Why do I make films?
Wim Wenders, Ulrich Seidl, Eric Khoo, Guy Maddin, Frederick Wiseman, Kijû Yoshida, Alexander Kluge, Krzysztof Zanussi, Jacques Doillon, Matías Piñeiro, Natalia Smirnoff, Diego Lerman, Paul Driessen, Monte Hellman, Bill Plympton, Adam Elliot, Michaela Pavlátová, Marina De Van, Isabel Coixet, José Luis Guerin, Kent Jones, Manuel Antín, Fernando Birri, José Martínez Suárez, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Hal Hartley, Carlos Reygadas, Urszula Antoniak, Kim Longinotto, Isaki Lacuesta, and many others offered exclusively for GRUPOKANE their answer to this question.
Compiled by Pablo Acosta Larroca and Florencia Gasparini Rey.
SPECIAL DOSSIER GRUPOKANE: WHY DO I MAKE FILMS? (FIRST PART) (date of completion: February to October 2011)
Compiled by Pablo Acosta Larroca and Florencia Gasparini Rey
by Pablo Acosta Larroca
As Gustavo said, “every time you insist, you get your reward”… (“toda insistencia tiene su recompensa”)
By the end of last year, on December 22th precisely, I went to visit my friends Patricio and Begoña, to greet them and give them a present for Christmas. While we were chatting, drinking mate and eating cookies, Bego showed me some cultural Spanish magazines “with interviews and articles that can surely interest you and give you some ideas for your own film magazine”. While leafing through them, I found an article that instantly caught my attention: it was about writers reflecting on the creative act of writing. I think that was the seed of this dossier.
That day, when I came back home and after reading that and many other recommended articles, an idea immediately came to me: to meet filmmakers from our country and all over the world to express –in their own words- what they consider it is fundamental at the time of filming their cinematographic universes.
Of course! I understood immediately that the answer to that question could be found in every film they’ve made, that’s why it would be obviously absurd to propose them to write fixed formulas and closed phrases; instead, we should invite them to provoke a deep reflection on their motivation at the time of making a film, to discover –directly or not- their critical vision of the world through cinema, their feelings. It should be an emotional encounter with their sensibility, reflecting on the production of sense from their universe.
“Why do I make films?”, a direct question, an invitation to self-reflection, to explore themselves.
By mid-February in 2011, with this premise in my mind, I started to make an “ant work”, writing all the “invitations” for every filmmaker, exploring every place where I could find a contact, while –at the same time- I read and reviewed every text I received by email –except for those that were produced orally, in the interviews we’ve done while working on this project.
Before continuing, I should also point out that this project has an antecedent –although, to be honest, I didn’t know about it-, and I discovered it thanks to the Colombian filmmaker Luis Ospina, who told me that, in 1987, the Liberation newspaper from Paris made a poll with hundreds of filmmakers from all over the world, asking them “Why do you film?”. This was not a reason to feel frustrated for me, because my project was still genuine, and it would include more thoughts, new points of view, so why shouldn’t I go on?
At the beginning of March, I started to receive the first answers –I planned to publish them in April… what a dreamer!- but as well as I received feedback, I felt strong to go on, expanding the limits of the project, contacting more and more people just to get some email addresses. So I started to explore and search them even under the floor, behind every door, in every window, down every corner (“if there is a heart waiting for us down the corner, why shouldn’t be a filmmaker who wants to write kindly about creation in cinema?”).
A wide net was created between filmmakers, assistants, managers, producers, distributors, programmers and artistic directors of film festivals, press agents and friends (see “Thanks to” list below) who answered positively, others who asked me to extend the deadline (a good symptom) and some others who committed themselves for the next time “because at this moment I’m filming my last film, although I thank you and I promise to write to you again”. Of course there were some answers that never arrived, but they were not many.
As well as the texts were arriving and this compilation started to grow, I became convinced that the idea was good, so I started to postpone its publication, until September when I said to myself: “enough! Let’s publish the first part and then we’ll go on”, because while I was working on this I realize that this question will never have a definite answer. So what we have here is more than a dossier, it’s the beginning of a new section that will be renewed every year.
Many filmmakers couldn’t be part this time, but will be in the next one… many of them were not invited yet, but this has just begun…
For a correct understanding, we should clarify that the opinions are in alphabetical order with the name of its author, followed by the place and country of birth, a brief filmography and between brackets, the date and time when I received it in my e-mail inbox (or when they were asked, in the case of the oral interviews).
Finally, some thanks:
First of all, thanks to all my partners in GRUPOKANE, for always giving me the space to develop this and many other ideas, with absolute expressive freedom.
Thanks to Begoña Dominguez Farré, “my inspiring muse”, who perfectly understood the spirit and essence of this space, and showed me the first idea, the beginning of this project.
Special thanks to Florencia Gasparini Rey, for her commitment with this project and for her will to collaborate in the production of it in many senses, because I think there isn’t any task she hasn’t done: she searched for contacts, she wrote to many filmmakers, she compiled many texts and reviewed others. Besides, she is also responsible for all the English-Spanish translations and most of the Spanish-English translations. Her working abilities to adapt herself to every situation and her intelligence to sort every difficulty are some of her many virtues that amaze me all the time. I must also emphasize her great sense of humor. This work wouldn’t exist without her, but fundamentally at this time, I realize it wouldn’t have spirit without her.
Thanks to Florencia Lindenboim, Inge Stache, Marina Lacarta, Renata Sousa Miranda and the María Victoria Bottazzi–Marco Vernaschi duet, responsible for the translations to English, German, French, Portuguese and Italian respectively.
Thanks to all the personal assistants and managers, producers, distributors, programmers and artistic directors of film festivals, press agents, and friends who made possible the encounter with all the filmmakers (see “Thanks to” list below).
