There’s probably not a minute that goes by when, somewhere in the world, a film festival isn’t in full swing. And it’s boring old time and geography which stand in the way of us perpetually watching new movies for every waking minute of our lives. ArteKino is a festival which does away with such physical impediments, offering up ten features from around Europe and free digital admission to anyone with the inclination to discover exciting new cinema.
It’s powered by streaming platform FestivalScope, it runs from 1 to 31 December 2018, and there’s even a prize for the best film, awarded not by a jury of random celebrities, but you, the viewer. There are a diverse array of titles this year, culled from destinations such as Germany (Anna Zohra Berrached’s 24 Weeks), Poland (Malgorzata Szumowska’s Mug), Greece (Babis Makritis’ Pity) France (Jacky Goldberg’s Flesh Memory), and all across the continent. To get a little more insight the festival’s mission, we spoke to Arte’s artistic director, Olivier Père.
LWLies: What role do you play in bringing this festival together?
Père: I’m doing the same job, more or less, as when I was artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival. So I’m in charge of the film selection. I created the festival three years ago with my partner, with the very specific goal of promoting more European cinema.
In the UK, we don’t really have something that is the equivalent to Arte. Can you describe its remit?
Arte is a cultural TV channel. It was created more than 20 years ago as something very new as it was a French-German TV channel. It was political – a way to reunite France and Germany with an ambitious TV project. We provide almost identical programmes as Germany. We produce a lot of documentaries and a lot of feature films. We also give permission to other to participate in the grand tradition of feature film making. We have a dedicated cinema. I also co-produce with others in the realm of French and European film. We produce around 25 feature films each year.
How does the selection process work for ArteKino?
It is a committee selection, but I’m in charge of the pre-selection. The process is different from a publishing company or a festival event, but it’s true that we have the opportunity to choose from a large amount of proposals coming from many important filmmakers. We also pay a lot of attention to newcomers and emerging filmmakers, so it’s a great way to promote and to support arthouse cinema.
With ArteKino do you intend to challenge the idea of the traditional festival?
No, it’s not challenging the festivals that already exist, and it’s not challenging current distribution models. I’m still behind discovering films in the cinema. It’s a way of exposing people to these types of film. Since there are a lot of releases every year, it is difficult to see arthouse films in the theatre. At ArteKino festival, we don’t want to be first to show a film, or be an A-list festival, it’s very different. What we want is to promote films what may have already been at festivals like Cannes, Locarno, Berlin or Toronto, but that didn’t get distribution in many territories.
This is a way to make these films accessible not only to the festival-goers or cinephiles, but for an audience who like to watch films online. We want to give these films a chance to be seen by large audiences. The festival is free, and it’s in 45 European territories, so it has a very broad range. It’s not supposed to replace festivals or cinemas, but to help with the distribution of these films.
What was your decision about creating an award that was voted on by audiences?
What is also very unusual, compared to your usual festival, is that there’s no jury. It’s dedicated to the largest audience possible, so that’s why we created the Audience Award, which goes directly to the director, to the producer and to the international sales agent. The sales agent is a very important part of the festival because we have to talk to them to see which films were sold, which films weren’t, and in which territories. We wanted to make it very digital, very free and very easy to participate.
ArteKino 2018 is happening throughout December. For more info head to artekinofestival.com