Tag Archives: Documentaries

Alberti & Žickytė about women directors and their film before the EFA awards

maite-alberdiHow did you collaborate? What was it like working together? Maite: Through research we knew that, in the first stages of Alzheimer, early childhood is remembered. Based on theory, we imagined what would happen to an immigrant with Alzheimer. We hired a journalist who went to all nursing houses in Santiago and sent us a description of some 50 characters. Josebe was one of those. Her memory worked as we imagined, but it was an intense character, with a unique personality, which we would never have written, not even for fiction. She was our guide, which made this co-directing exercise flow with her.

Giedrė: Before coming to Chile I already knew, not only what Josebe looked like but also her likes and dislikes, where she lives, her daily routine, how she reacts, and this extensive research helped me and Maite to predict certain moments and when was a good time to turn the camera on and wait for a miracle to happen.
In the beginning, we considered re-creating the character’s past in fiction. When we started filming, we realised that reality gives us more and is far stronger than fiction!

Watch the trailer  vimeo.com/146804030

What is the message that you want to get across with this documentary?
Maite: We want to explore how the past determines us, even when we are unable to remember what happened yesterday. Alzheimer’s erases the present, but often our lives’ milestones remain alive in our minds. This is an exploration of how the past coexists with the present, creating a new reality from daily observations, a different, lucid portrait of mental illness, with humour and joy.

How did dealing with the issue of ageing, memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and vulnerability affect you?
Maite: I think it posed a constant question for me, what I am going to remember if I lost my memory, where I am going to live in my mind. In fact, I have already lived the first part of my life, so I will probably not remember anything from here to my old age. That is weird, how we are determined by our childhood and adolescence: for example, during research it was amazing for me to see how people with Alzheimer who got married twice, think that the person that is taking care of them is their first wife/husband. Working with these issues gave rise to questions in my mind that I did not have before; it is not a concern for me – it is more a reflection on what I am going to remember.

Did this experience change you?
Giedrė: If you don't change while making your film, then there is no purpose in doing it – it shapes your life completely. Making this film, I asked myself, what is the most important thing in life? Another interesting thing is that it was for me a new environment, a new country and language, and what helped me to identify I think was Maite, and this was a very nice experience.

How do you get your film(s) funded? (Is it a studio film, a crowdsourced film, something in between?) Share some insights into how you got the film made.
Maite: The first stage of the film (research, development and shooting) was financed by CPH:DOX. All editing and post-production was financed by the Chilean national film fund and the Lithuanian Film Centre.

The co-director of I'm not from Here Giedrė Žickytė (Lithuania)

What is the biggest cliché about women directors?
Maite: That women directors speak about women’s topics.

Would you have any special advice to give to female directors?Maite: When a man asks, who do you leave your family with when you are working (shooting, or traveling for work), ask him the same question.  Nobody asks men this questions. Why can’t we have a normal life and work in the cinema business at the same time?

How do you get your film(s) funded? (Is it a studio film, a crowdsourced film, something in between?) Share some insights into how you got the film made.
Maite: The first stage of the film (research, development and shooting) was financed by CPH:DOX. All editing and post-production was financed by the Chilean national film fund and the Lithuanian Film Centre.

Which is your favourite woman-directed film and why?
Maite: The Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel, because she was my inspiration when I was a student. For me, she is the only director that works with fiction and it really seems as if it were reality. I usually feel the fake in fiction, but with her I totally believe in her world.

Giedrė: Sophia Coppola’s Lost in Translation. Because of its intelligence, subtlety and director’s trust in the audience. She is a brave director, and, what is most important, she explains by mood, gaze, atmosphere, touches, rather than words. From the avalanche of the current film industry, this movie is distinguished by its non-banal and ambiguous story until the very end, as we never hear what Bob whispers to Charlotte in the end. Indeed, it declines to polish all the details. This film I could watch again and again from whichever part of it. Sometimes, I deliberately start watching it from the middle. But, every time, watching it I feel catharsis, and this word I use very rarely, to be honest.

On the featured image: From left to right Producer Pato R. Gajardo, together with one of the two directors, the Chilean Maite Alberti, the editor Juan Eduardo Murillo and the Director of Photography Pablo Valdés.

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).


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.

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.


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.

Follow this blog for more!

Sigrid Dyekjær gives Greek Producers practical tips!

Sigrid Dyekjær is one of the most experienced producers in Denmark when it comes to national documentary production and international cooperation. In financing, producing and creative consulting Dyekjær has an extraordinary ability to knock in doors and break down boundaries in the film-industry.

Young Greek producers are struggling. Could you give them some practical tips?

