NisiMazine *4 December 07
Special Focus Debating Cinema
hen was the last time you left the cinema with a friend, and discovered that they had in fact spent a very different few hours in front of the screen? it’s fascinating to see how people’s reactions can vary so wildly. We all know that talking over a film with another person can often bring something completely new to what you have seen – character and plot details that you missed, cinematographic references that you were unaware of, and perspectives that hadn’t even occurred to you. of course, there are times when you just won’t agree, but that’s all part of the fun. i’m sure many of us have spent enjoyable hours heatedly arguing over the merits and/or faults of this or that latest release. in addition, discussions such as these can surprisingly (or perhaps not) often lead to interesting exchanges on the state of the world. Just imagine how these inspiring post-movie revelations, usually all but forgotten the day after, could be developed even further in the right context.
this month, Nisimazine is focusing on ‘debating cinema’, and more specifically, how we can encourage transtrans-european dialogue on the 7th art through events such as conferences and seminars.
Agenda December, 15th-16th Andé (France) Script&Pitch 2007 Alumni Meeting December, 21st In all the network Release of the e-book on Human Rights & Visual Culture December, 31st In all the network Dealine for paying the membership fee 2007
as you will see over the following pages, debate has always been an important part of niSi maSa activities. past seminars such as ‘Human Rights and Visual Culture’ and ‘Balkan Identities, Balkan Cinemas’ have allowed participants to take a step back and reflect on the ‘bigger picture’ (both in a cinematic and philosophical sense) by focusing on the relationships between the audiovisual medium and important social and cultural issues. the fruits of these events will soon be made available for wider audiences. and our debating efforts don’t stop at analysing the films themselves. more recently, a conference held as part of Nisimazine at the torino t film festival asked the crucial questions: what purpose do film festivals and film criticism serve for cinematic development? hopefully the next opportunity to get together during a ‘debating cinema’ event is not far away. Why not for a europe-asia encounter? or maybe the time has come to build a project on politically-committed cinema? these are just a few suggestions - let us know your thoughts! Jude Lister
NISIMAZINE 5 ~ January 2008 Special focuS : documentary
in the Spotlight: kino5 and much more...
NISIMAZINE is a monthly newsletter published by the association NISI MASA. EDITORIAL STAFF Editor-in-chief Matthieu Darras Secretary of the editorial Jude Lister Layout Emilie Padellec Contributors to this issue Esra Demirkıran, N. Pınar Erdoğan, Zeynep Güzel, Volkan Kavas, Jude Lister, Emilie Padellec, Maria Palacios Cruz, Atso Parnanen, Gülçin Şahin, Yoko P. Tsuda On the cover: Sebastiano Pucciarelli during the Torino conference; Photo by Francesca Cirili NISI MASA 10 rue de l’Echiquier, 75010, Paris, France. Tel.: + 33 (0)1 53 34 62 78 + 33 (0)6 32 61 70 26 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Website www.nisimasa.com
Special Focus: Debating Cinema
NISI MASA Seminars and Conferences
he words ‘conference’ and ‘seminar’ may not seem all that glamorous. But whether you are a filmmaker or simply an enthusiast, sharing ideas about film is crucial to bring new perspectives ; it help to relate what we see on screen to the world around us. here ere is an overview of several debating events, which hopes to inspire you to “get talking” about possible future niSi maSa projects…
NISIMAZINE Torino Conference 29. November 2007 ‘‘Festivals are Changing: a new deal for film journalism?’’
