DOMINIQUE BAX AND SAÏD OULD KHELIFA, DIRECTORS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN FILM FESTIVAL IN ANNABA, ALGERIA: THE VIEWERS ARE MOST IMPORTANT!
Mrs. Dominique Bax is the artistic director, and Mr. Saïd Ould Khelifa is the director of the Mediterranean Film Festival in Annaba, Algeria.
Bax has more than 30 years of experience in exploitation, distribution and organization of festivals and educative workshops. She is the director of Magic Cinema in Bobigny, the small Paris suburb which has educative programs and cultural and pedagogical activities, she is a director of the festival Theatre and Film since 2014, and a director of the festival Resonances and film gatherings with a civic approach. She is responsible for the publication of the work Theater and Film in 30 volumes.
She is also a president of the Association Carrefour des festival (Crossroad of festivals), which has in it French film festivals, and she is also member of the script advisory board at the Cinematography National Center (CNC).
Saïd Ould Khelifa has made a successful career in journalism as a reporter, chief of the international rubric (Algeria, France), collaborator of the daily newspaper The Nation (USA) and the magazine Cinéma Politique (France).
He is a script writer and director, he directed his first film The White Shadows in 1991, which brought him first prize at the Festival in Amiens (France), as well as other numerous awards throughout the world. Other films of his were also awarded at a few international festivals: Ania’s Tea (Le thé d’Ania, 2004), Alive! (Vivantes!, 2006), Zabana! (2012), and also got into the competition for an Oscar. Khelifa is a collaborator of the festival Theater and Film in Bobigny (France), and also works as a theater director.
-The Mediterranean Film Festival in Annaba, Algeria exists since 1996. Due to the violence in Algeria a few years ago, the festival was broken off, but was renewed in 2015. I participated on a voluntary basis in the first phase of the festival, and from three years ago up until now, Dominique and I have been running the festival. The main goal of the festival, which is held in spring, is to focus on cinematography from the countries in the Mediterranean, having recent film works participating, ones not older than 1 year. Macedonia was also part of the festival at the first renewed edition: Gorjan Tozija was a member of the jury. We have also selected a Macedonian film for the next edition, but we cannot announce the participant at this moment. Aside from all this, the festival also has a Country in Focus program, which focuses on a country outside of the Mediterranean region geographically: this year it was Chile, and we have Finland in stored for the next year, the director Khelifa introduced the “ID card” of the festival.
Bax added that the previous editions had the honor of honoring, amongst others, authors like Raúl Luis, Philippe Garrel, Margarethe von Trotta…
-The interesting thing is that the Mediterranean Film Festival has a big audience: there are not many cinemas in Annaba, so the festival a great opportunity to see recent films, especially for the youth, Bax says.
The awards of the festival are inspired by the specific annaba tree – which gave the city its name – so the laureates get a statuette named Golden Annaba.
Since Mrs. Bax is an expert on theater and film relations, as well as the film script creation process, we asked her of her favorite piece considering that area.
-Fanny and Alexander by Ingmar Bergman, Bax was certain, and she didn’t miss on noticing that the Manaki Brothers festival and the Cinematheque of Macedonia mark the 100-year anniversary of the cult Swedish author this year.
Considering the great journalistic experience of Khelifa in the leading world media, as well as the devotion of Bax on the subject of society engaged art, it is inevitable to ask the question if the engaged approach in the works of the film authors can change the world to a better place to live?
-We shouldn’t forget the audience and the citizens themselves because they are very important for every cinematography in the world. In fact, the viewers are psychoanalysts of the society! If the viewers give a good diagnose of a film, it will reach a bigger popularity, Khelifa points out.