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Thursday was a day of more rain at Sheffield but luckily one could take refuge from the rain inside the Showroom and Crucible theatre for some good docs and sessions. First up was a session about documentary filmmaking in the Balkans; Working with the Balkans with Oliver Sertic, Viv Groskop, Mila Turajilic, Gentian Koci, Alexander Nanau and Claire A Aguilar. The Balkans, primarily Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia seem to have a thriving film industry but are facing challenges when it comes to funding. Filmmaking in countries like Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina is still in development.
Other challenges involve big foreign productions such as the filming of second season of Game of Thrones in Croatia is very attractive to local filmmakers and production staff, making it more difficult to get professional team onboard for a local production. Iceland has had similar challenges, but all in all, big foreign productions result in great experience for local filmmakers & production staff, so in the long run this might actually work to everyone’s advantage.
Mila Turajilic is a Serbian documentary filmmaker who’s documentary Cinema Komunisto has making her name known world-wide. The film is about the golden years of the Yugoslav film industry, from the 1950s until the 1980´s. In an interview with The New York Times, Turajlic says that the best days of the film industry in the Balkans might still lie ahead; “I think there is a fresh energy in the Balkans in terms of filmmaking. […] So this is an exciting time.” The film has screened at several film festivals, such as IDFA 2011, HotDocs 2012, Tribeca Film Festival 2012, and winning awards at Trieste Film Festival 2011, Views of the World in Cyprus 2011, Underhillfest, Podgorica 2011 to name a few.
Next up was BAFTA: The Making of BBC´s Frozen Planet. As a great fan of the series, this session could not be missed. Elizabeth White, Dan Rees and Doug Allan spoke about the series and shared all sorts of interesting behind-the-scenes info, such as storyboards. The cinematographers used tripods when filming under the ice to get more stable and cinematic feel. They both placed the tripod on the sea bed as well as putting it upside down under the ice. Motion control and time-laps were used to show f.ex. seasonal changes. In one of the most memorable scenes when seaicicle or brinicle like they are called are formed the team came across it by coincidence. One of the cinematographers noticed what was about to happen, and the crew surfaced to prepare the filming of the forming of the brinicle. They dived again and filmed the forming of the brinicle for 5 hours with time lapses. The results are the most amazing 120 seconds or so of a nature phenomenon. Enjoy it later in this post.
In the afternoon, short documentaries were screening in the Odeon cinema. The Globe Collector (dir. Summer DeRoche, 2012) and the Saloon (dir. Tom Pietrasik, 2011) stood out, both docs were great quality, quirky and entertaining. Watch trailer of the Globe Collector later in this post.
On Saturday, the fourth and the final day of Sheffield, the high-light of the day was the screening of Chasing Ice. The documentary has won it´s director, Jeff Orlowski and crew great recognition, winning awards and screening at numerous film festivals around the world. Docs & Film Festival´s previous posts on the documentary can be found here. The greatest strength of the documentary is the cinematography as well as the brilliant idea of photographer James Balog and his crew to document the melting of ice in Alaska, Greenland and Iceland. By using time-lapse with several cameras placed in these three places, Balog has been able to proof how much the ice is melting and breaking of from glaciers. However, for those who already know about global warming and its effects, Chasing Ice does not add much information to what you might already know about the issue. The film is made for the masses and Chasing Ice will hopefully have a screening in as many countries and cities around the world as possible because unfortunately there are still many people who think all this talk about global warming is a scam. Well it’s not and this is the proof some need to see in order to be convinced. On the film’s website one can find further information about coming screenings of the film in cinemas and film festivals.
Docs & Film Festivals is jet-setting these days, currently writing from the beautiful city of Barcelona, Spain. But life is not all sunshine and holiday, more like work 24/7 at CineEurope convention these days, hence the late post on the final days of Sheffield Doc/Fest. Hope you bear with me, there is some interesting stuff going on here that I will write about soon.