I also want to thank all those filmmakers who couldn’t be part of this edition for different reasons, but answered kindly, committing them to be part the next time.
And obviously, thanks to all the filmmakers that kindly offered their time and expressed their points of view, taking part of this first collective edition called “Why do I make films?”.
First Part (February to October 2011)
Marcelo Alderete (Programador Festival Internacional de Cine de Mar del Plata)
Charles-Marie Anthonioz (Asistente Harmony Korine)
Nicolás Aponte A. Gutter (GRUPOKANE)
Mohammad Atebbai (Iranian Independents)
Gabriela Avaltroni (Prensa)
Monica Axelsson (Anton Corbijn Limited)
Alya Belgaroui-Degalet (Marketing - Wild Bunch International Sales)
Ann Cattrall (Sixteen Films / Ken Loach)
Diego Cirulo (GRUPOKANE)
Annamaria Cocchioni (Sacher Film - Nanni Moretti)
Leonardo D'Espósito (El Amante Cine)
Esther Devos (Festivals Liaisons - Wild Bunch International Sales)
Farabi Cinema Foundation (Contacto Nasser Refaie)
Patricia Fiorin (ina)
Samantha Fitzgerald (Asistente de Adam Elliot)
Heidi Frankl (Asistente Personal Wim Wenders)
Veronika Franz (Ulrich Seidl Filmproduktion)
Karina Gechtman-Harroch (Independent Film Company UK)
Tess Girard (Grimthorpe Film Inc. Office Manager Peter Mettler)
Federico Godfrid (GRUPOKANE)
Helena Gomà (Asistente de Pere Portabella)
Cathy Graber (Sony Pictures Releasing International)
Maxime Gruman (Canal-Plus)
Joana Gusmao (Terratreme Filmes)
Carlos F. Heredero (Cahiers du cinéma - España)
Conny Hevia (Asistente Miguel Littin)
Martha Isaakidi (Theo Angelopoulos Film Productions)
Sara Jamieson (Asistente Roman Coppola)
Vanessa Jerrom & Claire Vorger (International Press)
Tejinder Jouhal (Institute of Contemporary Arts - UK)
Nina Jung (Senior Manager International Affairs - Seoul Film Commission)
Karen Konicek (Zipporah Films, Inc. - Frederick Wiseman)
Roger Alan Koza (Programador Hamburgo y Ficunam y co-Director Río Negro Proyecta)
Kyung-hee Kim (Productora de Hong Sangsoo)
Ferdinand Lapuz (Ignatius Films Canada - Contacto Brilhante Mendoza)
Jane Ljung (Studio 24, Roy Andersson Filmproduktion AB)
Carlos Losilla (Consejo de Redacción de Cahiers du cinéma - España)
Joana Machado (Departamento de Prensa y RRPP Lust Films of Barcelona)
Fernando Madedo (Coordinador Ejecutivo PCI)
Raúl Manrupe (Diccionario Films Argentinos / Coordinador Cine y Video CC Ricardo Rojas)
Vincent Maraval (World Sales - Wild Bunch International Sales)
Emilie Martel (Studio Canal - Sales Agent)
Anne-Claire Martin (Coproduction Office / Festivals Coordinator)
Charles McDonald (Charles McDonald International Press)
Silvia Gómez (Secretaria Julio Medem)
Mariano Mestman (CONICET)
Gaby Morgerman (Asistente Gus Van Sant)
Paola Muller (Sun Distribution Group S.A)
Junichi Nakano (Asistente de Takeshi Kitano)
Asako Otomo (Wakamatsu Production)
Emilio Parij (GRUPOKANE)
Miguel Peirotti (Prensa)
Fernando Martín Peña (Filmoteca de Buenos Aires / APrOCINAIN / Malba.Cine)
Laura Perelli (GRUPOKANE / Habitación 15/20 Producciones)
Scott Pierce (Productor de Harmony Korine)
Koniba Pléah (Nazira Films. Asistente Personal Elia Suleiman)
Marilina Quiroga (Agencia Lola Silberman Prensa & Comunicación)
Jaime Romandía (Mantarraya Films)
Jonathan Rutter (Premier PR International Press)
Cinthia Sabat (Prensa)
Luciana Saffores (GRUPOKANE)
Matthew Sanders (Magic Lantern Art)
Sofia Serbin de Skalon (Public Relations)
Birgitte Skov (SF Film Production)
Jenny Scheubeck (Film Promotion International)
Lola Silberman (Agencia Lola Silberman Prensa & Comunicación)
Kasey Skeen (Zipporah Films, Inc. - Frederick Wiseman)
Skip Skinner (Asistente Errol Morris)
Tara Smith (Assistant to Mike Figgis)
Carla Sospedra Salvadó (Asistente Isabel Coixet)
Andrea Sperling (The producer of Kaboom de Gregg Araki)
Christen Sperry-Garcia (Curatorial / Administrative Assistant Bill Viola Studio LLC)
Sara Squire (Contacto Quay Brothers)
Inge Stache (Cinemateca - Goethe-Institut Buenos Aires)
Rachael Teel (Myriapod Productions)
The Finnish Film Foundation
Emina Tonnellier (Personal Assistant of Mr. Kijû Yoshida)
Sezgi Üstün (Asistente Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Sakura Wakita (T-JOY CO., LTD. - Masahiro Kobayashi)
Beata Wiggen (Contacto Alexander Kluge)
Gisela Wiltschek (Bavaria Film)
Astrid Wolfig (Ulrich Seidl Filmproduktion)
AND NOW, THEIR OPINIONS
Compiled by Pablo Acosta Larroca and Florencia Gasparini Rey
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