16th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival –
Images of the 21stCentury
March 14-23, 2014
WHEN I WILL BE DICTATOR / CAPULCU: VOICES FROM GEZI /JOURNEY TO THE SAFEST PLACE ON EARTH
A Press Conference was held on Tuesday, March 18, 2014, as part of the 16th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. Present were directors Yael Andre (When I Will Be Dictator), Edgar Hagen (Journey To The Safest Place On Earth) and Carlo Prevosti (Capulcu: Voices From Gezi)
Director Edgar Hagen spoke first, whose documentary Journey To The Safest Place On Earth deals with the complex issue of finding a repository for nuclear waste. The director commented: "This is about all of us who use electricity, which in many countries comes from nuclear plants, and we do not think that their waste will stay active for hundreds of thousands of years . When I started working on this issue, I realized how huge it is. I was looking for a person who could give not only the Swiss approach to the issue, but a more global one, and I found him by accident. So I met with Charles McCombie, a man who worked twenty years in the nuclear industry in Switzerland, and who is seeking a solution to the problem and has contacts with many countries in the world. He is Scottish, and grew up knowing the British nuclear industry and has a completely different value system than mine, as it is in favor of nuclear energy. I wanted to have this contrast. Thanks to him we managed to film in those locations. Otherwise we would not have been able to, as they are secret locations." Mr. Hagen did not fail to comment on the analogy of equating the negotiation of nuclear waste with Faust’s agreement, which can be heard in the film: "It is interesting that a Native American made this analogy. For me the film not only talks about nuclear waste, but also about people and how they use their resources in various fields. Nuclear waste is highly radioactive, it remains active for an incredibly long time. And perhaps Charles McCombie says ''no problem, I will show you the solution'', but the Native American character comes to say that man is very small in front of this vast expanse of time. "About the main character, Mr. Hagen explained: "Charles McCombie’s motive to find a solution for the waste, is to ensure the future of nuclear power. He travels around the world, working for companies in South America, Japan, Korea and the Arab states and devises solutions for them. I have a skeptical attitude, but I make the film and travel with him to ask questions. Obviously I am against nuclear power, but this is not important. I did not want to shoot a film against nuclear power, but to ask the right questions."
Then Carlo Prevosti spoke, one of the five directors of the documentary, Capulcu: Voices From Gezi which records different testimonies on the Gezi movement. The director spoke about what prompted him and his co - directors - Benedetta Argentieri, Claudio Casazza, Duccio Servi, and Stefano Zoja – to create the movie : "We wanted to understand what had happened a few weeks before the movement at Gezi. Thus, five directors and a reporter began working with small low-quality cameras. They were chosen for two main reasons: First of all for the low cost, because we wanted the production to start immediately, and secondly because we preferred to focus on the testimonies of the people rather than on images. We wanted to know why they protested. Gezi park is obviously a symbol, a place where so many people came together to fight for human rights. And the people are different from each other: from leftists from western Turkey to everything imaginable. Turkey is a bridge between the West and Islamic culture and it is very difficult for people to understand where the government wants to go. Some months before the protests, it seemed that the state wanted to open a path to Europe for economic reasons, but then they started banning drinking in the street and spread the idea that a woman's place is to stay at home and raise their children". Referring to the role played by the internet in spreading the movement in Gezi, Mr. Prevosti observed: "In Turkey there is a big problem with the media and it was impossible for us who live in Italy to understand what really happens, except for some sources and bloggers on the internet. At the same time, the internet was a very important channel of communication, which allowed us to finish the film, both in understanding what was going on before the events happened and in drawing material. Editing was harder than filming. Also, I should mention that we showed the film to Amnesty International and they loved it." Asked what is the difference between the movement of Gezi and other similar movements, the director explained: "Protesters in Gezi say that they differ from the rest of the Arab Spring and African movements. The Islamic tradition is much stronger in North Africa than in Turkey. Turkey is much closer to Europe, and contrasts between the two are not so pronounced. In Cairo's Tahrir Square the fight was much tougher, with many injured and dead. Personally, I am not familiar with Tahrir Square, while in Gezi park I felt somehow as if I were in the Duomo square in Milan." As for the lessons learned from the movement, the author commented: "It's important. There are many elements in common with Italy, such as the cruel exercise of power and the efforts of the government to control the media in every election. In Italy there were violent demonstrations, but there are important channels through which people communicate with each other online, such as twitter and facebook. And in Turkey Twitter and Facebook were useful tools of protest, like a wireless radio connecting the protesters. "
Immediately after, director Yael Andre spoke about her unusual film titled When I Will Be Dictator, which she describes as "science fiction documentary". The creator said: "It's very difficult to talk about this project, it is like ten movies in one. I'll try to talk about one of them, then. I started filming myself with a super 8 camera ten years ago. Super 8 film gives a particular cinematic character, between an amateur and a more professional approach. Also, I began to collect similar material from flea markets and family moments. I started writing a love story while reading fiction and astrophysics." Referring to the link between text and images in the film, Ms Andre explained: "In the film there are chapters, each of which is a hypothetical life: the perfect mother, explorer, astronaut etc. Thus, each of these correspond to the appropriate images: Pictures of mothers joined together with those of kids trying to walk, linking images of the explorer with colonial images etc. This is my story and simultaneously the story telling of the images themselves. "Talking about the film's title, the director stated: "This is the title of a chapter in the documentary. I had to find a structure and develop the story. Also, I wanted the title to be funny and not grandiose."