SHOOTING VS. SHOOTING / RAW MATERIAL
Nikos Megrelis (Shooting vs. Shooting) and Christos Karakepelis (Raw Material) gave a press conference in the framework of the 13th TDF on Saturday, March 19. Their films participate in the international section.
Nikos Megrelis, a journalist in his debut film, highlighted the importance of team work, commenting on his collaboration with Irene Vlachioti. “My agony was to avoid turning the film into another TV news report. We used material from a variety of sources, including big TV networks and news agencies such as Al Jazeera and Reuters. Naturally, these organizations will only provide you with material if they are sure you will do justice to it. We also got footage from fellow reporters, such as the dramatic explosion at Baghdad’s parliament building, which is included in the film. Some of the material from personal archives we had to pay handsomely for”, explained the director. An experienced unionist and a member of the European journalists’ federation, Nikos Megrelis is deeply interested in promoting the safety of reporters, and especially war correspondents. “It is easy to pass judgment while sitting on your couch, but we should realize that reporters covering wars face a daunting dilemma. Kevin Sites, who witnessed the execution of Iraqis, is a case in point. Since he was following an American Army operation, he was forced to spin his eyewitness account and apply strict self-censorship. I believe that since media conglomerates might want to influence us by providing whatever they like as news stories from the front, the presence of correspondents is a necessity if we want to know what really happens out there”, added Mr. Megrelis.
Greece’s environmental obligations to the EU and the western dream of an army of illegal immigrants come together in a string of shanty towns in the shadow of the Acropolis in Raw Material. Karakepelis talked about the much debated issue of trust between the filmmaker and his subject. “If trust is absent, a film cannot throw light on any subject. Before the cameras and the microphones come to play, the filmmaker needs to have established the element of directness. His gaze must be clear. Your subjects will always see you as an outsider, but there is no way around it if you want to share their everyday life“, noted Mr. Karakepelis, adding: “These people, who are responsible for the biggest share of the recycling done in Greece, use tricycles that can carry up to half a ton and cover very short distances. They live in their own microcosm. The film’s first part focuses on the individual, but as the metal continues its journey, finally reaching the processing stage, the individual disappears. Half the amount of the 3 million tons of steal produced annually in Greece comes from gypsies who collect it from street garbage. The rest of us act as if there is no such link in the chain. It seems to me we would rather ignore the existence of these pariahs, who try to make a living by recycling in our stead, for example the laundry machine we discarded”. Among his protagonists is a young boy and Mr. Karakepelis commented on the child’s reaction towards school and children of his own age. “To him, the outside world is a threat. Being socially excluded, the ghetto is the only place where he is someone. So he ignores other children and focuses only on the job at hand: collecting the garbage”.