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International directors share their insights

Day six of the ongoing 50th edition of IFFI saw directors Niels Arden Oplev and Riccardo Salvetti of the films ‘Daniel’ and ‘Rwanda’ respectively, and Erik Pollumaa, director of photography of the film ‘Scandinavian Silence’ share their insights.

The directors began the session by giving a brief about the films, followed by a Q&A session. Speaking about his film, Oplev said: “My movie is based on a true story about a young man captured by ISIS in Syria. The story compelled me to go to Syria and shoot a movie based on it.” The movie was screened under the Master Frames category that features films by master filmmakers of international repute.

Oplev also said that the US is traditionally a bad market for foreign films. His film ‘We Shall Overcome’ was distributed in India. “It is risky for distributors to buy foreign films. European filmmakers are trying to tap the Chinese market.” And when asked if awards are overrated he opined that awards help filmmakers showcase their films in foreign countries. Pollumaa added that he believes awards are good for recognising people. He added that the reason behind East European films having bleak colour scapes is their bleak themes and storylines. However, he said that they make comedies as well. 

Speaking about his film, the director of ‘Daniel’ said: “US filmmaking is driven by big studios while Europe adopts an independent form of filmmaking. Indian filmmaking is more like US filmmaking and it will catch up faster than Europe, with movies made in Los Angeles. European films are shot on a small scale and have medium budgets. Filmmakers (in Europe) have to depend on the European Union and governments for getting funds for the film.”

Salvetti of the Italian film ‘Rwanda’ which is competing for ICFT – UNESCO Gandhi Medal in the festival said: “The film is based on a true story and since it’s an African-centred movie, nobody was interested and we faced a lot of resistance in our country.”

However, due to low budgets, the film was shot near the director’s house in Italy, he said. “The location was so similar that many Rwandan people who got the news about the movie, thought that we were shooting somewhere in Rwanda.” He added that the most difficult part was to adapt the film from the screenplay. “I tried to keep a balance between theatre and movie in this film. It was stimulating. I tried to mix genres and languages. We are trying to put this movie on Netflix and are also arranging screenings based on online requests,” he said. Pollumaa said that ‘Scandinavian Silence’ is a psychological drama about the reunion of two characters. “For the film, getting correct images and angles was the most difficult part for him,” he said.

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