Informative plattform of International Federation of Film Societies- Féderation Internationalle des Ciné-clubs- Federación Internacional de Cine Clubes
Report by FICC Jury Member Karl Rössel (FilmInitiativ Köln e.V., Germany)
Organising the Africa Film Festival „Out of Europe – New films from Africa “ in Cologne, Germany, since 1992 we did know about the International Film Festival in Fribourg (FIFF) for a long time already, because it is one of the few festivals, which does present African films not just as a rare exception, but regulary.
So I was glad, that as a member of the FICC jury 2014 for the first time I had the chance to participate in the festival in Fribourg. The FICC Jury was Margarida de Assis, Ralpf Hofer and Karl Rössel.
The program with 126 films from 46 countries was very ambitious and interesting. The FIFF definatly has a lot to offer to independent film societies and non-profit oriented cinemas, because it is not focussed on main-stream cinema as many other festivals.
To just name two examples for the exciting parallel sections of this years festival:
1. Hommage à…: History of Iranian cinema by its creators
For this hommage a list of 27 films of importance for the history of Iranien cinema was chosen by 14 Iranien filmmakers and 15 of those films were presented (and discussed with Iranien guests) at the FIFF.
The whole series of historical Iranian films will also be presented at other festivals (f.e. in Edinburgh and Toronto) and can be highly recommanded to independent film societies and non-profit oriented cinemas around the world too. It even could be completed by two of the most recent Iranian feature films („Manuscripts don’t burn“ and „Fish and cats“), which took part in the international competition of FIFF 2014.
2. Terra incognita: Madagascar
For this program, Laza, filmmaker and founder of the Short Film Festival in Madagascar, was asked to choose feature films, documentaries, shorts and animation films from his country. Even if not all of those films were convincing (and some outstanding feature and documentary films from the last years were missing), the program did put a spot light on a country and its filmmakers mostly unknown to the rest of the world. For us this program did provide the occasion to choose some more films from Madagascar for our next Africa film festival „Out of Europa XIII“ in September 2014 and to invite a young filmmaker from Madagascar, who was in Fribourg, to our festival in Cologne as well.
For the FICC jury the main focus in Fribourg were the 12 films from 11 countries in the international competition. The jury agreed that the selection of the films for this competition was excellent, because it offered an impressive variety of styles, themes and cinematic approaches of filmmakers from different continents.
(The only exception was the documentary „’Til Madness Do Us Part“ about an isolated psychiatric clinic in China, where some fifty people live incarcerated. Even if this film certainly was ment to denounce the inhuman practices in this prison for people with psychiatric disorders, the way of presenting those people over almost four hours in this documentary was voyeuristic and problematic, because the protagonists could not decide if they want to be presented in their weakest and most intimate moments on big cinema screens around the world.)
All the other films of the competitioon were worth watching and therefore the decision of the jury was not easy, because some of them also would have deserved a Don Quijote award.
Our jury did take into account, that some of the strongest films in the competion did already find distributors in countries like Switzerland and Germany. This was the case for the impressive Iranian feature „Manuscripts don’t burn“. So our jury decided to further promote it through a special mention. We also did use the occasion to ask in our statement at the closing ceremony for solidarity with the Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof, who – because of this film – cannot leave Iran since October 2013 to get back to his family, who lives in Germany.
The jury did unanimous agree to give the Don Quijote award to the feature „To Kill a Man“ („Matar a un Hombre“, Chile 2013, 83’, fiction) by Alejandro Fernandez Almendras. The FICC jury was happy, that this film also got the special prize of the international jury (CHF 10.000).
We also were glad, that prizes, which were awarded by other juries were given to films, which we also liked and considered as prizeworthy like „Han Gong-Ju“ from South Corea, „Au revoir l’été“ from Japan and „Fish and cat“ from Iran. All those films mentioned can be recommanded to the film associations and independent cinemas, which are members of FICC.
More informations on those films and the whole festival can be found at the website of the festival: http://www.fiff.ch
The prizes and the motivations of the jurys (including the statement of the FICC jury) can be found on the FIFF website in three languages.
Summary: The festival in Fribourg can be recommanded to everybody, who is interested in outstanding films and independent cinema from around the world.
The festival organisation is perfect. The venues (cinemas, hotel and festival centre) are all in a few minutes walking distance from each other. The introductions to the films and Q & A with the film makers were well prepared and professional (which cannot be said for every other festival…). The organizers of the FIFF (from the director to the drivers) are friendly, open and helpful. Filmmakers and other guests are looked after with great hospitality by the staff. Therefore many of the guests said, that they would love to come back to Fribourg for future editions of this important festival – and so would I.