All the possibilities in the world!
The 14th IndieLisboa by Allianz continues to face serious and important challenges. By overcoming them it manages to solidify its structure and to stress its vocation. Since January 2016, IndieLisboa saw its members’ families grow as several children were born. We were thus naturally compelled to reconsider work methods, available time and the ability to meet the needs of both work and family.
In 2017, IndieLisboa decided to pay homage to two great filmmakers working rather differently as it is often the case with the festival’s pairs of heroes. 86-year-old Paul Vecchiali is French; he’s been shooting films for over five decades and his extensive body of work amounts to over fifty films. In partnership with Cinemateca Portuguesa – Museu do Cinema, which
we’d like to thank publicly, we managed to put together this retrospective comprising seventeen films, which aims at portraying the vastness and range of Vecchiali’s work. He also collaborated with Cahiers du Cinéma, played a critical role as the producer of Jean Eustache’s first films, and was decisive in the establishing of filmmakers such as Jean-Claude Guiguet, Jean-Claude Biette and Serge Bozon, who claims Vecchiali’s production company Diagonale to be the last great film school after the Nouvelle Vague. Here lies the starting point to discover the work of this director in the first ever retrospective of his work in Portugal, and with him present.
Several films by American director and multidisciplinary artist Jem Cohen, both short and long, have already been screened in Portugal in festivals such as IndieLisboa and Curtas Vila do Conde. His work is part of several collections, namely the ones at MOMA and the Whitney Museum of American Art. What was yet to be done was to look at the magnitude of his work, find a pivotal theme and show it in all its splendour. We will screen fourteen films, the oldest of which from 1996, and the most recent one already from 2017 – a world premiere. The director will be in Portugal following his retrospective, and there will be a meeting in which he will discuss his vast work.
Every year, within the Silvestre programme, IndieLisboa focuses on a filmmaker, such as Rivers, Périot and Soldat, among others. In 2017, the directors in question work as a duo: Gusztáv Hámos and Katja Pratschke. He is Hungarian and studied film in Germany at the dffb, the famous school in Berlin, in the late 1970s. Hámos was a pioneer and misunderstood in his time. Having an interest in video (at a time when recording using video meant being treated with disdain) and in mirror images (an installation within a film), we now look at his work with tremendous respect. She is German. They met in Berlin while presenting work. They never left each other, and their presumed common interest in the work of Chris Marker and the fascinating La jetée made Hámos turn around and start working with film (when everyone was fleeing towards video). The influence of photography in their work may be seen in the way the duo organises their films, and the embodying of pre-cinema in a film work places them where few may long to be. A unique body of work far less known than it should be.
Over the last few years, IndieLisboa has been reeling in the music territory, be it through the IndieMusic section or through IndiebyNight, both growing stronger each year and gradually winning music audiences to film. Such an indelible connection between musicians and filmmakers has built plenty of bridges and created true masterpieces. In 2015, musician Jóhann Jóhannsson won the festival with the short film End of Summer. In 2017, Stuart Staples, Tindersticks mythic lead singer, will pre- sent his first film, which refers to the work of an obscure English filmmaker from the beginning of the 20th century: Minute Bodies: The Intimate World of F. Percy Smith. Disputed between several sections, it was decided the film would be presented within the Director’s Cut section, and screened at the Cinemateca Portuguesa – Museu do Cinema, where we continue to jointly carry on a deep reflection on lm, its authors and its context.
Portuguese cinema has been through some troubled times with all the doubts regarding the choosing of jurors either by SECA, or by ICA. The independence and freedom of Portuguese cinema includes having the institution that oversees cinema on behalf of the Ministry of Culture select impartial jurors. It is our belief that only an agency such as ICA should have the ability to make such choices, and should do it in a transparent and competent fashion. It is the only way to continue producing good films in Portugal. And to continue the successful career we’ve been having with the major international festivals – along with an increase in international sales – taking into account the limited number of films produced in Portugal. That is why IndieLisboa would like to signal that in its opening session it will screen Colo, by Teresa Villaverde, a portrait of contemporary Portugal made with distance, memory and a step backwards from the contingencies of everyday life. A peaceful film yet concerned with our situation, and the beacon for a Portuguese competition comprised of six feature films and eighteen short films – the largest contingent ever at IndieLisboa. In total, there will be roughly forty Portuguese films, most of which world or Portuguese premieres, scattered throughout the festival’s numerous sections. In addition, in the scope of the Lisbon Screenings, organised by Portugal Film – Portuguese Film Agency, a set of films (for the most part unfinished versions) will be screened in a venue dedicated to festival programmers, distributors and sales agents.
This year we also present three special programmes from different latitudes. At a time when Macao is starting to intensify its film production, we take a look at what’s going on in the region with the collaboration of the Macao Government Tourist Office. This is also a way of challenging the audience to getting to know another country’s films. On the other hand, over the last few years, IndieLisboa has been screening several animation films developed at the Lucerne School of Art and Design (HSLU). Based on this connection and history, we decided to challenge HSLU to show a retrospective of animation films produced by their students and teachers, focusing on stop motion technique, one of the school’s trademarks, and having the extraordinary film Signalis, by Adrian Flückiger, as the starting point.
There’s still room to reflct upon the present, at a time when nationalist and populist movements are gaining strength all over the world. We would remind that political and economic oppression has never been or will never be an option, and that the way Portuguese colonialism is seen is as much soft as it is misleading. There are four films addressing these issues, presented in the Alt-cinema programme.
We saved for last the fulfilment of a wish coming true in 2017. During IndieLisboa we will have nine outdoor sessions in the terrace of Cineteatro Capitólio/Teatro Raul Solnado, which completed its construction works at the end of last year. The programme’s motto shall be the films from the IndieMusic section. While watching the films, one can have MUSA beer, since this new festival sponsor allowed for the satisfaction of having this event.
We end by wishing everyone a good festival, believing that all the possibilities in the world fit in our hand – all it takes is to gather some good ideas, and to have an amazing team working. To the venues, filling rooms, watching good films, meeting friends, having a drink, attending concerts, and going to memorable parties. That IS ALL.
(directors of IndieLisboa)