Go international. Always think of how you can bring your film up for an international audience, how you can finance it internationally, and how you can move your film language in a direction where it is understandable, and emotional engaging to an international audience. In Denmark we accepted a long time ago, that nobody speaks danish in the world. We only have 5 million people in our country. If we should live by making films, we simply had to get our films out to the world. Nothing is happening in Denmark, we have the most boring, safe country in the world. But we were all brought up with Hans Christian Andersen, and the way he tells a story. So telling a story, no-matter weather it is from Denmark or where ever it is, can be done in a way, where other people, from other countries can understand it. To us it is not so important whether it is a good story, but it is important HOW you tell the story. Hans Christian Andersen is running in our blood, no doubt about that, his trademark was how the story was told, what was the outer story, the story your thought you were listening to, but underneath that, there was more to it, a deeper lawyer that went right into your bones and reminded you of something in your own life. I am sure the Greeks can do this; I am sure they can tell Greek stories in an international way. And there is so much more money to get hold of internationally than in Greece.

Talking about Festivals

The Industry talks start tonight with the profile of a few quite interesting international festivals. Moderated by Susanne Guggenberger in the Pfeffermühle Café, the Talks with industry experts and producers/filmmakers,cover topics such as distribution and marketing options for your film and transmedia project, as well as specifics of markets, their players and introductions to festival programmers. So tonight we will meet festival programmers and find out what they are looking for! Neasa Ni Chianain, Guth Gafa International Documentary Festival, Falcarragh, Ireland (tbc), Galla Bador, Doc Aviv, Tel Aviv, Teddy Grouya, American Documentary FF, Palm Springs, Lulu Ratna, Doc Shot Indonesia,Yogyakarta (tbc), and Ana de la Rose Zamboni, IFF Guadalajara, Mexico.

If you want to know more about festivals check out filmfestivallife.com.

And the winner of Prix Europa 2013 is…

PRIX EUROPA - Best European TV Documentary of the Year 2013

THE PUNK SYNDROME - A FILM ABOUT PERTTI KURIKAN NIMIPÄIVÄT / Kovasikajuttu Directed by Jukka kärkkäinen, J-P Passi

entered by Yle, Finland, produced by Mouka Filmi, co-produced by Indie Film, Auto Images, Film I Skåne

This film is about Finland’s most kick-ass punk rock band, Pertti kurikan Nimipäivät. The band members, Pertti, kari, Toni and Sami, are mentally
handicapped and they play their music with a lot of attitude and pride. We follow these professional musicians on their journey from obscurity
to popularity. We watch them fight, fall in love and experience strong emotions. We witness long days in the recording studio and on tour.
They laugh, cry, drink and fight over who gets to sit in the front on the tour bus. Then it is time to make up and go talk to people in the audience
and tell them how great their band is. Their songs are about the problems in society as well as about things that
they face in their everyday life: how going to the pedicurist sucks and the misery of living in a group home. The guys give a piece of their minds
to both politicians and people whose attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities need improvement.
This film is about the essence of punk. It is a story of handicapped people rebelling against the mainstream. This time you are allowed to stare and
wonder why they act the way they do. And you will fall in love with them as you watch how the most kick-ass punk band in Finland conquers the

trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xM58kP_JHkQ

and at the category of
TV IRIS - Under the Patronage of the Dutch Public Broadcaster NTR

PRIX EUROPA Best Intercultural TV Programme of the Year 2013

the documentary

DISPLACED PERSSONS / Familjen Persson I främmande land, Directed by åsa Blanck and Johan Palmgren

Per Persson left Sweden 40 years ago in search of adventures. He drove eastward in his Land Rover and ended up in Pakistan where he
fell in love with Shamim. They married, settled down in Lahore and had two daughters, Zahra and Maria. Per raised his daughters to be free and
strong women which wasn’t very popular with neighbours and relatives. As Zahra and Maria grew older the family felt more and more threatened
by the surrounding society. At last, when the girls are in their mid-twenties, the family takes the difficult decision to move to southern Sweden, back to Per’s roots. Shamim, Zahra and Maria have great hope for their lives in the new country but once in Sweden nothing turns out as expected. The family have to live in a small caravan while being stuck in the Swedish bureaucracy, with endless meetings and paperwork. Money is scarce and their dreams slowly fades away.
After a while Zahra falls in love with Aun, a fellow Pakistani also trying to find a new life in Sweden. When Aun’s Swedish visa expires he moves
back to Pakistan and from there he proposes to Zahra, which she accepts. After a tearful goodbye Zahra leaves for Pakistan but promises she will be
back in Sweden, in a year or so. In the meantime Per, Shamim and Maria slowly begin to build a decent life in Sweden and especially Maria likes
her new country more and more. And finally, after years of longing, the family is reunited when Zahra and
Aun comes back to Sweden.With them they bring their son Lille-Pelle, Per’s first grandson. The whole family celebrate and rejoice, but will they live happily ever after?
Well, as Per says: ‘Right now things are pretty good, but how the future will be? Inshallah!’

entered by SVT, Sweden, produced by Strix, co-produced by The Swedish Filminstitute, NRK, Yle

More about Prix Europa here.

