Tue Dec 11,2012
Nashen, you’ve picked films for Dubai since 2005, headed the Durban film festival and are now the director of the Sydney film festival. What’s the one thing audiences in all these places want from a film festival?
NM: I think audiences want a balanced and diverse programme. What I try to do is ensure that there is something for everyone in the programme, so that every member of the audience has some entry point from which to explore and broaden their viewing.
As director of the AsiaAfrica programme, you’ve got to select films from countries with rather young traditions of film-making and story-telling; what’s the best part about it and what are the challenges?
NM: It’s really exciting to be dealing with film-makers from regions little known as cinematic creators. And there’s certainly a great joy to share these wonderful films with audiences. The challenge is for the film-makers as in many cases it is so difficult for them to make their films; our pleasure is in celebrating their achievements and facilitating an interaction with an audience.
Last year, the young actress from MOTHER’S SOUL won the Best Actress award at DIFF and the film’s rep mentioned how the prize money (USD8,000) would go a long way towards her education. How important is it that these films are not only made and screened but also rewarded for their efforts?
We’ve had so many of these stories in which the prize money has made such a big difference to the film-makers’ lives. When the commercial opportunities for the kinds of films we show are becoming narrower and narrower, the awards and prize money become very important and, in many cases, can play an important role in getting that film-maker’s next film made.
NASHEN’S AUDIENCE TIP
I encourage Dubai audiences to be risky in their choices, to watch as much as possible and to enjoy the truly wonderful experience of sharing a film in a roomful of people.