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A series of insider conversations between filmmakers about cinema, around a cafe table
C FOR COFFEE
When was the last time you stopped for a conversation? At a time when filmmakers have been discussing time, the lack of it, and the need to stop for it, we invite them to stop and talk; to each other.
Sitting in front of a window that places these conversations within the city and festival that contextualises them, the invited filmmakers play a game where they pick out papers with questions on topics under discussion in contemporary film culture. These questions guide a conversation that is otherwise unbounded, a window into what insiders from the filmmaking world have to say informally to each other.
Inspired by Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes, our new original series C for Coffee provides a stage to a conversation that is free and unrestrained. C for Coffee, but also C for Cinema or Conversations.
The first episode, made in collaboration with Porto/Post/Doc, was filmed during the 6th edition of the film festival, which took place in November 2019 in Porto. At the festival, we invited Ute Aurand, Valérie Masadian, Gurcan Keltek and Ben Rivers to, on a coffee break at the cafe A Brasileira, talk to each other about the state of cinema. Their informal, behind the scenes, conversations with one another, are an insider’s peek on thoughts not usually made public.
We want to find out: what do filmmakers think about the current state of cinema?
CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN FILMMAKERS ABOUT CINEMA
SCENE 01 - UTE & VALÉRIE
foto by Alvaro Campos
Is cinema dead? In the first scene of this episode, Ute and Valerie talk about Portuguese cinema, motherhood, whether cinema is dying and what’s its role in the context of (last year’s) riots and revolutions. Over their discussion, Valérie states she believes cinema is not dead, but watching a film in theatre is becoming uncommon these days. “Cinema in theatre is something dying. And I think we just have to take over the cinema ourselves, as filmmakers.” - says Valérie.
It’s a known fact that streaming platforms keep growing whilst independent theatres struggle; remote areas often have no operating cinemas, as these keep moving into the shopping centres of larger cities. But facing these difficulties, Ute remembers the importance of watching a film together in the darkness. How many times have you gone to the cinema last year?
Cinema is for the people.
- Valérie Massadian
Ute Aurand, a devotee of 16mm filmmaking, has been one of the central figures of experimental cinema since the 80s. Developed within the tradition of filmed diaries, Ute's films are as much a celebration of being alive as they are inherently political and militant in the way they present a revindication of feminism and artisanal practices.
Valérie Massadian is Franco-armenian photographer and filmmaker. In her filmmaking, she focuses on female characters and the way they relate to the world and nature. Often using documentary tools to make fiction, Valérie constructs her films by developing close working relationships with nonprofessional actors, who bring their own experiences and histories into the development of their characters.
SCENE 02 - GÜRCAN & BEN
foto by Alvaro Campos
Gürcan and Ben meet and talk in person for the first time in this conversation. In questions about cinema, they discuss over whether cinema is dead. As every art form, like music or painting, that keeps being told it is dead, cinema keeps reinventing itself. Portuguese cinema is brought up in conversation; Gürcan mentions Manoel de Oliveira, and Ben says he is inspired by the work of Cordeiro & Reis. “Portuguese cinema has had quite an effect on me.” - Ben says with the four films of Cordeiro & Reis in mind.
They reflect on the speed at which we consume cinema and how we move from one film to another without allowing some time to reflect. “What is poisoning cinema is the obsession with the new, everybody is obsessed with the new and consuming it really quickly.” - says Gürcan.
Just this year  I have seen a number of films (...) you could say this was the golden period (of cinema). But obviously you can’t maybe see that until the future.
- Ben Rivers
Turkish director Gürcan Keltek studied Film at Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi, faculty of Fine Arts. Keltek’s first feature film Meteorlar/Meteors (2017) had its world premiere at the film festival of Locarno and was the film that gave Gürcan his win at the Porto/Post/Doc festival in 2017. Meteorlar shows images of war shot by amateur cameras and a meteors rain, combined in a poetic way to reflect upon the Kurdish conflict.
Ben Rivers is an artist and experimental filmmaker based in London. His work has been exhibited in several film festivals and galleries throughout the world and has won numerous awards. Rivers’ works across a broad range of subjects, from the exploitation of unknown wilderness territories to intimate portraits of real-life subjects.
In 2020 we continue to amplify creative voices. Throughout the year, we will be travelling to film festivals around Europe to film the next episodes of C for Coffee. Where should we go next? In the meantime, follow us on our social media to keep up to date on the other stories.
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