Category Archives: People

EXOTICA, EROTICA, Etc. on DocStories

The film by Evangelia Kranioti was selected at the 56th Berlinale Forum, and Evangelia won  the Best Emerging International Filmmaker award at Hot Docs.  Next week Evangelia's film will be the opening film at the Syros International Film Festival (Greece) and will then travel to Karlovy Vary. The director was my guest at Hellenic Radio 3 (ERA 3)'s show DocStories on documentaries and storytelling last summer.  



It took Evangelia Kranioti nine years to complete the film research and shooting. She became a sailor herself,  travelling to 20 countries, from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea, venturing into the Atlantic, the Magellan Straight and the Pacific, from Panama to the Baltic, all the way to the North Pole. The material – 450 hours of video footage! – was edited by Giorgos Lambrinos.

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"Exotica, Erotica, Etc. navigates centuries-old trade routes and speaks to the universal orientation towards exploration, expression and affection. But above all, it is a love note to the forgotten, hidden and ignored men and women whose long sojourns, dangerous travels and bouts of loneliness are paradoxically essential for societies to function. Exotica, Erotica, Etc. is a documentary conceived as an endless journey, an ongoing dialogue between man and woman, nature and the world. The film's non-linear narrative embraces the rhythm of merchant ships in perpetual motion and unfolds like a landscape, an archipelago : a retired woman of the night reflects on encounters with past lovers long gone, perhaps lost at sea. We listen to her as she longs for one to return and fulfill the final romantic chapter of her life. The voice of an old captain coming from faraway –the solitude of the ocean or the hotel room of an unknown port– becomes an echo to her monologue. Both characters are real and their personal narratives, kept intact, eventually weave a dense discussion on longing, memory and loss."

Watch the trailer.

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Evangelia Kranioti with Dimitra Kouzi at ERT 3rd Radio Programme's show DocStories on documentaries and storytelling

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Art in Greece amid the Crisis

THE REVIEW by Villa Mediterranée
THE REVIEW by Villa Mediterranée (International Centre for Dialogue and Discussion in the Mediterranean)

Here is an excerpt from the article I wrote for THE REVIEW of Villa Mediterranée, translated into English by Dimitris Saltabassis.

In a perceptive overview of the Greek cultural scene, Dimitra Kouzi talks about the current mix of gloom and hope in a country in a state of deep economic crisis.
Beyond the news and headlines, art reflects the political, economic and everyday-life changes. Hasn't art in Greece been always in crisis? What's the difference now? "Art is inconsequential without our insistence. It seems that there is a need for it; this explains its survival," says artist Alexandros Mistriotis.

Artists work in a stifling atmosphere. "Everybody works more or less for free, yet there is great solidarity for everything," Art Historian Denys Zacharopoulos, Director of the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, adds.
There is such proliferation of art events that one is hard-pressed for choice. And that means new venues. In addition to the expansion and renovation of the National Gallery in Athens, currently in progress, and the establishment of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, housed in the former Fix brewery, after many years of temporary housing, there are currently in operation about ten new independent art venues in Athens, often under the aegis of the municipality. Run by people who have studied abroad and have an international network of contacts, they provide the infrastructure for an independent art scene to flourish, hosting work by young artists in a variety of genres (theatre, music, visual arts, architecture, graphic and fashion design, workshops). Housed in a historical building, the former headquarters of the extremely popular magazine Romanzo in a central Athens area more reminiscent of a ghetto in recent times, the BIOS – Romanzo creative hotbed provides office space for creative young people and start-ups focusing on technology, art and culture, while also hosting exhibitions, concerts, performances, collective actions, workshops and seminars. The BIOS team managed to turn over the image and population makeup of the whole area. "All young people find it hard to turn their ideas into practice in today's circumstances. Perhaps people think more in terms of cooperation now; a feeling of collectivity may have become more developed. The need to participate in the commons is more intensely and consciously felt."

Amidst the crisis, Rosie Diamantaki decided to establish an experimental art venue – Anamesa Art Space. She enables budding artists to take their first steps, irrespective of the commercial appeal of what they do. She also supports upcoming musicians and showcases projects that combine music and the visual arts. "There is a new generation of artists in all genres who make a new proposition in Greece. In the visual arts, there are young artists' teams which join larger groups or run their own spaces, working on projects featuring public interaction with a view to increasing the participation of art in a public dialogue, rather than being galleries in the strict sense, such as Arbit City Group, or 3137." She points out that, "Even Art Athina, the largest foire in Greece has introduced Platform Project, an initiative for young artists."

....  If you want to read the complete article (in French or English) you can order a copy of the the magazine or contact me.

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Illustration: Yorgos Lanthimos The Uncrowned King by Jefferson Paganel

THE REVIEW

Halfway between a book and a magazine, the Villa Méditerranée’s The Review is, in its own way, an invitation to a new space to discover and examine the current issues of the Mediterranean world. In addition to the Villa’s missions, the Review seeks to bring together different interpretations of today’s most critical issues. This second issue questions the sustainability of a mobile world, public space, memory and conflicts, youth and identity issues, as well as the challenges facing tourism. It is available in English and in French.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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?

Balkan Documentary Center Module Prizren

If you are located in the Balkans or have a project related to the area and you want to develop your film with the best assistance and care, here is where you should apply. The first session was in Sofia Bulgaria in May and the second starts 21/8 in Prizren.
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Luigi Pepe (Executive Producer) and the Director and Editor Silvia Poeta from Italy working in one by one meetings with the Bulgarian director Ilian Metev (Sofia's Last Ambulance, a feature-length observational documentary film co-production of Germany, Bulgaria, and Croatia) in Sofia in May 2014

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EDN (European Documentary Network) Director Paul Pauwels and the Producer and CEO of the BDC Martichka Bozhilova

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The BDC Team !
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The Serbian Director Boris Mitic about financing documentaries and C.E.archetypes !

