14 Feb 2010

Berlin day #2- dine and whine

Today was the dine and shine dinner, which is more of a blind date where we the talents are seated next to 'experts' and you never know who you will get seated next to. After each course, the talents have to switch tables, according to the color coding provided...and you get to meet the next expert.
My first expert was an entertainment lawyer whose advise I really needed. We have arranged to meet for coffee later to talk more...
My next expert was the Durban Film Festival director, which was a higlight for me as we are planning on submitting Togetherness Supreme to and having our African premeire... I gave him the trailer of the film and met his wife, who is the director for the Durban Talent Campus, which I applied to too.
My last and kinda karmic expert was a guy I have been in touch on email with for a couple of months. He is a programmer for the Rotterdam Film Festival, the one incharge of the African films! I put him to task as to why our film was not selected. His answer was that the film was not the type that the festival was looking for. And try as I did, I did not get what they were looking for. Every year, the festivals get a theme for Africa and looks for films that fit within that theme. They basically make a box and go round looking for a film that will fit perfectly into that box. Then year by year the talk about supporting African films, and note 'ruefully' how African Films are missing from international film festivals.
Is it the technology? Well, I shot the film on RED ONE, doesn't get more digitally and technologically advanced than that. Is it the story, or its relevance? And when we talk about relevance, relevant to whom?? If festivals wants films from africa, then they have to accept that those films we make are relevant to us. How many European and Hollywood films are relevant to us? I believe that a filmmaker should make stories and films about what sorrounds him, the stories that shape the life from where he / she lives or interracts. Our scripts are relevant to us, take for example, Togetherness Supreme. Throw a stone in any direction in Africa and Latin America and you will find similarities in events and experiences as in our film. Methinks that when an african film moves away from cliche, from HIV, poverty, dying and general hopelessness, then the world is not interested. Then we have to wait for Hollywood to get involved, then the world takes notice, ergo Constant Gardner, Blood Diamond... District 9.

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