Silverdocs Documentary Festival 2009

Bericht von Supriyo Sen (WAGAH)

It was my first visit to the United States, the country that has contributed enormously to the independent documentary movement in the world. It was kind of a pilgrimage for me for which I am really thankful to German Films for giving me the opportunity by supporting my trip.

My prime task was to represent my film WAGAH (which was selected in the short documentary competition category) at the festival and take part in the Q&A. The screenings and Q&A turned out to be very successful. The film was received quite well by the audience. We had two almost houseful shows, one of which took place in the biggest auditoriums, AFISilver Theatre 1. Animated discussion after the screenings added more value to the film. Especially the outcome of the Indo-Pakistan-German collaboration was highly appreciates by
American audience. Many people personally greeted me for the film. Even the fellow filmmakers were also expressed their fondness about WAGAH. Also the programming manager of HOT DOCS, Karina Rottenstein (who was one of the members of jury at Silverdocs) congratulated me for the film and informed WAGAH has received tremendous appreciation at Hotdocs too.

It was great experience to see films like OCTOBER COUNTRY, ENJOY POVERTY, COOKING HISTORY, RISE UP, ANOTHER PLANET and LEFT BEHIND and meet respective directorspersonally and know their visions behind these films.

Also meeting the young directors from all over the world and sharing experience and views about documentary filmmaking was really enriching. The parties held every evening not only provided free booze but also offered a space for free exchange!

The industry meetings were also very helpful. I could meet representatives of PBS, Al Jajeera and other television channels and discuss about co-production possibilities for my upcoming project NEXT BIG THING that has already received development grant from Medien Board, Berlin Brandenburg GMBH, which will be produced by Detail Film Production, Hamburg.

One of the highlights of the festival was to meet Hamburg based director Fabian Daub (LEFT BEHIND) and developed a great friendship with him. We not only shared the same room but also shared our worries, anxieties, aspiration and dreams regarding filmmaking.

It was also a great surprise to meet debutant Indian filmmaker Faiza Khan and watch her hilarious and humane film “Supermen of Malegaon”. Discovering new Indian talent in American festival is quite a co-incidence. This also proved how these festivals are playing a pivotal role to unite new global generations of filmmakers who has only religion – “Cinema”.

Seminars and master classes were able to give me exposure to the international trends and opportunities regarding documentary filmmaking. Altogether it was a fulfilling experience to spend a week in Silverdocs, which is one of the most upcoming and important documentary film festivals in the world.

Thanks a lot to German Films for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this memorable experience.