Cultural exchange at the heart of FIFO 2015

Marie KopsThis year Marie Kops was organiser of FIFO for the first time. And the report is very positive. In the wake of the prize-giving, tell us about FIFO 2015…


What is your assessment of FIFO 2015?


Very positive. We had an excellent attendance, FIFO started off well with the OFF day and Doc Edge. We were a little apprehension as it was new, but it worked well, there were 743 admissions. The Jan Kounen evening was also a huge success, we had to repeat screenings. We have had excellent feedback about ‘Inside the Doc,’ the public enjoyed the discussions between producers. However, there were not enough meetings between directors and spectators after the screenings of the films, next year we will look to address this. The Doc Zone also worked well, it is a great tool for professionals, and we must continue to develop this professional side with more meetings and why not master classes? The OPT stand was also popular, as a result, we will ask the public during the year about the films that they would like to see again in 2016. Then of course, like every year, the workshops were full, we intend to offer even more next year! We would also like to add a screening day for schools.


What is your opinion on this year’s selection?


The jury was purely male, but the selection tendancy was clearly feminine. This year, there were many portraits of women, strong and committed women, the vast majority of the selected films is very emotional. The public also seemed to be delighted, it is always a pleasure to see people leaving a screening and to hear them discussing, debating and exchanging about the films. Some guests told me moreover that they had never seen a festival that brought so many spectators together. There is huge public enthusiasm for this long-awaited festival.


This is your first FIFO as organiser, how did it go for you?


There was a lot of pressure as it is a large-scale event. The organisation is phenomenal, there are many things to manage, to contruct and to do. And then, it is an event that I love, I have been following it for over ten years, I therefore wanted to rise to the challenge. I am pleased as the discussions were great this year. We must continue to create this forum for meeting and discussion between the guests and the festival attendees. There are many guests, so it would be a shame not to benefit from it!


What left its impression upon you this year?


The discussions around Kumu Hina. The people didn’t necessarily want to ask her questions, they just wanted to say thankyou. If you saw all the pupils at the screening of this film who go descend upon the stage just to have their photos taken with Hina, it was very moving. This shows how much we need this type of documentary.


The chairman of the jury this year is more from the world of cinema, was this a bonus for the festival ? 


I thought it was great for FIFO, it opened things up. Jan Kounen brought an innovative and less conventional approach. We discovered someone who was in touch with his emotions, he was very sensitive. It was important to have someone like him on the jury. I think that it is in the interests of the festival to work with people like Jan Kounen.