BALKAN DOCUMENTARY CENTER WORKSHOP

BDC Discoveries 2014 is a project development workshop, aimed at uniting professionals with documentary projects with an international potential. Module Prizren is focused on training sessions related to packaging the projects for the international market. A final pitch in front of a jury consisting of experts will give the participants feedback about their work and the much needed experience.
Place: DokuKino Conference Room
Open to participants only
Date: 20 – 24 August

Here is the Program for Prizren
BDC PRIZREN SCHEDULE 2014

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:

How to co-produce with Denmark

The Danish Film Institute (DFI) has minor-coproduction schemes for feature fiction and animation films with three deadlines a year, and for short and documentary films with two deadlines a year. DFI may support 6-9 minor co-productions in feature films and 4-6 minors in short and documentary films a year.Read more:
http://www.dfi-film.dk/how-to-co-produce-with-denmark-feature
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The person you have to contact is Noemi Ferrer Schwenk. She coordinates the Danish Film Institute’s work with international co-productions and is one of the key figures in the Film Institute’s overall international activities.

Noemi Ferrer Schwenk
Phone +45 5096 7411
noemis@dfi.dk

People you should know: Tue Steen Müller

There are some people everybody in the documentary business should know. So that's why I will start to introduce you to some of the doc legends! I will start with Tue Steen Müller my Danish friend and mentor. Its not a coincidence that he was given the EDN award this year in Thessaloniki at the doc festival for an outstanding contribution to the European documentary culture.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you do not know him already let me introduce you to Tue Steen Müller.
He is the one who encouraged and inspired me to get involved in this lovely field, and for that I owe him a lot! Thank you Tue!
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Born 1947. Danish. He worked with short and documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board - as press secretary, head of distribution and information and as a commissioning editor. He's co-founder of Balticum Film and TVFestival, Filmkontakt Nord and Documentary of the EU. He has travelled to European short and documentary festivals often to be seated as a jury member. He has given documentary courses and seminars in more than 30 countries. In 2004 he was awarded the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. In 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. From 1996 until 2005 he was director of EDN (European Documentary Network). He has written articles for national and international newspapers and magazines. From 2006 he has been a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. From September 2007-2013 he taught at the Zelig Documentary Film School, Bolzano, Italy. He writes (almost) daily about documentaries in English on www.filmkommentaren.dk

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One of the good Greek docs in Thessaloniki 2014

In times of recession three Greeks try to take their destiny in their own hands.
Could this crisis be our chance to re-invent ourselves and our society?
This is the theme of the feature length documentary "Gr. work in progress" (the title is indeed not so good - but the film is!) by Elena Zervopoulou which made its premier at the Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival in March. Elena Zervopoulou the film director who also did the production is a ethnopsychologist and holds a master in documentary making from the University in Paris.
In her film she succeed to make 3 strong portraits of Greeks who took their destiny in their own hands! This is what she was thinking about her film in December 2012... "The financial crisis strikes Greece and spreads out worldwide. We are loosing our financial security and our living standard, but how much of our values, our humanity and our decency is going down with the rest? Could this be our chance to re-invent ourselves and our society?"
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The three protagonists together reflect the current potential for transformation in Greece. Positive change dynamics move from the bottom up. We follow the single individual (Giorgos) who finds the strength to overcome his difficulties and rebuild his life. The film examinee Grigoris’ family as it retightens its bonds and seeks a better quality of life. Finally, the journey takes us to the activist volunteer group behind the “potato movement” (Ilias) as their activities impact the society as a whole by challenging the commercial foods supply chain and practicing solidarity and direct democracy.

Watch the trailer:

http://onevibefilms.com/en/creative-documentaries/produced/greece-work-in-progress-greek.html

Something Better to Come, by Hanna Polak produced by Sigrid Dyekjær

Danish Documentary is one of the world’s leading production companies when it comes to producing creative documentary films for the big screen and television.

The company is founded and co-owned by four celebrated Danish documentary directors, Phie Ambo, Pernille Rose Grønkjær, Eva Mulvad and Mikala Krogh, together with internationally acclaimed film producer Sigrid Dyekjær. What is Sigrid working on now?

I am working on a fantastic story, very unique, by Oscar nominated polish director Hanna Polak, Yula´s Dream, that we are editing right now. Hanna has followed a girl for 14 years on a garbage dump outside of Moscow. from she is 10 until she is 24 and actually gets away and moves to Moscow. Really a wonderful project and Hanna is a wonderful director. And the finished film was also wonderful - and won idfa in 2014!
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I have just closed a 40 min film Eva Mulvad has made for Danish national tv The Castle I hope to launch it internationally on a festival in 2014. A funny, strange film about living in a castle in Denmark, exclusively, with other elderly people, where you have gardeners, cooks, maides, and servants, and you live in furniture from 1700 century. Here they have their own special elderly home, and in order to get in, you have to live up to certain rules. Not written rules, no the unwritten rules from the upper class. It has been a really fun film to produce. And we are finishing a film by Mikala Krogh about the biggest tabloid magazine in Denmark, where she has followed them for two years in the crises of the newspaper degrading and the net paper being the only thing young people wants to read, but nobody earns money on it, not even the tabloid magazines.