This year DocsBarcelona received 180 project applications from 35 countries for its pitching forum. The final 24 selected projects will be presented to commissioning editors at the forum on January 29 and 30. Festival director Joan Gonzàlez spoke with realscreen about the projects that made the cut and what it’s like working on a doc festival during tighter economic times.
The final pitch projects were announced this week. What can you
tell me about the projects that made the cut?
The final projects selected are from France, Finland, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and there are other works that come from outside Europe like Canada, Israel or Turkey. The 24 selected projects deal with very different subjects: politics, ecology, history, social affairs. Likewise there are others which are more personal to the author.
What advice do you have for producers who are pitching at DocsBarcelona?
One must consciously prepare seven minutes of pitching. Participants can prepare themselves and their presentations in workshops that are organized before the pitching or they can do it by themselves, making different simulations. Every pitch needs staging, and for this reason, besides the content, it is very important to dominate the way of presenting the project. I believe that confidence is the most important thing. It is necessary to generate confidence in the people who listen to us. In the last three or four years the weight of confidence has significantly fallen onto the portfolio of images that are presented. The portfolio has exceeded the speech. Speech generates an imaginary universe, but images are the first reflection of what will become the documentary. It is necessary to put more dedication and effort into this concept. Without an excellent portfolio, pitching is much more difficult.
What advice do you have for producers who would like to get their project into a future DocsBarcelona Pitching Forum?
The most important thing that someone who presents a project must bear in mind is that it must be a strong project, from the subject, to the director, to the producer. Also it is very important to write the synopsis and treatment in a seducing way. It also needs to have a good title and to be informative or create mystery. I think people who are just starting out must be accompanied by more experienced people. Behind the word ‘project’ there are a series of elements that must be strong, coherent and stimulating.
What’s the biggest challenge putting together a film festival during hard economic times?
This year we have kept up with the same content and quality level at DocsBarcelona as previously. For example we have invited again all the directors of the documentaries programmed in the festival. At the same time, it is very important for us to bring the festival to the people and for this reason we have reduced the ticket price. Crisis can cause paralyzing effects, or on the contrary it can stimulate creativity at the moment of producing and organizing a great event and make it easier to access the whole world that wants to see documentaries. Crisis exists, we can’t hide it, but we don’t have to turn it into the center of our sorrows either. The objective is to satisfy the expectations of the spectator willing to see good documentaries with the presence of the directors.