LISBON DOCS, 2014

2014-10-17 12.13.18

Altogether the creators and I spent our time analyzing their trailers, how they worked and how they fit into the pitch. As always, the reflex for most people is to build trailers that either tell as much of the story as possible, or resemble a high tempo theatrical piece. The strategy here has been to say “whoah Nellie!”, and reign in a bit of that brand of enthusiasm.

“What are you using your trailer to prove?” is my go-to question. And I love this process. Seeing how far creators take their projects, and helping them to get there is amazing.

Portuguese productions like Tiago Cravidao and Henrique Loff’s Expedition 81 and Pedro Magano’s Mourning at Sea tackle the tradition of cod fishing, from totally different angles. Expedition is an endurance test, putting the filmmakers on a ship with 30 fishermen on a 5 month trip to the North Atlantic. Strange things happen when folks are deprived of civilization, and while a solid narrative thread is still lacking, we’ll at least be treated to a kind of Iron John on the sea type story. It’s aesthetically strong, and a film I look forward to seeing finished.

A little closer to my heart isAlbina Grinkle’s Paradise Gowns, a Lithuanian documentary that takes a B+W, pseudo-experimental style, and presents a gorgeous, meditative picture of the Finnish archipelago. I love it when a narrative is unapologetically personal, and Gowns takes its time, creating connections using texture and mood. It’s the kind of project I’d love to cut (though a salary might be a long shot…)

The revolutionary tone of the times is represented. Gill Golan’s film Veganarchy (have fun pronouncing it), is an Israeli production exploring the explosion of Vegan-militant-activists in Israel, and their radical anti-meat protest tactics. Pinned against the harsher attitude towards 2,000,000 Palestinians denied their rights in the region, the built in moral dilemma is an interesting one, even as Gill moves along to find his narrative thread.

The final pitches are today and tomorrow. Today’s batched did a great job and are deep in one-on-ones this afternoon. So now, while the second batch preps their pitches for tomorrow… Lisbon here I come!

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