Co-operation between the countries of the Visegrad region
by David González
- The Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival opened its new series of Talk Shows with a discussion on the practices of the region’s national film institutes
One of the highlights of the industry events at the 20th Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival was the new series of Talk Shows, in which film professionals discussed certain timely topics for the film industry. Introduced by festival director Marek Hovorka, the series of discussions opened with a panel on national film institutes. The meeting was organised as part of Visegrad Accelerator, a programme aimed at interconnecting film professionals from the Visegrad region (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia), supported by the International Visegrad Fund.
Head of the Czech Film Center Markéta Santrochová, director of the National Cinematographic Centre of the Slovak Film Institute Alexandra Strelková, festival coordinator at the Polish Film Institute Maria Gradowska-Tomow and festival manager at Magyar Filmunió Márta Bényei addressed each country's different way of approaching film support. “The current situation of Czech cinema is getting better; the film world is communicating more with state funding, and it should keep improving,” explained Santrochová, who mentioned the need to “work with the strong new generation. We started to work with short-filmmakers two years ago, and that’s where the new talents are.”
“We focus on fiction films, while the Krakow Film Foundation gets funds from us to promote documentary, animation and short films. Our main goal is to increase national productions, through subsidies, international relations, cultural dissemination, digitalisation, education and promotion,” explained Gradowska-Tomow.
On the topic of co-production, Benyéi stressed, “These small countries are very hardworking. We have to struggle a lot to get films made, even when working together as friends.” Both Poland and Hungary have witnessed unusually huge success stories recently, with the Oscar wins of Ida [+see also:
interview: Pawel Pawlikowski
interview: Pawel Pawlikowski
film profile] and Son of Saul [+see also:
Q&A: László Nemes
interview: László Rajk
film profile], which they both proudly referred to when talking about tools for promotion and international relations. Yet they were not both international co-productions (Son of Saul was solely financed by Hungary). Strelková stated, “There have been many initiatives for an institutionalised Central Eastern European collaboration, all sorts of studies, but I’m not sure how doable it is. I think it is more about the artistic and conceptual collaboration between talents for each particular project, such as what we see happening with the new Slovak-Icelandic documentary that Rams [+see also:
interview: Grimur Hakonarson
film profile]’ Grimur Hakonarson has in the works.”
As a matter of fact, Scandinavia was the other international region that was invited to participate in the talk in order to be compared to Visegrad. Film & TV fiction consultant at the Icelandic Film Centre Ari Krinstinsson and festival consultant at the Danish Film Insitute Anne Marie Kürstein explained their valuable and fruitful experience in international collaboration, given that Iceland has been supported very closely by Denmark in recent years.
Also with the support of Visegrad Accelerator, Jihlava hosted a discussion on the Central European identity in film, with the participation of several journalists from the region: Hungary’s Attila Benke, the Czech Republic’s Jindriska Blahova, Slovakia’s Milos Krekovic, Poland’s Bartosz Wroblewski and Serbia’s (and Cineuropa correspondent) Vladan Petkovic.
The festival also featured Talk Shows on sales agents, distributors and festival representatives, and a panel about the present and future of documentary.
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