Interview with programmer and curator Carlota Castells Puig
by Wiebke Müller, M.A. Cultural and Media Studies
Wiebke: Most CineEast Festival team members watched a bunch of films but you were the only one who took a look at every single submission - 800 films! Incredible! How long did it normally take for you to decide whether it could be festival material or not?
Carlota: There wasn’t an exact time for each film. Most of the times it was quite easy to decide.
However, there were some films that really required watching them more than once to be able to decide whether they should be accepted. Several facts are under consideration during the process. First of all, does it follow all the guidelines? What is the purpose of the film? What is the story? Why I am being told this story? Is the film achieving its purpose? Is it visually coherent? Am I able to anticipate the story or is it original in both form and content?
Wiebke: Did you have any noteworthy experience while watching the submissions – did anything strike you?
Carlota: I was actually shocked by how many people that did not read the guidelines before submitting!
Wiebke: You're a filmmaker, too. Does that mean you were more focused on film aesthetic aspects or did you watch any films that caught your heart immediately because of the story?
Carlota: We were looking for films that didn’t follow a formula, but that were trying to tell a story in their own terms. We have to remember that short films are a field for people who is starting out or trying to experiment with the medium of filmmaking. So it was very important to emphasize ideas and concepts over technical perfection.
Wiebke: Do you see CineEast Festival primarily as an art festival or a political festival?
Carlota: Both. The festival was looking for artistic voices in Eastern Europe and Middle East to explore the ideas and things that are happening in these two regions. So politics were a very important part in a lot of the films that got selected. However, the festival was not focusing on objective portraits, but on personal and individual voices.
Wiebke: Do you think film is a proper medium to visualize themes like this?
Carlota: Films allow us to expand our life experience, to hear and understand other voices or feelings we could not get otherwise. Thus, film is a proper medium to visualize nearly every theme or subject that one wants to communicate.
Wiebke: Do you think having seen all those films will affect your way of making films yourself?
Carlota: I do! I did learn a lot from the diversity of the films and the way of thinking of its filmmakers. I don’t think it’s so related to the filmmaking itself, but it has made me grow as a person and that will ultimately affect and improve my way of making films.
Wiebke: I know the last one is the hardest one: Which film is your personal favourite in the festival's program?
Carlota: That’s a very hard question as there are a lot of quality films in this year’s program. So I don’t think I have a favourite. However, I was very moved by Remembering the Pentagons (Azadeh Navai). It’s a beautiful, experimental and reflexive film on memory and identity linked to architecture and culture.
Wiebke: THANK YOU and we're happy to have you at the festival for our Q&A!