Two questions for
What is your personal connection to documentary and animated film?
I came to Germany from Georgia in 1996 to study directing at the film school in Babelsberg. We went to Leipzig in our first year and were given the concrete task of choosing a film from the programme and interviewing its director. I was 18 at the time, from a country that was still reverberating from the collapse of the Soviet Union, where daily life was marked by war and civil war. It was the first time that I experienced the fact that documentary and animated film had a status. I chose Благодать (Bliss, 1995) and interviewed Vitaly Mansky. I can still recall the admiration this film inspired in me. I wondered how it was possible to make a documentary that seemed and worked like a fiction film. Perhaps this was a naive question at the time, but it's one that continues to interest me and I think that it's become extremely modern at a time when the boundaries between fiction and documentary are disappearing and there are exciting combined forms emerging.
What are your priorities in the selection process?
A lot happens at an unconscious level so you can't immediately verbalise the reasons for a decision, even though there's a tendency... The first question that I ask myself is: Does the filmmaker know the answers to his/her questions and does the film prove that this hypothesis is correct or is the filmmaker telling us the story because he/she is looking for answers, is the film the product of his/her musings and meanderings? Every film has a story but not every story makes a film. There's a special feeling when you suddenly feel while watching a film that something really alive and not fake, something real is taking place on the screen. This is force and energy that lead our gaze and thoughts on a journey. You look at something that you don't immediately recognise, that you don't immediately have an opinion about. The images and sounds take us to dilemmas, paradoxes and dead ends and to a point of vigilance and ignorance, where thinking can begin. It's wonderful to find such films.