Interview with the ECFA Jury: “A poor relationship with shoes in general”
The ECFA Jury came with a surprising conclusion to their festival work: It’s a family thing! The three of them had to come to Zlin to find out about this family bond. That is why we sit around the table with two sisters and one brother: Samina Gul (doxs! / Oberhausen Short Film Days - Germany), Marion Heimlund (Kristiansand Festival - Norway) and Nils Andersson (Smorgasbord Picture House - Sweden).
Let’s find out how good you got to know each other this week. Which one of you has been drinking the most?
Nils Andersson: Can you define ‘most’? Liquid in general? If you include coffee and water, it could be a tight race between the three of us.
Who has been talking the most?
Marion Heimlund: Again this will be a tight competition. All of us have been rather talkative.
Nils: We might have an equal score in ‘word count’ but if you need a name, I would say it was Marion. In a nice way; she always had interesting things to say.
Which one of you fell asleep most during screenings?
Samina Gul: No one.
Nils: We play hard, and then we work hard.
That’s what I call great ECFA ambassadors! We are proud of them. If you could steal one thing from this festival and take it home with you, what would that be?
Marion: I would take Barbora, our jury secretary.
Samina: The industry community and all the guests attending the festival.
Any other impressions you want to share about the city of Zlin?
Nils: As a first-time-Zlinner, it has been an amazing experience. Hopefully we’ll be invited again.
Samina: I found it very special how the entire city is celebrating.
Although maybe not as much as you did! Talking about Zlin, the next question is obvious: who has an opinion about shoes?
Marion: Nils is the best at pronouncing the name.
Nils: You mean… Bata! Tomas Bata, godfather of Zlin. I’m not so much into shoes. This pair of Vans sneakers I’ve been wearing for about 7 years; size 46 - I’m finally a grown-up man, at least in terms of shoes. I have a poor relationship with shoes in general.
Samina: Working in the cinema, I prefer my shoes comfortable.
Marion: I like joggers, flat shoes. If I need to dress up and wear high heels, I always have a spare pair of flat shoes with me, in case I might get tired.
After 15 years in this festival, we finally found that one guy who doesn’t have a story about shoes! What was your favourite animal in this week’s film selection?
Samina: We saw a lot of cats and dogs in the seven documentaries we had to watch; we even discussed them.
Nils: One of the protagonists in ONE IN A MILLION hugged a cat when she felt sad. That struck me, as I have two cats at home that I’m starting to miss now. I liked that cat.
Zlin for many years had the tradition of putting one country in focus. Which country would you recommend?
Marion: I’d like to see more Spanish movies.
Nils: I go for Mexico; they might have some hidden gems there. I like the Latin-American approach towards children & youth films and there might be some nice films that have not yet reached out to the European audiences.
This question I only ask to juries that are so well-organised, structured and eloquent as yours: Can you introduce one of your fellow-jury-members in one sentence?
Samina: Yesterday we were talking about the first impression we made on each other. I told Marion that I appreciated her being so open-minded. She speaks so easily with everybody.
Nils: Me and Marion were joking that we are like siblings, but for some reason, I am the older brother. And when earlier this week I was teasing Samina, she said: “You’re like a big brother now… annoying!” So I’m like the good brother to Marion and the annoying one to Samina.
What is the last film you’ve seen that made you laugh or cry out loud?
Samina: In every of the seven films we saw here, at some point I had tears in my eyes.
Marion: These documentaries go under your skin and there’s not so much to laugh about.
Nils: Exactly. The one in which I almost heard myself sobbing was the Ukrainian film WE WILL NOT FADE AWAY. That was a tough one to handle.
Imagine yourself as a festival programmer with a 100% carte blanche and no budgetary limitations. What would your festival look like?
Samina: I would invite many guests, industry people, festival workers, and filmmakers and give a lot of space to Q&A’s and discussions. There would be panel workshops for everybody to attend.
Marion: It’s super important to find the right films for the young audience so that they have a good time and might want to come back next year, when we will not have the same budget. I want all the kids to have this experience of talking with directors, understanding the how’s and why’s of their filmmaking.
Nils: It doesn’t matter whether you’re in Cannes, Zlin or Oberhausen. When bringing people together, they’ll have a good experience. That’s why I would invite a lot of nice and talented people… and have good parties.
Could you imagine yourself having a parallel career? What would you be?
Nils: I used to drive a forklift in a warehouse; I sometimes miss that 9-5 schedule; at the end of every day, you didn’t have to worry about anything. It doesn’t sound like the ultimate dream job, but I still have that forklift licence and I can easily imagine myself getting back to that job.
Marion: As a student I worked on cruise boats in summer, full of tourists. You work a lot, but you have a lot of spare time and you can travel on your own and meet interesting people.
Samina: I would probably go back to my earlier job as a speech and language therapist.
A surprising amount of job nostalgia! Were there moments when you realised that the audience was smarter than you had expected?
Samina: Recently we screened the rather mature German WALCHENSEE FOREVER for a group of 14-year-olds and afterwards had a discussion about family issues. There were many topics to address: everybody has a family, and every family has its problems.
Marion: I’ve always considered our audiences as ‘intelligent’; you never know what to expect from them.
As an actor or actress, which role in film history would you have liked to play?
Nils: Either Paul Newman or Robert Redford in THE STING. It’s one of the coolest films I’ve ever seen, and both actors are like the coolest guys that ever lived.
Samina: Esra in MAGMA - I don’t know why but I connected to her.
Marion: Someone has suggestions for me?
Me: I think there is a bit of Meryl Streep in you. I just heard you laughing like an evil witch, so if we can find a film in which Meryl Streep played that role - I am sure she did several of them - that could be your ultimate role.
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Thanks to the festival juries!