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Q. Last year Docpoint Tallinn screened 17 films, this year you have 28, a nice jump in the festival size. What has made it easier to expand your roster? How did the ticket sales go in 2010?
A. The ticket sales went fine, better than we expected actually. Or, to be more exact, we didn’t know what to expect. No, on our second year, we decided to add another day and we hope the format still works. By no means do we want to bloat the festival out of size and lose the personal hands-on approach.
Q. Finland is the genesis of this festival, how many documentaries did they consider before drawing up the final schedule, is the fact that Estonia has one documentary a triumph or a travesty?
A. Estonia has two! We were very happy to get those – Cubaton and Lennart Meri – because we have a very small window between Black Nights and us, and obviously, the Estonian main festival screens the cream of the docs. All together we considered I guess hundreds of docs all over the year. Finally, we could get all we wanted from the Finnish program.
Q. While good documentaries can offer a more balanced and thorough medium to receive news, is the news increasingly more untrustworthy and partisan or we have just become more aware of it? How is society mutating and how does the documentary play a part in this?
A. I think it is correct to assume that the docs are taking on the role of the news. Everything in the official channels seems totally biased and untrustworthy. I hope the docs will not be commercialized in the same way. Maybe too much popularity is a bad thing for the docs.
Q. Lemmy through these eyes seems like a big draw for this festival. What is the enduring quality of Lemmy that makes him an obvious choice for a documentary maker and how does this movie add to introduce or adjust the viewers understanding of the ‘big man’?
A. Well, as I understand, Lemmy is lacking two things that the rock stars are usually famous for. First, he has seemingly no star complex whatsoever, going around introducing himself to fans rather than the other way around. And second, he is not an idiot, but a well-versed british gentleman with strong views and even stronger jokes. In some way, he should be (and is) a role model for the rest of the bunch. A living proof that rock is a sinister, vibrant beast.
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Q. Are you looking for documentaries that represent a balanced opinion or is it ok to be one sided, to have an opinion? Michael Moore gets a lot of criticism these days. Any doc which you disagree with their intention but admire as a piece of good work?
A. Balanced opinion is the very definition of a documentary, I would say. One sided opinion is propaganda. Michael Moore took more artistic liberties to get his point across. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because let’s not forget, documentary is never the Truth, it is always an author’s subjective opinion. I respect strong artistic docs. I have a certain counter-reaction to overly leftist docs, that mix up argumentations, preaching and whining. A good point ruined by a bad argument is a lost battle.
Q. Any favourite children this time around? Or screenings that will sell out so we better get our tickets early?
A. I am sure some will sell out, so those, who want to see Lemmy, Men Who Swim, Vodka Factory, The Ordinary Extraordinary Life of Jose Gonzalez and a couple of others, should maybe get their tickets from presale.
Q. Due to the close proximity of Estonia and Finland do you think it representative the amount of cultural cooperation in comparison to more straight forward commercial cooperation?
A. What do you mean? Commercial stuff is not my subject, let’s stick to culture. I am sure that there are wonderful business opportunities just waiting to happen, I just couldn’t care less.
Q. Is it realistic to view things in this way, comparing culture with trade and % of investments?
A. No. Culture is NOT part of the commerce and does not have to support itself. This is neoliberalist bullshit to wriggle out of the responsibility and concentrate on these business ventures you just mentioned. Culture is higher than percentages.
Q. This year in Estonia documentary film making has increased, do you see the necessary improvements for docs to be appreciated outside of Estonia or are they still only for a domestic audience?
A. It hasn’t necessarily increased, because the funds have decreased. There are more and more projects submitted every year and less and less of those can be supported by the national film fund. Maybe that will change. Maybe not. As every year, there are a few that can attract the attention of the international audience, and the rest are just for local use. Which definitely should not be like that.
Q. We have talked about a documentary channel similar to Silver for indie movies where docs are shown so making them more widely available, is ERR 2 filling this vacuum now in Estonia, and what about internationally?
A. Docs are such an acquired taste, that I have serious doubts that this doc channel would work. Just looking at the documentary audience numbers even in big European TV channels. ERR is doing a great job choosing the films, I hope they can keep it up, although it probably is not a simple job.
Q. You are very international in your outlook, contacts and places you travel meeting people doing a similar job from other countries. Is there a positive globalisation effect at work here, is there a marked difference between say Sweden, Italy, UK and Estonia, or are documentary film making and film funding channels similar everywhere?
A. I think the negative globalization effect is definitely at work when it comes to features. With docs the negative effects are not so obvious. I would say that the authorship is just as varied – last year’s Eric Gandini is an Italian who made an Italian-topic film in Sweden (Videocracy), this year we have Vodka Factory, taking place in Russia, made by a Pole living in Sweden. So go figure.
