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Short films, long hours

A lot has been told and written so far about today’s cinema in Romania but what about the film festivals there? We seem to have the right person for the task: Irina Trocan, who was introduced on Festivalists twice, during Berlinale Talent Press in 2013 and as IFFR Trainee Project for Young Film Critics participant in 2014. Now she returns to our blog as a newly-recruited author and most important – as a co-programmer of NexT International Film Festival / Bucharest, willing to share her experience with you!

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Vive le cinéma!

Still from It’s a Dream, the segment directed by Tsai Ming-liang for the anthology To Each His Own Cinema (2007)

Tsai Ming-liang has been one of the most discussed filmmakers in the last several months, ever since the 70th edition of Venice Film Festival and his Grand Jury Prize for STRAY DOGS / JIAO YOU (2013). Then, despite his officially announced decision to quit cinema, this year’s Panorama Special at Berlinale was graced by JOURNEY TO THE WEST / XI YOU (2014). France, a country that has inspired and at the same time supported immensely Tsai Ming-liang’s career, dedicated two tributes to his work in the month of March – at Deauville Asian Film Festival and at the French Cinémathèque in Paris. Yoana Pavlova took the opportunity to watch all his features in a row and wrote Mr. Tsai letter. Want to open it?

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Get busy, BG

Konstantin Bojanov with his Bulgarian producer Mila Voinikova (left) and Julien Ezanno from CNC France (right); photo: Sofia Meetings

When Konstanin Bojanov’s feature debute AVÉ premiered at Cannes Critics’ Week in 2011, it made film journalists and critics turn their gaze to a small country west of the Black Sea. Back at the time, it was still difficult to predict whether a New Wave of Bulgarian cinema is rising, or Konstanin’s success was rather influenced by his long-term involvement in the art world, as well as by his New York touch. The project for his second feature, I WANT TO BE LIKE YOU / ISKAM DA SYM KATO TEB, was already selected by Berlinale Co-Production Market and just had its share of industry attentions during the 11th edition of Sofia Meetings, part of the 18thSofia International Film Festival. Léo Soésanto used the opportunity to interview this multi-talented director in the Bulgarian capital.

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Checkpoint talent

BTP participant Karla Lončar (right) with her mentor Stephanie Zacharek, chief film critic of The Village Voice

In our third Berlinale dispatch, we get even more specific and study how the magic happens. Last year, we celebrated the 10th edition of Berlinale Talent Press with the Cadavre Exquis challenge and by presenting the work of all BTP 2013 participants. For #11 we invited one of the selected talents, Karla Lončar, whom you probably remember from Sarajevo Talent Press 2013, to describe her own journey to the West - from Zagreb to Berlin and back.

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Bear hunting

Diao Yinan with the Golden Bear trophy; photo: Berlinale

Our second reportage from the Berlin International Film Festival seems to go beyond the outlines of Europe, but it deals in fact with the way Berlinale has nurtured and shaped many national cinematographies for decades. For good or for bad, this year it is China’s turn, so here we go with Jia Xu's blitz evaluation of the tactics for bear hunting.

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The Berlinale expanse

Clemens von Wedemeyer’s installation Afterimage at Forum Expanded; photo: Berlinale

The Berlin International Film Festival is not only one of the oldest and most prestigious in Europe, it has also turned into a personification of EU-rope, both politically and culturally. It does not look like a coincidence that the festival opened with Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL and then awarded the film with the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize. As Joachim Kurz first stated in his video diary for Kino-Zeit.de and then wrote in his review, Wes Anderson (re)created a fairy-tale Europe, a feel-good territory of imagination and retro humor. Thus, we launch our heavy-weight bear coverage as a tribute and a follow-up to this year’s IFFR Slow Criticism edition by focusing on the way Berlin / Europe and the world cinema , presented at the festival, relate to each other. Our starting point is the so called periphery, with Greg de Cuir, Jr's take on Forum Expanded – as we progress to what appears to be the center (or die Mitte), hopefully we will find some new answers… or questions.

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Magnificent 7 at 10

Still from the festival trailer

Just when the aftermath of IFF Rotterdam fueled some harsh comments and replies about the current state of film festivals, here is an interview that provides an unconventional perspective to the cinema industry and the programmer’s work in particular. Tue Steen Müller, one of the most well-known and experienced professionals in the field of documentaries, discusses quality and quantity with Greg de Cuir, Jr.

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Trainees of thought

Just like last year, Yoana Pavlova interviews the participants of IFFR Trainee Project for Young Film Critics, but now you can enjoy their thoughts and aspirations in video! The three of them talk about their experience in Rotterdam compared to other programmes for young professionals they attended in 2013 (Irina was selected for the 10th edition of Berlinale Talent Press, while Laya and Michael took part in Locarno Critics Academy). Then they share their thoughts on this year’s Hivos Tiger Awards Competition, and last, but not least, the trio offers a piece of advice to all emerging film critics out there!

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The party is over

While this year International Film Festival Rotterdam focuses on The State of Europe, we decided to single out our favourite from the specially curated sections. Spanish filmmaker Luis López Carrasco talks with Paula Arantzazu Ruiz about THE FUTURE / EL FUTURO, as well as the difficulties of being a young filmmaker in Spain in the current context of the crisis and his political commitment.

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The kids stay in the picture at Küstendorf

A helicopter descends in the frosty morning, Emir Kusturica, wearing a black fur cap, stands near by together with women in traditional costumes, all ready to welcome the guest. It looks like a film shot, but this time it is for real. Greg de Cuir, Jr risked his life to bring us a report from the legendary Küstendorf International Film and Music Festival, the anti-festival with a twist.

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