Bericht von Andrei Tanase (CLAUDIU AND THE FISH)
First of all, I’d like to express my gratitude to Ag Kurzfilm for supporting my trip to Kiev and giving me the chance to visit Ukraine’s oldest and most prestigious film festival.
Second of all, besides being a filmmaker, I’m also a film festival organizer for the past 4 years, as head of the guest department at Anim’est, Bucharest’s biggest film festival (around 25 000 spectators during the last edition). Therefore, since I’ve experienced both sides of the barricade, so to speak, I’d like to write down some straight & to the point remarks regarding Molodist 2013.
- the locations in which the festival takes place are quite impressive. The main venue is an imposing soviet era palace with three floors, containing two main cinema theaters (aprox. 250 seats each) plus a few other smaller screening rooms. The huge lobby on the first floor is a perfect setting for hanging out and having a drink but also for press conferences and other more formal meetings. The second most important theater is just a few hundred meters away (which for a city like Kiev means a lot!) and has a small but very charming alternative club in the basement – most evening informal parties took place there.
- the guest department was highly professional and well organized: all the possible information regarding my stay in Kiev, airport transfers, q&a hours, etc. were previously sent to me via e-mail, while the communication with the very friendly staff during the festival was flawless. One interesting detail is that all the guests were accommodated in the same hotel and there was a guest crew person at the reception permanently, helping out with all sorts of info: since Kiev is a huge city, not too easy to get around in if you don’t speak the language, this made everybody’s stay more comfortable and pleasant.
- the quality of the short film screenings was the main problem of the festival, as far as I’m concerned. They had screenings both on DCP and HD file. While all the DCP projections (most of the features and a few shorts) were standard quality, the HD files looked a bit worse than a DVD screening, which is always extremely irritating and frustrating for a filmmaker to watch, after putting so much effort in post-production, in order to make the film look as ‘good’ as possible. The short & student sections programmer told me afterwards, very embarrassed, that the festival couldn’t afford a better projector for the non DCP files. To be honest, I had the impression that the festival is a rather underfinanced and the people working for it are really trying to make the best out of what they have, but can’t always succeed.
- the Q&A session was different than usual: the organizers decided it would take too long to have it after the screening and set up some sort of round table in the lobby, where all people representing the films screened during that day would have an open discussion with the audience and between themselves. The problem was that only the host had seen all the films that were analyzed, which made things a bit awkward for the rest of us. On the other hand, this kind of context encouraged the filmmakers to meet each other face to face and exchange ideas right away.
- the selection of short films in competition was a little odd for me, in the sense that I watched really powerful, high quality works put next to bizarre, amateurish ones. But that’s a matter of personal taste so I’m not considering it a problem. Regarding the feature films, there was a very rich selection including an interesting Scandinavian Panorama, an Ulrich Seidl retrospective (in presence of the author), a queer section, etc.
- the Kiev audience seemed to really enjoy the festival: the theaters were almost full for the afternoon and evening screenings and they weren’t empty in the morning, as in most film festivals I visited. Several people came to congratulate me after my screening and were asking me many questions regarding the film. I felt there was a genuine interest from the Ukrainians towards cinema in general and towards productions coming from parts of the world and cultures they’re not too familiar with.
In conclusion, I’d say Molodist Kiev is a solid festival, with an enthusiastic and hard working crew, which, unfortunately, doesn’t receive enough funding despite its prestige. I would recommend my fellow filmmakers to attend it, if they have the chance.