Carte Blanche to Dimitri Eipides

Programming a festival is much more than just “selecting a series of films”. It’s like the diligent work of a researcher, the investigative method of a detective and the brave hope of an explorer, all wrapped into one. If you are to do your job properly, it’s not enough to just add films to a list; you must discover and reveal, identifying a gem of a film among tons of “coal”. And when you’re programming a documentary film festival, there are several factors that play their own role, with truth and reality being first on the list. The documentary is the purest, most direct gaze cinema can cast on the world, on human nature, on our very selves – and that, in my opinion, is what makes it supremely interesting. I feel very proud then, to have started, 19 years ago, this Festival which has grown into one of the most important ones worldwide and which I hope will continue with the same fervor and momentum after me.

In this new chapter of the Festival, in its 19th edition, I was asked by its new directors to select ten films which screened at the Festival over the past ten years; films which I consider to be special. I must admit that it wasn’t an easy task. Amid the wealth of films which screened at the Festival’s previous editions there are dozens which deserve a place in this selection. Films which have become a part of my own personal history and which I would hate to sell short. Thus, in compiling my list, I observed the same method I always did: I looked for films that would surprise me (even in this case, when I already knew them); that would still have something important to say; that would offer something new upon being viewed for the second or the upteenth time. Documentaries with an original subject or an unexpected approach; films using a properly structured filmic language; delivering immediacy and impact.

​Not necessarily documentaries which will change the world (it’s unfair to ask that of a film), but ones which, I am sure, can change some of their viewers: the way we look at life, the environment, other people, ourselves. That may not be enough for some people, but it’s more than anough for me. Yes, a film can’t change the world, but I’m convinced it can make a difference – one film or one filmgoer at a time. In the following selection, you will find ten such films. Films which made a difference, first of all to me, and, I am certain, to many of the people who watched them when they first screened or will watch them now, in this small tribute to my journey in this Festival.

Dimitri Eipides

1.  Blockade / Sergei Loznitsa, Russia
2.  Kinbaku – Art of Bondage / Jouni Hokkanen, Finland
3.  Music Partisans / Miroslaw Dembinski, Poland
4.  My Sweet Canary / Roy Sher, Israel-France-Greece
5.  Steam of Life / Joonas Berghall, Mika Hotakainen, Finland-Sweden
6.  The Imposter / Bart Layton, UK-Spain-USA
7.  The Last Days of Shishmaref / Jan Louter, The Netherlands
8.  The Mother / Antoine Cattin, Pavel Kostomarov, Switzerland-France-Russia
9.  The World According to Ion B. / Alexander Nanau, Romania
10.  Where Is My Son? / Chaimin Ahn, South Korea