© Francesca Cirilli
Nisimazine Helsinki 18.–28. January 2008
he film festival landscape has been undergoing huge changes of late. With the multiplication of such events, many are forced to provide ever more specialised programming, and often to take on new functions. niSi maSa, as organiser of a film journalism workshop during the tff (itself ‘transformed’ this year by the arrival of Nanni Moretti as its artistic director), was interested to ref lect on how these have been affecting the field of criticism. in order to discuss this issue, the young writers of the nisimazine torino orino team were joined by guest speakers Bruno Fornara (critic, academic, and president of the italian ‘cineforum’), Eva af Geijerstam (Swedish film critic) and Giorgio Simonelli (film historian and reviewer for rai tV) V) in an open debate with the festival public in the lavish surroundings of the circolo dei lettori. during the conference, worries were expressed that festivals are losing their initial purpose - to discover of new talents and act as a laboratory for discussion on cinema - as they become more and more dominated by commercial pressures. on n the subject of new formats of criticism, some were wary of the rise of so-called ‘google journalism’ (such as internet forums, blogs, and review sites), which, they claimed, does not fulfil the same kind of function as more traditional reporting. others suggested new ways for critics to make their reports online, such as providing regularly updated content for festival websites (most sites are active for only a few months of the year) in order to reinstate a real dialogue. Speakers also urged festivals and critics alike to focus on identifying the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ in cinema, rather than simply always seeking the next ‘new movement’. as a present for christmas, the franti team will offer you online the full recording of the conference ;) Just check out soon their website: www.frantinisimasa.it
during uring our next nisimazine isimazine workshop at the DocPoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festiva l in January 2008, niSi maSa will organise a conference on the topic “Young Visions: lost opportunities”. t he idea will be to focus on the stories told in the festival films which explore the lives of less priviledged young people. Various documentary-makers will be invited to share their views with our nisimazine team and the public audience.
5th Anniversary, Paris, 2006 alongside longside the workshops of this mega week-long birthday party, three public panel discussions were held, including a debate on the topic ‘Does a multicultural Europe need cinema to exist?’ with directors Karin Albou and Stephen Frears. participant Atso Parnanen still remembers how he was particularly struck by frears during the meeting: “his his witty and intelligent remarks brought an interesting addition to the conversation […] for him the collapse of the British Empire had been one of the most important incidents of his life; to grow up seeing the cultural transformations that the UK faced. However he also pointed out that he did my Beautiful laundrette because of the excellent script by Hanif Kureshi rather than the fact that the writer was a member of a minority.” minority a screening of Dirty Pretty Things , frears’ rears’ film about illegal immigrants getting caught up in the seedy underworld of london, was held after the conference. Paris, September, 2, 2006: on stage, the film directors Steen Agro, Hannes Stöhr and Fernando Trueba during the conference «Filmmakers’ narratives: Europe in films».
Special Focus: Debating Cinema
NISI MASA Seminars and Conferences
Human Rights and Visual Culture Seminar Ankara, Turkey ~ 11.-17. November 2005 Insight
Q&A: Volkan Kavas & Pınar Erdoğan
isual culture surrounds us every day, everywhere. it practically forms our understanding and the way we look at the universe. the goal of this seminar was to open a discussion about the use of audiovisual tools to overcome problems around the world, the independence of the visual practices over economic, political and cultural boundaries, and their meeting point with human rights. the promotion of human rights values through audiovisual tools (e.g. cinema, video, alternative media & internet) and the participation of young people in this process were the starting points of the seminars and discussions.
the he first collaborative project of niSi maSa and Videa (now niSi maSa t turkey) was held in parallel to 11th ‘festival of european films on Wheels’ and funded by the council of europe. 24 young people from 12 european countries, and academicians and professionals from t turkey came together and presented their ideas. t topics were chosen in order to cover different dimensions of the visual domain; independent cinema with humanistic intentions and its relation with human rights, problems in communication and the media as an important component of visual culture, media and monopolisation, the most important obstacles to the promotion of human rights, censorship, and of course possibilities to overcome the difficulties faced with alternative media. as we talked, we got excited by the fact that ‘‘we were together to do something good for the world’’… N. Pınar Erdoğan
E-Book niSi maSa has now prepared the e-book of the seminar discussions, to be distributed to readers who are interested in human rights and visual culture. By the 21st of december the book will be ready and then dVd copies will be provided by the beginning of 2008. y you can already reserve your own copy! the publication will include the texts of the national presentations as well as the panel discussions. the national presentations made by young europeans from austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, finland, france, germany, hungary, kosovo, Spain, Sweden and t turkey, are assembled under 3 titles: Censorship, Minorities and Media Ethics. focusing on t turkish cinema, the discussions deal with human rights violations, censorship, independant cinema, media and monopolization, etc. We wish you a happy reading ! Esra Demirkıran
hy did you decide to hold this seminar in Turkey? V: in visual communication and arts, turkey has a loaded history; the censorship of t movies, closure of newspapers and banning of books are just some examples. We aimed to consider a burning issue on young people’s agenda, but also discuss what could be done against it by using visual means. What exactly was meant by ‘visual culture’? P: Visual culture refers to a cultural practice where there is a domination of the “eye” over other senses in order to find true representations of the world. i think the rise of modernism more or less depends on such domination; thus actually visual culture indirectly refers to modernism itself. What were your conclusions on how media censorship varies across Europe? P: this question is related to the discussion on the power of image mediums to represent the real world. censorship is an obstacle blocking the potential of the image to reveal the “real”. in what measure certain images form a threat, and the meaning of this potential, may vary across different political, economical and cultural agendas. What we discussed was not the censorship itself, but these meanings. In your opinion how important is cinema in relation to human rights issues? V: cinema addresses people’s consciences. a film cannot change the world, but it can inspire understanding by revealing the delicate human condition and ref lecting on contemporary society. on the other hand, media such as the written press or tV programs can reach many people simultaneously, cheaply, and usually very superficially. on billboards, on your cell phone, on the radio in a taxi... cinema discusses, while these media ‘answer’.
