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"Il nostro mercato è un crogiolo dei diversi operatori del settore"

Rapporto industria: Documentario

Jarmila Outratová • Responsabile Industry, Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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La responsabile del settore industry riflette sulla transizione del mercato del festival da virtuale a fisico e sulla valorizzazione dei talenti internazionali attraverso Emerging Producers

Jarmila Outratová  • Responsabile Industry, Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Jarmila Outratová has been helming the industry hub of the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival (24-29 October) since 2013. Each year, over 1,300 film professionals engage in the gathering’s industry initiatives. Cineuropa talked to the head of Industry about the festival's market transition from virtual to physical, its emphasis on co-productions and nurturing global talent through the Emerging Producers programme.

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Cineuropa: What changes have been made to this year’s New Visions Forum?
Jarmila Outratová: Three years ago, amidst the COVID-19 era, we launched the New Visions Forum. The initial challenges of the pandemic meant that US directors and producers couldn't physically attend Ji.hlava. Consequently, our first two editions were primarily held online. However, even last year, some projects made in-person appearances, although the majority remained virtual. This year, we've made it a condition for participation to be physical. We've chosen two fewer projects, settling on eight in the case of the US selection, all of which will be attending in person. The teams behind every selected project have decided to attend physically, marking the first significant shift to a physical platform. Attendees can now meet all the experts at Ji.hlava in person.

Previously, our market was designed to incorporate experts and distributors. Recently, however, we've shifted our focus towards co-productions, prompting a slight name change. Now called the Ji.hlava New Visions Co-Production Market, it serves as a platform where accredited participants can freely engage with each other, seek out projects and initiate collaborations without any specific directive from us. However, we offer an accelerated process for selected projects. All meetings now take place within our matchmaking framework. Our industry matchmaker, Pierre-Alexis Chevit, who's the director of Cannes Docs, assists in selecting suitable pairings, determining the best fit for each project – whether it's a producer or helping to find a suitable co-producer based on the project's theme.

At this market, producers meet distributors, sales agents and, one assumes, television representatives?
Exactly. Our market is a melting pot of various industry players.

How has the collaboration between European and US documentary filmmakers developed since the inception of the Ji.hlava New Visions Forum?
I believe we don't yet have a completed film; work is still ongoing on several. However, what we've accomplished is that teams in post-production, who were no longer seeking co-producers but were looking for contacts at European festivals to premiere their films, have indeed made their debuts. We've had several such successes with films being invited to European festivals. Regarding the market aspect, we aim for a balanced representation of projects, incorporating local, Eastern European and other interests. We strive for an even distribution across Europe, encompassing the north, west, east and south, with a special emphasis on the Czech Republic. That's our unique focus.

What is happening at Emerging Producers?
Emerging Producers has always aimed to spotlight the brightest talents in the field. This year, our format remains consistent with the past five years, comprising two workshop sessions. The first takes place in Jihlava in the autumn, followed by the second in Berlin in February. These workshops offer a deep dive into the unique needs of the producers. It's vital to note that our Emerging Producers initiative isn't about film development, but rather a focus on the producers themselves, emphasising their professional growth and honing their skills. We look for those producers who have achieved notable success in their homeland but who are aiming for international recognition – perhaps they aspire to co-produce with counterparts from other countries and elevate their careers to the next tier.

Regarding this year's cohort, what's unique is our selection of 19 producers – 17 from Europe. Traditionally, we select 17 European producers, complemented by one from outside the continent spotlighting a Guest Country. This year, owing to unforeseen circumstances last year when our selected Qatari producer had to cancel, we have two Guest Countries represented: Qatar and the Philippines.

Festival Identity is a platform for strengthening collaboration between film festivals and fostering the exchange of know-how. What will be the focus this year?
Festival Identity has been an integral part of our offerings for at least 13 years now. We prefer to call it a “platform”, rather than a workshop. The goal isn't necessarily to educate, but rather to foster a meeting point where festival organisers can share experiences. Most attendees come from Europe, with a few from outside the continent, too. For instance, this year we have a festival from Taiwan. Each year brings a different mix of gatherings, and we always delve into a pivotal topic relevant to festivals.

This year, our focus is on collaboration amongst festivals. The Ji.hlava IDFF is a proud member of the Doc Alliance network. With the recent surge in the creation of new festival networks, particularly thanks to the support provided by Creative Europe – MEDIA, we decided to invite representatives from these networks. They will present the objectives of their newly formed networks: why they were established, their goals, levels of collaboration and more. Collaborations can transcend mere programming; they might explore other avenues of cooperation. Apart from understanding existing partnerships, we aim to investigate how collaboration can benefit the environment.

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