Freaky Friday at the Visegrad Film Forum


The fourth day of the Visegrad Film Forum 2017 reminded us more of A Series of Unfortunate Events than anything else. The whole day was marked by technical problems, delayed screenings and language misunderstandings.

First on the agenda was Steve Matthews, an executive producer for HBO Europe. His English was excellent, of course, but he was talking as quickly as the Rapid Snail from The NeverEnding Story. But despite the fact that he was speaking very fast, his words were very inspiring to us all. He talked about the work of scriptwriters and the role of HBO Europe in the European TV market. Matthews claimed that, again, there is no one way to become successful in the field of scriptwriting. One just needs to practise as much as possible and choose topics that feel relevant in the present moment. Moreover, the guest underlined the difficulty which stems from the variety on the European TV market. For instance, the process of production in the United States is much more unified than in Europe, where diverse methods are applied. On the old continent the formats need to be adapted to cultural contexts of specific European countries, so that they can be fully appreciated by different groups of viewers. Matthews discussed the case of a Norwegian TV series, Mammon, which needed some changes in the adaptation process to make it suitable for the Polish viewer.



The second masterclass was led by Anja Salomonowitz, who directed documentaries such as You will never understand this and It happened just before. Unfortunately, she was a little late, but the organizers used that spare time to screen one of her films. When she finally came, she conducted a case study about You will never understand this. In spite of some communication problems, the chance of confronting this rather stirring and very intimate documentary with the director’s own views on her project resulted in a long and lively discussion. The movie itself concentrates on the memories of her family, who lived during the II World War. Both movies by Salomonowitz are definitely worth recommending and they bring a breath of fresh air into documentary cinema. 

The encounter between the young filmmakers from Belgrade and Eger was saved by somewhat unexpected speakers, that is - their mentors. The students themselves were not very talkative and the Q&A was held mostly by their teachers. The “battle” between schools this time was rather even; the movies from both countries were equally intriguing and represented similar level of technical craft. Although there is always some room for improvement, it is clear that they started off on their projects with an ambitious and professional view in mind, and the outcome seems very promising. Personally, we would like to see more productions of these up-and-coming artists in the future. 

 © Justyna Szaferska & Klaudia Stokowska & Magdalena Popłońska & Zuza Woźniak