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Just Talking 16/11

The first ‘Just Talking’ event of this year’s Thessaloniki International Film Festival (TIFF) took place on Sunday, November 16th, at the Old Pump Station in Thessaloniki’s port.

Naoko Ogigami, director of the film ‘Megane / The glasses’ (Focus), Anna Boden, director of the film ‘Sugar’ (Independence days), Tomas Alfredson, director of the film ‘Let the right one in’ (Independence days) and the leading actor of the film ‘Terribly happy’ (Independence days) Jacob Cedergren were participating in the discussion.

‘I’m no good in promoting my films’, admitted Anna Boden when she was asked about how she managed to ‘sell’ her rather common story about a baseball player of Dominican Republic origin. ‘We were not interested in the super star version of the story about a baseball player overcoming obstacles and reaching the top. On the contrary, we wanted to tell the story of thousands of young athletes who however hard they train, they never become successful. It is a common story presented from an original point of view’.

‘In our days you have to be a good salesman apart from being a good director’, added Tomas Alfredson and went on by saying: ‘This is not something which happens automatically to everybody. Summing up your work in three catchy lines is not an easy task. The fact that my film is about a twelve year old boy who meets a vampire may sound catchy, but it could also refer to a story about a boy meeting a girl in a dull Swedish neighborhood 25 years ago. I cannot accept the idea of being a salesman.’

‘That is exactly what we have been discussing with Anna yesterday’, added Naoko Ogigami. ‘We recently visited the Sundance Festival and noticed that all that people were trying to do was sell themselves. This situation is causing me a lot of stress. Happily, thanks to the Japanese audience’s positive response to my previous film ‘Kamome Diner’, it hasn’t been difficult for me to find the financial aid for Megane.

‘I chose to play in the film because of its story’, quoted Jacob Sendergren. ‘Furthermore, I liked the director’s attempt to produce a film with its own personality, that was not “Danish”. Although I haven’t pitched a movie, I understand the business of selling yourself very well. As an actor, you are sometimes asked to give some silly interviews where you have to talk about which is your favorite food and what you enjoy doing in your free time, instead of talking about the film. I am not very keen about this and try to avoid it even when I am advised for the opposite. If you are truthful in what you do, things will work out’.

‘Categorizing films according to their content is not a part of the director’s work. This is a job reserved for the marketing people’, added Tomas Alfredson. ‘I hate it when producers and sponsors ask me in advance about my film’s genre. I like to complicate things for the viewer. Life is complicated and so should be art’.

‘I start by writing what I have in my mind and then I transfer it to the film’, noted Naoko Ogigami. ‘I also try to put a little laughter in my films. I never reach the 100% of my original idea and this is a reason for me to keep on filming. Each time, I try to do something different, something better’.

‘Every time I see the notes someone is taking on a film of mine, I want to quit and turn to something else like teaching, for example. However, there are still stories for me to tell and that is why I keep on making films’, added Anna Boden .


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About Thessaloniki

Mcmahon Vanessa

Vanessa McMahon Covered the 13th and 14th, and 16th edition.
Catherine Esway has covered the 12th edition of Thessaloniki Documentary Festival
Cécile Rittweger covered the  11th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival

Christine Marik's reported from 49th Thessaloniki International Film Festival
Past coverage from the 10th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival by Bruno Chatelin.

Through its tributes, it focuses both on discovering filmmakers with a unique cinematic point of view, and on the internationally recognized for their contribution to documentary.

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