Special Focus: Debating Cinema
NISI MASA Seminars and Conferences
Balkan identities, Balkan cinemas
Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria ~ 3.-9. March 2006
Q&A: Maria Palacios Cruz
Q&A: Maria Palacios Cruz
s it important to discuss Balkan cinema at the moment? this idea of a shared identity by filmmakers from different countries all over the region, is new. Before we used to speak of national cinemas : yugoslav cinema, Bulgarian cinema, greek cinema… the idea of eastern european cinema existed but not that of a specific Balkan one. on a social level, after the yugoslav wars and consequent declarations of independence, the «identity» issue was definitely a core one. it is important to question whether, after all the differences, there is indeed a common identity. So do you feel that “Balkan cinema” can be in fact labelled as a phenomena in itself? i think it is a Western construction, which does not mean that it doesn’t exist. Balkan cinema, Balkan films, and Balkan audiences are a reality. there is a common sense of humour, a common history, some common traditions. is the label a bad thing ? if it allows filmmakers from the region to show their films more widely, all the better. the only problem i see is when the artists are swallowed by it. How does the book offer a different approach from that of an academic text? academic texts don’t question the very existence of Balkan cinema as such but take it for granted. in Blagoevgrad we were questioning whether there was such a thing as a common Balkan identity at all. also, the book not only offers academic-like essays, but also pieces written as workshop assignments and film reviews that have a journalistic approach. the texts are more spontaneous and direct than those you find in an academic publication.
© 12:08 East of Bucharest by Corneliu Porumboiu (Romania, 2006)
‘Balkan Book’ the he complete book of the ‘‘Balkan Identities, Balkan Cinemas’ Cinemas’ seminar, comprising of texts written by all of the participants based on the different discussions, will finally be published in January. it will be divided into two main sections: ‘ thematic approaches’ pproaches’ and ‘national cinemas’ inemas’ - which also offer reviews of recent releases from each country. iff you would like to pre-order a copy (printed version only), please send us an email at: email@example.com.
Latest news NEW STAFF MEMBER
JURY MEETING: THE WINNING SCRIPTS
As usual, everyone can suggest topics to be put on the agenda / ask questions / raise problems, etc. Also, this is a perfect time to introduce new projects of yours to the Board. You will not be able to say you didn’t know about it…
G.A. 2008 in Alba
© Photo by Kathrin Enenkel
ude Lister, from the UK, arrived in the NM European Office in February this year as a pioneer; the first NISI MASA EVS (European Voluntary Service) volunteer. During the last 10 months, she has become a familiar face by working on projects such as the Balkan Identities, Balkan Cinemas book, EuroBalkans Video Letters, the Budapest Squares workshop and Nisimazine Cannes and Torino (not to mention this very fine newsletter you are reading). She also took part in the French national script contest jury, and most importantly, is the current pudding-maker for NISI MASA France’s ‘Cinépudding’ screenings! Jude will start her new contract as a permanent staff member in mid-December, thanks to a grant from the Région Ile-deFrance. Her role will be that of a project manager, also in charge of communications, including content for the website and coordinating publications.
