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Karin Rywkind Segal • Directrice artistique, Docaviv

“Programmer un festival comme le nôtre, c’est une question d’équilibre subtil à trouver”


- Le festival di Tel Aviv a déjà trois éditions hybrides à son actif. La directrice artistique nous dit ce que l’équipe a appris et comment l’événement réagit au changement

Karin Rywkind Segal  • Directrice artistique, Docaviv

Cet article est disponible en anglais.

We chatted to Karin Rywkind Segal, artistic director of Docaviv (26 May-5 June), about the new edition of the festival, the team’s experience with the hybrid version of the last three years, and how it adapts to the fast-changing world and industry landscape.

Cineuropa: Every edition of Docaviv in the last three years has always coincided with extraordinary circumstances. How do you adapt to such fast changes and strike a balance between what's currently happening and selecting films based on their artistic merits and topicality for your audiences?
Karin Rywkind Segal:
Well, things are always extraordinary here, but in addition, there were force majeure events, and now there’s a devastating war in Ukraine. The image we have selected for this year’s edition, the domino effect, also symbolises the notion that we do not live in a bubble and are constantly affected by what surrounds us. The documentary world is relatively fast in reacting to burning current affairs and in detecting them as they happen.

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As I see it, the work of programming a festival such as ours is really about a delicate balance, although the two elements [topicality and artistic merit] do not necessarily have to contradict each other. We select current affairs-based films that have a unique language and cinematic layers that enhance the story they are telling the world.

What is Docaviv's reaction to the Russian attack on Ukraine? How are you reflecting this topic?
We have a special spotlight on films from and about Ukraine. Early on, we had already programmed two films that reflected on the devastating events in Ukraine in 2014, Trenches [+lire aussi :
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and A House Made of Splinters [+lire aussi :
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, and two docs by Ukrainian filmmakers that I had spotted at an earlier stage, at a Docudays UA presentation. In addition, we are hosting an event with the Israeli Documentary Forum for filmmakers from Ukraine and Russia who are now in Israel. This event will introduce these filmmakers to the local industry and expand their networking possibilities here. As this is obviously a very delicate matter, the Documentary Forum consulted with the participating Ukrainian filmmakers on the inclusion of Russian filmmakers who had fled their country.

Tell us a bit about the two new awards for films dealing with themes from Israeli and Jewish history.
The new Kadar Foundation Award is a wonderful opportunity for filmmakers who have directed extraordinary and relevant films on the history of this place, where archive materials play a major part, to win a significant financial prize. We all know how expensive working with archive is. The award nominees are picked from among the Israeli films that have already been selected for the festival. As about 30% of our programme is Israeli, several of the films will be eligible for this award.

With regard to the Yad Vashem Award for Cinematic Excellence in Holocaust Documentary Filmmaking, every year, we receive quite a few films on topics related to the Holocaust, and we only select a handful that we find remarkable, and which have a new or interesting perspective. This award is, again, a way to acknowledge excellent filmmaking on a topic that is always relevant to us. Part of our mission is to support filmmakers, so if we have an opportunity to offer monetary awards, we are happy to do so.

After the hybrid editions of the last two years, what is your conclusion about audience habits?
There are definitely some audience viewing habits that we noticed last year. When people were still hesitant to come to cinemas at the beginning of a new COVID-19 wave, the total viewing was 60% in theatres and 40% online. In general, online screenings have increased our attendance levels. We also learned that viewings per person had increased as well, and more people had combined in-person and online screenings in order to catch more films. With regard to this year, it’s still early days, but we have noticed that audiences tend to buy online tickets closer to the start of the festival, or when they actually want to start watching the film, and not very far in advance. At the moment, we see greater demand for the in-person screenings, which is very reassuring.

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