The beginning of this new, unpredictable 21 century, marked the biggest migration since the origin of the world, at least the world that we are aware of, and that we neatly keep records of. In several humanitarian organizations there are data that for the duration of the past 19 years, more than 40 million people left the countries of their origin in a quest for freedom, justice, recognition, a decent life, a better life, dream life, in a quest for drinkable water, food, medicines, a modest dwelling, future for one’s children… a quest for peace and a quiet night. Their destinations are often unspecified. They move from one border to another and expect to be given just a single glance, an instant of charity. Their stories resound in a distressing way, often cruel way, a way that the liberal world finds hard to stomach. Is it possible that we have known nothing about this? Maybe we just didn’t want to stir our comfortable every-day lives, well don’t we all have our own problems, difficult to solve, big, complicated ones? Or maybe their distress has simply not reached us?! We somehow failed to learn that the beast has been unleashed and that freedom is on a leash. We read this in their silence, but it’s something we mustn’t be silent about. Those truths must resound. Must be incredibly loud. Lies must be eradicated, incredibly fast.
Each and every story about “the other” holds within itself a story about the one telling it, that’s how it is in documentaries. It – the storyteller’s story, may seem invisible at first sight, may even be hiding, but through all cinematic devices it tells us so much about the film author. This is the reason why every documentary holds within itself two stories, the one of the protagonist, and the one of the author. Often filmmakers who devote themselves to this film genre, get to know themselves through their films. I have noticed this whenever I’ve met them. And this is a good thing, it is the symbiosis of art and life, this inextricable connection of the two destinies, different, yet the same in their untity. The documentary genre in its essence is revealing, baring, a genre which seldom leaves us indifferent, even when we are properly “armed” with our civilization benefit – sound reasoning. It is not very helpful when we see the devastating footage of the still active war zones, when we are powerless to protect the weak, when we are angered by the injustice taking place in front of our eyes. The world has become a battle zone of illusions and fake news, a vanity fair of compromised values, broken promises and great expectations of the impossible. That’s why documentary films are important, because they exclude partiality and “pour out” the real condition of a human being, of a woman, of a child, of a scientist, of a father, of a nation, of the entire universe, in front of us. That’s why documentary cinema is so fascinating, so terribly important, because among other things, through it we get the chance to look the beast in the eye, and not only this, the future generations rely on us to hunt it down, to destroy it. That’s why the audiences and authors of documentary films have mutual understanding. Their interactions are complementary, the filmmakers react, and the audiences discover the truth. For the Documentary Program of this, for me in many ways, special edition, I selected 11 documentaries which are a small picture of the world. I expect that you will check out how extraordinary they are, because one of them will be given the award by the city where the two brothers Manaki and Milton Manaki used to work with their Camera 300.
Gena Teodosievska, MSC
Selector of the Documentary Program