© Kars, Turkey; E.P
n the 16th of November 2007, the 6th edition of the NISI MASA Script Contest came to an end with the announcement of the three European Awards. Among the 373 scripts received this year on the theme “Circle”, the jury, gathered in Kars (Turkey) along the 13th “On Wheels” Film Festival, awarded: Little Girl by Léo Medard (Belgium), Three Nights to Beginning by Jarkko Virtanen (Finland) and At Midnight Everything Stops Here by Just Philippot (France). At the end of January, these three lucky winners will take part with other finalists of the contest in a 6-day rewriting workshop organized at the Moulin d’AndéCéci (Normandy, France). All together they will finally pitch their scripts in front of European producers and TV buyers during the 30th International Film Festival of Clermont-Ferrand (www.clermont-filmfest.com). The circle is now (almost) complete!
BOARD MEETING IN PARIS
ome people will not have so much time to recover from the New Year’s celebrations! Indeed, the NM Board will gather in Paris on the 4th & 5th of January 2008 to work on the many projects of the network.
After Sofia in 2006 and Istanbul this year, the city of Alba in Italy (60 km far from Torino) will host the General Assembly of NM. Famous for gastronomy (especially its wine and white truffles), Alba also hosts an international film festival each spring (7.-12. March 2008, www.albafilmfestival.com), which notably includes a competition of first & second feature films. NM is not unfamiliar to the manifestation since the first session of Script&Pitch workshops were already organised there in 2007 (and they will take place simultaneously with the G.A. in 2008). Besides, the ex-president Simone Fenoil and the general delegate Matthieu Darras are respectively coordinator and artistic codirector of the festival… The G.A. will take place on the 6th & 7th of March. Member delegates will arrive on the 5th and will be offered to stay for the festival on the 8th & 9th. Departures are planned on the 10th, but one can enjoy the festival until its end, and even continue the fun with Bra Short Film Festival (15 km away from Alba), taking place from the 12th to the 16th of March (www.cortoinbra.it).
NM Turkey In the spotlight Some members Doğu AKAl
Snow workshop Kars, Turkey 8-16 November
Doğu likes to go abroad so much that nm became an addiction for him. he participates in almost every activity, and used to be the only person on time to every meeting. after realising this however, he decided to arrive one hour later. a kind of one-man organisational team, he can serve alcohol and carry 35mm film stock for the next screening at the same time. one day he will become the greatest theatre director ever.
© Kars, Turkey; E.P
NISI MASA Turkey was originally founded in 2004 by members of ‘VideA’ (www. videa.org.tr), an artistic and political media collective based in ankara. nkara. today t oday it is a group of young, ethusiastic people involved in audiovisual workshops, research, film and videomaking and screenings.
a founder member, Esra was actively involved since the beginning, and has been president of nm since april 2007. She has written “establishing an organisation team in 10 steps” with Selda, provided psychological support for young people, and motivated them to join nm activities. She is also an ace at writing project applications and finding cheap plane tickets. having studied Sociology at the metu, she is now a graduate student in film and tV in the Bilgi university.
Zeynep studied film and tV at the istanbul Bilgi university and is now a graduate student in Sociology. her first contact with nm was as national finalist for the 2005 script contest. after the scriptwriting workshop in angers, she missed her plane home - after that stressful incident she avoided getting involved for 1 year. for the ‘Visions of istanbul’ workshop, she finally decided to participate again. She has since been in the script contest national jury and the ‘snow’ workshop.
the most hardworking member, never fed up of coming to meetings on time, and a master translator. She and gülçin also specialise in hospitality, specialising in cooking pasta for their international guests. She was in all of the script contest national juries and also an international jury in Berlin. like many of the others, she has also made the move to istanbul.
Gülçin was in her first year studying international relations in ankara when she met Selda and esra in a meeting of the metu cinema association. there was a hot debate about financing the posters of their annual short film festival; she suggested asking money from people sitting on the grass outside. She and esra collected 50 liras in 15 minutes. gülçin was thus invited into the nm t turkey team... recently she escaped from ankara and now lives, works and dreams in istanbul.
another founder member. Skilled in communication, Selda is an expert in public relations. She works on so many projects that you can’t believe she has time to sleep. She shoots, edits, organises, chats, laughs, watches the street for 3 hours in a cafe and yet still manages to finish all her work… She studied philosophy at the metu and this year moved to istanbul as a graduate student in art and design at the yıldız technical university.