ARTE Greek Day on YouTube!

WATCH my presentations of the ARTE THEME GREEK DAY on August 15 2013 on YouTube!
Available in German (original language) and French.

PRESENTATIONS in GERMAN : http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlQWnS27jXh8tc9hu53lhwlwfQYlJYLmE

PRESENTATIONS in FRENCH : http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmfiCnVD2LL6kKEXGltuRbemuVYD2jwjY

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.

Films to watch in Thessaloniki Documentary Festival 2013

TDF Poster
Films to watch in Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, starting March 15, 2013:

  • One Step Ahead, a film by Dimitris Athiridis on Yannis Boutaris, mayor of Thessaloniki (ERT/ARTE co-production)
  • To the Wolf, on two families of shepherds living in a mountainous region in the Peloponnese, by Aran Hughes and new-comer Christina Koutsospyrou, which also participated in this year’s Berlinale,
  • Little Land, by Nikos Dayandas, based on my original idea and research (ERT/ARTE Anemon co-production), filmed on location in the magical island of Ikaria
  • Hardships and Beauties, by Kimon Tsakiris, starring a farmer-cowboy in Messinia (ERT/ARTE co-production)
  • Hippie! Hippie! Matala! Matala!, a documentary on the 1960's hippie scene on Crete, with excellent archival material and a great sense of humour, produced by ERT with research and script by Maria Koufopoulou and directed by Yorgos Varelas
  • Democracy The Way of the Cross, by Markos Gastin
  • a film on the Greek anarchist poetess Katerina Gogou by Antonis Boskoitis Reinstating the Dark Side (also screened at Danaos Cinema in Athens until Wednesday March 20)
  • Salma, a girl in India, a film by Kim Longinotto, a great director of films on women,
  • Cassandra's Treasure, on the controversy surrounding the gold mine in Halkidiki, in northern Greece, by Yorgos Avgeropoulos,
  • the special tribute for the festival’s 15th anniversary (watch out for my special post to follow), and of course
  • the tribute to Chilean director Patricio Guzmán, with nine of his films. Unfortunately the director broke his leg and cannot attend - Patricio, get well soon!

Documentary Partially Shot on iPhone Wins Oscar

Sunday February 24, 2013 by Husain Sumra
"Searching for Sugar Man" won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 85th annual Academy Awards, making it the first time a film that was partially shot with an iPhone has won the prestigious award.

Director Malik Bendjelloul said that he had run out of money while making the movie and had to film his remaining shots with his iPhone and the 8mm Vintage Camera app. The iPhone and app's performance were so impressive to Bendjelloul that he re-shot footage playing on his laptop screen with the app.

This isn't the first time directors have used iPhones to shoot films, but it's an important milestone that shows that footage shot with phones and apps are good enough to be recognized at the highest level and not distract from the overall quality of the film.

Culinary Cinema at the Berlinale

“Dig Your Food – From Field to Fork” is the motto of the 7th Culinary Cinema of the Berlinale to be held February 10-15, 2013. Sixteen films about food and the environment will be presented in the Martin-Gropius-Bau.

"If you want maximum freshness and pesticide-free foods, you should garden. If you want a green city, you may become a guerrilla gardener and throw seed bombs. In Berlin, urban gardening has taken root. The Prinzessinnengarten at Moritzplatz will now be able to remain where it is, while other grassroots movements are spreading all around the world. Gardeners are among us! As can also be seen in the programme of the 7th Culinary Cinema," says Festival Director Dieter Kosslick.

"Our Culinary Cinema pleasure garden is freshly stocked. Many of this year’s films include some aspect of gardening, be it concretely or figuratively," comments Thomas Struck, Programme Curator.

The documentaries:

Peru sabe: Cuisine as an agent of social change with Ferran Adrià
After this film is screened in Berlin, we had better copy this system in Greece.

L'Amour des Moules
Everything - and I mean everything - about mussels, including pearls!

Slow Food Story
Carlo Petrini and his movement - and the philosophy behind it.

Red Obsession
About China's obsession with Bordeaux wine

Monsanto and Co. in our lives

Make Hummus, Not War
A kitchen conflict in the Middle East - unfortunately not the only one.

The Moo Man
A farmer and his cows in a world damning full-fat products

Following the main-programme screening, at 7:30 pm, Michelin-Star chefs Nils Henkel, Michael Hoffmann, Kolja Kleeberg, Hendrik Otto and Tim Raue will each serve a meal inspired by the films in the “Gropius Mirror” restaurant, an elegant tent lined with mirrors (85€ Film and dinner). (I wish I could be there!)

The late screenings, at 10 p.m., will focus on social and ecological topics.

See the programme brochure (pdf file in German only).