I just came back from Bordeaux and my colleagues kept asking me: “So, how was your holiday?” BUT I WAS NOT ON HOLIDAY ! I was representing Support your local Cinema, at the first International Festival of Independent Film of Bordeaux, or the neatly coined FIFIB!
Bordeaux Beautiful Bordeaux
Happy as Ulysses in his yearn to return, so was my state of mind while heading to the well-named FIFIB. An INTERNATIONAL festival, back home, in Bordeaux City. A dream come true. Films were screened in (my) two (favourite) cinemas of the city centre, both true institutions and major exhibition places of Independent Films: the UGC cinema, place Gambetta and the Utopia cinema, place Camille Jullian. (Both are real temples to me as I was already writing here in 2010, back in those days when I was not on Facebook yet)
Front of house cinéma UGC
Enthusiasm, audacity, macaroni and cheese*
This first edition was marked I think by a programming as audacious as it was eclectic. Screening during 5 days : 8 films in the official competition, a retrospective on French director Olivier Assayas and a special focus on Canadian experimental filmmaker, Jonathan Caouette. The festival also paid a large tribute to Bordeaux youth with dedicated programming for young audiences, educational workshops around filmmaking, a conference for industry members centered on the topic of audiovisual studies and last but not least the excellent shorts from the Kino Session, which has been acting as a real experimentation lab for growing film makers in Bordeaux since 2005. The Kino movement whose motto could apply to the spirit of the whole festival: “Do good with nothing, do better with few but do it now”.
Pretty and witty and gay!
With a certain arrogance (very Bordeaux-like, foreign tongues would say), the FIFIB topped its highest expectations. Despite their youth, its organisers have surrounded themselves with the most adept partners to secure the organisational success of the festival’s first appearance. Two projection rooms at a few minutes walking distance from each other, local sponsors mixing both luxury and youth : the Erasmus exchange programme, neighbouring vineyards offering the winners of the competition delectable prizes, young local artists such as Jérémie Larue Charlus, painter of the first prize golden Moon (Lune d’Or) or Selim Bentounes, director of the enigmatic festival trailer. Hats off to the P.R. work done around the event, rewarded by generous media coverage and an attendance qualified as “satisfying” by the organisers.
To me the FIFB shone before all with an uncompromising selection (give or take a noodle maybe): many premiere long features, a host of young filmmakers, with a refreshing feel, open expression and truly a celebration of Independent Film in its most diverse forms and nationalities, which the heads of programming can be proud of.
ANTIVIRAL wins the silver Moon, Prix des étudiants
LOUISE de Bruno Fontana (10 min) wins Prix du public Kino
THE ROAD TO KLAMPENBORG de Thomas Gendreau (9 min 17) wins Prix du court métrage Kino
A DeLuxe Jury, enlightened awards and brilliant prizewinners : in spite of its young age, the FIFIB already has airs of greatness. Carried away by the class and elegance of its president, French actress Nathalie Baye, a closing ceremony highlighted by the presence of mayor, Alain Juppé, and director Costa-Gavras (whose last film Le Capital was premiering), FiFiB even shows a hint of glamour.
It enjoys for that matter an ideal setting: a big though human-sized city, Bordeaux, the bourgeoise, is the biggest urban space classified as UNESCO world heritage. Its harbour (so called ‘of the moon’), its splendid ‘water mirror’ reflecting the city’s XVIIIth century sumptuous walls, and its refined gastronomy offer a picturesque stopover to the vagabond festival goer’s cinephile fantasies.
Hiccups (and the successes)
There is no first time without a few hiccups, and here they are: after the screenings there was not enough time to stay for the talks or Q&A sessions. After Gimme the Loot, which opened the festival I would have liked to have spent more time listening to co-producer Sam Soghor talk about the filming locations in New York. Same case for after El Estudiante, a political thriller featuring a quest for power of student unions in Buenos Aires University. There you had to choose between the witnessing the empassioned speaker invited, specialist of Latin-American cinema who had already introduced the movie or a proper lunch break.
But the biggest let-down was my own doing! Although I only managed missing one movie out of eight - this was, of course, the prizewinner ! The weather was to blame, no one could hardly blame me for not going to the movies when it’s 27 degrees outside, knowing I come from Berlin. Rengaine, forgive me, I have seen your trailer and it’s surely a matter of time!
The successes, then: everything else, the weather included. It was hot, sunny and even a bit wet, 2012 will certainly be an excellent harvest. Can’t wait for next year to come.
The Lune d'Or, ultimate award of the festival was a wonderful painting by French artist Jérémie Larue Charlus