other members, and friends, who contribute to nm t turkey : Nesra, Ayşe, İlkin, Neriman, Olgu, Pınar, Volkan, Ufuk, Emre, Zeynep S. and Onur. Pictures on the right, from the top: Doğu, Esra, Zeynep, Esra, Gülçin & Selda.
mt turkey, with the partnership of 13th ‘festival of european films on Wheels’, recently organised a filmmaking workshop in kars, in the far east of turkey. t the idea was that participants make personal short films, taking the novel Snow by turkish t nobel prize laureate Orhan Pamuk as the starting point. the novel, which includes references to politics, social affairs, religion, poetry and love is not directly about kars, but the story takes place there. participants expressed their ideas about the city in relation to the book and also their real experiences in kars. there were 8 young people from france, germany, t turkey, poland, Spain, finland, Sweden and hungary; producing 5 individual films and 1 group-work. the project was held with the moral support of orhan pamuk. it also attracted intense press attention before and during the festival. the films will be released at the beginning of 2008 on dVd and will be distributed to festivals and for special screenings all around europe. for further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Yoko P. Tsuda
s the plane lands in Kars, the snow-covered landscapes start to turn a dark-brown. I am almost the last person to join the jury members. I am feeling impatient to meet everyone, but also tired after the long journey. We start to introduce ourselves and talk about our stories. The most interesting for me, being a curious girl, is How did you arrive to Kars? Sneska’s story was indeed one of the most interesting ones. She had travelled across the country by train from Istanbul, a distance of almost two thousand kilometres. It took more than forty hours. I couldn’t believe it, and stopped complaining about my own trip. I opened my eyes and ears, closed my mouth, and listened to the details of her fascinating Turkish adventure (well, I tried, but actually I was asking questions all the time). She started to tell us how nice it had been, spending time watching the landscape pass by. Immersed in her own world, it was possible to ref lect on life whilst lying in the small bed, to think about the people she was going to meet and look forward to the upcoming experience, as well as thinking about the selection of the winning scripts. I started to imagine this world; full of colours, flavours, strange and yet beautiful sounds. A world full of stories, stories written in her mind which, some day and some place, she would show us.
© Photo by Simonyi Balázs
Sneska Vasevska is the president of NISI MASA Macedonia, a small but very strong association based in Skopje which became involved in the NISI MASA network last year. This year after participating in the General Assembly in Istanbul, it became a more active member. Sneska also took part in the “Visions of Istanbul” workshop, of which she says: “Every one of us took part in directing, shooting and editing. It was quite an interesting process - as a scriptwriter, I’ve never been so actively involved in the actual shooting of a film”. NISI MASA Macedonia develops many projects for youngsters; presentations, screenings and support for filmmakers. They have succeeded in creating a solid structure. If you ask her what she loves the most is, she answers WRITING, without hesitation (I imagine it with capital letters, with the full weight and significance of the word). For Sneska, when “it” happens, when the process starts, it is impossible to stop. Often inspiration strikes when she is in the middle of a conversation about something seemingly insignificant, and the idea gradually develops into something deeper. She gives the aura of possessing an amazing ability to create new worlds in her imagination, which she then translates into stories. Everything fits into this inner world - for someone more chaotic this could be an obstacle, but she manages to turn it into something useful.
At the moment, she is studying Screenplay and Theatre Playwriting at the State University of Dramatic Arts in Macedonia. She takes her inf luences from different backgrounds; not just film and theatre, but also the communications technology she uses to be in contact with the people she meets all around the world. Nowadays it is easier than ever before, but I am guessing that she would do it even without Internet, because contact seems to be an inspiration for her. After she graduates, she would like to continue her studies in directing, and learn some notions of editing in order to be able to get more involved in the amazing process of making a film. Her next project is a script about a girl and her inner struggle between what she wants to be and what people expect of her. Perhaps it is inspired by her own experiences; Sneska never gives up and always fights for what she believes in. She writes about people and characters, their way of life, of being, of moving. A perfectionist, she is taking all the time she needs to rewrite until she is completely satisfied, before trying to make the script into a film - making a dream come true, on the screen. So, let’s wait just for a while, because time goes by very fast, and soon we will be able to get into Sneska’s world.