Doc filmmakers band together to promote their genre

By Patricia Koza

    Documentary filmmakers, whose works often take a back seat to the greater attention paid to feature films, are banding together in several initiatives to better promote their genre. At the recent Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, directors of 10 East European film centers met to work out a joint strategy to promote and distribute documentary films to international festivals and markets.

    Figures show that national film funds spend a small percentage of their budgets on promoting documentary films. The Baltic countries, for example, dedicate about 20% of their budgets to docs - and that is just about the highest percentage in the region.

    Among the group's decisions was to create a joint promotion at the Amsterdam International Documentary Filmfestival, the largest doc festival in the world, said Hana Rezkova of the Prague-based Institute for Documentary Film.

    Initially the project will include the Polish Film Institute and Krakow Film Foundation, the Estonia Film Foundation and IDF, she said in an interview with FNE. Later film foundations from Bulgaria, Romania and Latvia would join after funding is secured.

    The group also will initiate some joint promotion efforts at The Sunny Side of the Doc Festival in La Rochelle, France in June, possibly with a stand representing East European countries that cannot afford the fees to set up their own. The film center representatives will also cooperate more closely on such initiatives as jointly submitting a package of 30 documentaries to the 15 most important documentary film festivals including Berlin, Linz, Marseille, Leipzig, Sheffield and Amsterdam.