VILNIUS: Giedrė Burokaitė from Meno Avilys has been selected to participate in the 2020 Emerging Producers programme for documentary film producers, which kicks off at the 23rd edition of the Ji.hlava IDFF, taking place 24-29 October 2019. FNE spoke with Giedrė Burokaitė about the issues facing documentary film producers.
Giedrė Burokaitė holds a BA degree in Cultural History and Anthropology and an MA degree in Arts management. In 2015 she founded the film production platform at the NGO "Meno avilys”, which specialises in the area of film education and preservation. Giedrė has produced a number of short films and a feature length documentary Animus Animalis (a story about People, Animals, and Things) / Animus Animalis (istorija apie žmones, žvėris ir daiktus).
FNE: Why did you become a documentary film producer?
Giedrė Burokaitė: I found myself attracted to producing quite by accident - I always felt that I wanted to work in the cinema and was looking for my place there. I realised that there are many interesting stories waiting to be told and that I want to help those stories come about. This motivated me to start working on documentaries and continues to motivate me to this day.
FNE: What is the biggest practical issue that you have to deal with in your own country as a documentary film producer?
Giedrė Burokaitė: There are several layers to answering this question. First, in a small country like Lithuania there is a great distrust towards documentary filmmakers; there is a misunderstanding of what documentary cinema is and why we make it. Until now, we have been called journalists who want to wrench out or create their own truths, or sometimes we are indirectly forced to turn the story in the direction that the characters want. But these are everyday worries we face when we go out to shoot. Not only do we have to create, but we also have to change their prejudice about documentary filmmaking.
Second – applicable also to other genres – is low funding. It is both a limitation and a challenge that creates space for creative solutions.
Another challenge is the promotion of documentaries. In Lithuania, the audience of documentary cinema is quite small, so commercially such cinema is unsuccessful and it is hard to attract the private sector to invest as well.
FNE: What are the crucial topics that you explore as a documentary film producer?
Giedrė Burokaitė: My first documentary, Animus Animalis, perfectly describes my direction as a documentary producer – a conversation about one‘s relationship with the environment and in turn with oneself. I am not about forcing, putting a finger on something, but instead inviting the viewer to find their own position and approach to a given topic.
FNE: Do you have a project that you are bringing to Emerging Producers in search of coproducers and partners?
Giedrė Burokaitė: There are several documentary ideas I‘m working out at the moment. I would love to share them with potential partners. So far, everything is at the idea stage.
FNE: What is the most important thing a potential partner/coproducer should know about you?
Giedrė Burokaitė: I like to work with projects with creative ambitions, intriguing topics tackled with an artistic approach. I especially enjoy working with directors who question the world they see around them, have their own unique point of view and are not afraid to experiment with storytelling forms and styles. Lately, I have been discovering myself in animation and VR as well.