλάδα

Making of … A Film Unfinished

listen to the interview with the producer Itay Ken-Tor.