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Wildscreen Festival 2020

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Wildlife Winners and Losers - Brock Initiative

36th edition of Festival de Ménigoute: 36 films and 10 shorts in competition – An interview.

by Jason Peters
1 September 2020

Guilaine Bergeret, director, Patrick Luneau, director, and Philippe de Grissac, vice-president of the LPO, reveal to us the trends in the selection of films in competition for this 36th edition. Among the hundred or so documentaries viewed, 36 films and 10 short films will be screened during the festival, plus two films out of competition.

Festival de Ménigoute 2020

Have the constraints of the Covid for the next edition of the festival changed your criteria for choosing the number of films to present, the preferred format?

Not at all! The screenings will be organized differently, with more, but shorter screenings. To complete the offer, we are studying the possibility of decentralizing certain sessions to two or three neighboring municipalities. This project is under advanced discussion, we will seek production approval and then we will settle the logistical aspects.

Which format dominates?

The 52 minutes, due to television sales. This is why, for the selection of short (15 minutes maximum), the selectors of the short format2 do not content themselves with the films they receive, but apply for masters and seek nuggets on Vimeo or at other festivals. We have not yet received any animated films this year, although we are not closed to them.

What proportion of French and foreign films this year?

There is a great diversity of countries represented - 13 nationalities are represented - with a newcomer like Georgia and the return of Iran with a film on the Iranian cheetah.

Striking views? Nuggets?

Patrick Luneau: Generally speaking, this year I noticed more originality in the way of approaching the subjects, and I was seduced by a French film, Amnesia of nature, which explains how the memory of nature is lossed over generations. You end up being satisfied with what you have and this film invites us to fight against that. I was taken aback by a Hungarian film which approaches its subject through a ghost. At first, its slowness scared me, then I let myself go in contemplation, in wonder. I think you have to dare to be surprised, including by the slowness and humility, and am sensitive to the absence of imprinted animals. I am also campaigning to promote these films.

Philippe de Grissac: I fell in love with the Georgian film, precisely, which deals with the place of nature in the city. I, who don't really like music in documentaries, loved the beginning: a long traveling in a car with a rock track, which takes us to a construction site. And there, an intriguing sound ... I'll let you discover the rest! I was won over again by "the" Jan Haft, German director who won several awards at Ménigoute. His film on a simple meadow threatened by modern agricultural practices is an ode to natural meadows. Another landmark film I liked: a journalist's investigation into the disappearance of common birds alongside a famous German ornithologist. It is a fluid and at the same time very well documented film that delivers a message of hope at the end, where the journalist disappears behind his words.

Guilaine Bergeret: We are paying attention to a form of daring in the courts that we select, linked to the youth of this competition, which is only three years old. And we don't hesitate to choose films that will make your teeth cringe. Our selection is not yet final, but there is one movie we particularly like about wild horses that are captured in the United States and broken out by prisoners. The parallel questioning of the loss of freedom is startling.

What topics are in the spotlight?

Philippe de Grissac: The themes of climate change and the loss of biodiversity are asserting themselves. Even the monographs on bird species are part of an issue linked to ecosystems. Another theme emerges: the song of birds, with the technical means available today. A film is interested in it, a little anthropomorphic at first, but in the end very scientific and captivating.

Patrick Luneau: I have an appetite for films that denounce something, especially that of former Ifffcam students on the capture of goldfinches in Algeria, which are then reared in cages. The problem is well posed, without aggressiveness, with a solution that works. Let it be said, I am campaigning for a Whistleblower Award! Even if the courage to alert is implicitly taken into account in our choice of films. Among the trendy subjects, I note that the snow leopard is back this year!

Guilaine Bergeret: More than pure animal, our selection of shorts favors more open subjects, which take very different directions, even if the form can be classic.

Which regions are highlighted?

The Arctic, with the melting of permafrost; South America ; Taiwan, with a film about an endemic owl and a fascinating scene about the exploits of a veterinarian; the Portuguese coast; Africa, with a film about Okavango by a South African who has made four there. We thought we knew everything about this delta and we are still learning new things!

Do you ever disagree?

We generally have the same point of view, which respects a very qualitative editorial line and a demanding technical level. Bad framing, blurry images, can doom a good film. When one of us hesitates, the other watches the film and there is debate. Despite these safeguards, in the end, we are always criticized for certain selected films!

Translated from: menigoute-festival.org/newsletters/2020-08

The 36th "International Festival of Ornithological Film" will take place from October 27th to November 1st 2020 in Ménigoute (Deux - Sèvres - FRANCE).

Visit: menigoute-festival.org Follow: facebook.com/festivalmenigoute & twitter.com/FestivMenigoute

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