Óskar Alegría • Director, Punto de Vista Festival
by Alfonso Rivera
- Cineuropa talked to Óskar Alegría, the new artistic director of the Punto de Vista Festival in Pamplona, which begins today, 10 February
After a period of absence, the ninth edition of the Punto de Vista International Documentary Film Festival begins today, 10 February, in Navarra. It is an indispensable opportunity to find out what’s cooking in this sector. We discussed first impressions with the new artistic director, Óskar Alegría.
Cineuropa: What is it about this festival that creates so much expectation?
Óskar Alegría: It is true that despite how young it is, it has known how to become an island in the international scene. It is an island a long way away from its official coast, with its own flag and endemic wildlife. We feel good about this isolation, and we truly respect the hard work that is done in the more “continental” festivals; we would not exist without them.
What new features can we find at this edition, compared to the previous ones?
Several. This is the edition of change: new headquarters in the main Auditorium and Conference Centre of the city, the Bastion; new artistic teams and an international delegation network; and new prizes, such as the Juventud and Cerberé Awards.
Have the problems that jeopardised the festival become a thing of the past?
It seems to be the case, yes. We have already announced next year’s 2016 celebration, which will mark a decade for the festival. It is a fantastic number and good news to celebrate the recovery from our absence. We have complete faith: during the years of the crisis, the public and friends of the festival have given us excellent support and devotion. Thanks to them, we have been able to stay afloat, and now we can recover.
What was the most surprising thing about this year’s selection?
The number of films we received: 1,237 - that is, 35% more than in previous editions. After a two-year void without the festival, we were surprised that people have still kept us very much in mind. Again, hats off to those who motivate us to keep growing.
What particular European involvement would you highlight and why?
The selection is dominated by France. Cinema will always be a French invention: great cinema, that is. It’s like cooking: the moment you raise a knife to chop an onion, you are indebted to France.
Does the crisis affect documentary production, or has this genre always survived on the sidelines of the industry?
Sometimes, behind a documentary film, there is a vital impulse that comes from the primordial need to show reality, fears and desires. It's not related to money. Fiction suffers much more during financial drought, and documentaries are there to depict the “dryness” somehow.
You encourage creativity through the X Films project…
It is a luxury to have directors in this participation group that can achieve financing that allows us to produce a documentary filmed in Navarra. We are creating a historical heritage that fills us with pride, and it’s a continuing process with the students: we like seeing how a project is presented, defended and brought to life. We present the previous year’s winner at the festival, and this year it will be El Mapa de Abauntz by Aitor Gametxo.
(Translated from Spanish)