Q. Where are the best documentary film makers from these days? Is it a nation specific thing? Who is on the rise?
A. Hard to comment, as documentaries in general are definitely on the rise and there are many talented ones. As I am a nerd, I have lately been trying to dig deeper into the past and watch the older masters. I would definitely recommend Jean Rouch, Nick Broomfield and Pirjo Honkasalo, for example.
19:00 Opening Film: CUBATON 90’ (D: Daniel Fridell | Cuba, Sweden, Estonia, Finland | 2011)
18:00 MEN WHO SWIM 70’ (D: Dylan Williams | UK, Sweden | 2010)
20:00 BATTLE FOR BARKING 86’ (D: Laura Fairrie | UK | 2010)
22:00 THE EXTRAORDINARY ORDINARY LIFE OF JOSE GONZALES 74’ (D: Mikel Cee Karlsson, Fredrik Egerstrand | Sweden | 2010)
18:00 MOUTH OF THE WOLF 76’ (D: Pietro Marcello | Italy | 2009) 20:00
12TH& DELAWARE 87’ (D: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady, | USA | 2010)
14:00 Finnish shorts: MITEN MARJOJA POIMITAAN 19’ (D: Elina Talvensaari, 2010)
PLAY GOD 39’ (D: Teemu Nikki, 2010)
KINBAKU – SIELUN SOLMUJA 29’ (D: Jouni Hokkanen, 2009)
VOITKO RAKASTAA 15’ (D: Johanna Vanhala, 2010)
16:00 FAMILY INSTINCT 58’ (D: Andris Gauja | Latvia | 2010)
18:00 BOHEEMI ELÄÄ 75’ (D: Janne Kuusi | Finland| 2010)
20:00 PINK SARIS 96’ (D: Kim Longinotto | India, UK | 2010)
22:00 LEMMY 117’ (D: Greg Olliver, Wes Orshoski | USA | 2010)
14:00 MARCELA 80’ (D: Helena Třeštíková | Czech | 2007)
16:00 TANTSUD LINNUTEELE (DANCING WITH THE MILKY WAY) 60’ (D: Jaak Lõhmus | Estonia | 2010)
18:00 VODKA FACTORY 90’ (D: Jerzy Sladkowski | Sweden | 2010)
20:00 GREEN WAVE 80’ (D: Ali Samadi Ahadi | Iraq, Germany | 2010)
14:00 SOUNDS UNDER THE SUN 62’ (D: Gints Grube, Davis Simanis | Latvia | 2010)
16:00 Polish shorts 2010: A PIECE OF SUMMER 24’ (D: Marta Minorowicz)
DECLARATION OF IMMORTALITY 31’ (D: Marcin Koszalka)
INVENTORY 9’ (D: Paweł Łoziński)
18:00 SIELUNPELASTAJAT 78’ (D: Saku Pollari | Finland | 2010 )
20:00 INSIDE JOB 108’ (D: Charles Ferguson | USA | 2009)
22:00 CUBATON 90’ (D: Daniel Fridell | Cuba, Sweden, Estonia, Finland | 2011)
14:00 RENE 83’ (D: Helena Třeštíková | Czech | 2008)
16:00 KATKA 90’ (D: Helena Třeštíková | Czech | 2010)
18:00 SALLA – SELLING THE SILENCE 70’ (D: Markku Tuurna | Finland | 2010)
20:00 KINSHASA SYMPHONY 95’ (D: Martin Baer, Claus Wischmann | Congo, Germany | 2010)
Is life too serious to be taken seriously? Favourite animal is a dog, called Harry the Lurcher. Now somewhere in space.
Andris Gauja Battle for Barking Charles Ferguson Claus Wischma Cubaton Daniel Fridell Davis Simanis Marta Minorowicz Docpoint documentary Dylan Williams Elina Talvensaari Estonia Festival Fredrik Egerstrand Gints Grube Green Wave Greg Olliver Heidi Ewing Helena Třeštíková Helsinki Inside Job Jaak Lõhmus Janne Kuusi Jerzy Sladkowski Kim Longinotto Kino Sõprus Kinshasha Symphony Kumu Laura Fairrie Lemmy Marcin Koszalka Martin Baer Men Who Swim Mikel Cee Karlsson Paweł Łoziński Pietro Marcello Pink Saris Rachel Grady Tallinn Tantsud Linnuteele Teemu Nikki The Mouth of The Wolf The Ordinary Life of Jose Gonzales Wes Orshoski