Vuosittainen Amsterdamin kansainvälinen elokuvafestivaali on dokumenttielokuvan keskeinen tapahtumapaikka.Ja sen rahoitusforum kertoo mitä dokumenteille on tapahtumassa televisiossa.Tue Steen Müller kirjoittaa.
The Forum for International Co-Financing of Documentaries holds its 18th session. There is a friendly atmosphere at the round table where tv commissioning editors sit to comment on the projects that are pitched. Maybe too friendly for a veteran participant as me, who knows that only a small percentage of the film projects that are met with a positive attitude actually get financing at the meetings that are held afterwards. This has always been like that, it takes time and all film projects are being pitched again and again. Before finally the money needed is in place. And it is not easier with the financial crisis world-wide.
You may like the pitching concept or not – it IS absurd to think that you can present your film project in 7-8 minutes – and the making of the trailers is an art in itself and in many cases it says nothing about how the film will be. BUT it still gives you a strong impression to see all these film professionals gathered at one place for ONE reason: to have good, creative documentaries made. The pitching of the about 40 film projects from all over the world is one thing, the more than 700 individual meetings pre-planned, meetings between makers and buyers another. What a logistical achievement. Respect!
... and at the festival – idfa staff proudly states – 17 films are shown that were previuosly pitched at the Forum.
The Forum is half way through and my general impression is that 2010 selection has been good. There are many creative documentaries, and they are well received. It started strongly with Romanian Florin Iepan’s project ”Odessa” (PHOTO), his short catalogue annotation goes like this: ”The uncovering of the largest mass execution perpetrated by an ally of Nazi Germany launches in Romania the first public debate on its fascist past”,
followed by Sergey Miroshnichenko ”Born in the USSR: 28UP”, the Granada Television/Michael Apted concept called "SevenUP", that the excellent Russian director adapted in 1990, filming the growing up of kids from the age of 7 till their adult age of 28. Also well received was the first international film project from the young colleague Daria Khlestkina, ”The 16th Republic”, which refers to a car factory in the middle of Moscow, where limousines are made, or were made. The director has followed what happens at the factory, where some cars were ordered and produced and then the orders were cancelled. Will the factory survive, great characters and lot of humour...
The Forum is of course giving the profile of a market as it is right now, and you notice of course that ”content is king”, as it has been phrased again and again at meetings like this. And all in all the content of the films proposed are from the world of today. War zones, poverty, violence, crime and about people. And you see how the big channels, alas, like arte and BBC are going cautiously in their selection. BBC Storyville editor Nick Fraser supported two tabloid sensational projects, one about the fall of a filthy rich family in the US, and a project about jewel criminals, who – of course, again a cliché – are from Serbia!
And arte... well, documentaries do not have a strong position in this channel any longer, no more observational documentaries at arte as an editor said to me. So documentaries for arte are normally channelled through the theme evenings. The key person for the editorial line of these evenings, Hans-Robert Eisenhauer, ZDF/arte, was warmly applauded at the end of the second day of pitching for his always supportive attitude to bringing good documentaries to the audience, a true believer of the need for quality in public broadcasting and a man who very often has criticized the way his own channel is going.