Slovenia's DokMa festival features non EU film makers

It can be tough for independent filmmakers to compete against mainstream Hollywood blockbusters but there are audiences who want more from a movie than entertainment. In Slovenia documentary films are drawing ever increasing crowds, leading to the third Slovenian Documentary film festival.

From the 2nd to 8th of November The DokMa festival 2006 took place in Maribor, featuring 46 documentaries from 18 countries. The documentaries were shown in five different categories but there was only one competitive category. The competition programme "Interregional Retrospective" focused on documentaries in European countries that are not members of the EU. Tomas Zaniuk of the organizing team explains:

"The aim of the competitive category is to promote quality movies from countries which are geographically in Europe but not in the European Union, which means that the movie makers in those countries don't get a chance to get the funds of the EU and other funds, which are available to EU documentarists."

'I Have Nothing Nice to Say to You'
A Croatian documentary about the generation of young people whose lives have been powerfully affected by the recent war won the award at the 3rd DokMa international festival of documentary film in Maribor. The mussel-shaped award was conferred on Goran Devic, author and director of "I Have Nothing Nice to Say to You", during a ceremony at the conclusion of the festival. The director, himself a member of the generation he portrayed in the film, was inspired by the story of the 1991 unsolved murder of Ljubica Solar, a young woman from Sisak.

The jury, composed of Indian director Atul Gupta, British political film expert Katy McGahan and Slovenian director Bojan Labovic, also conferred a special mention award to the Serbo-Montenegrin film "Miner's Opera". The jury agreed that this year's films at the festival were high quality. Katy McGahan of the British film institute:

"Well, I would like to say that a high standard of film making entered this competition. The films were extremely varied in terms of length, in terms of subject matter, style, political reportage and more artistic films using archival footage."

It must be hard to be in the jury and decide which film is best. So I asked Katy McGahan what her criteria were:

"Personally I was just trying to look at each film in its own rights and decide whether it fullfilled its own premise, tried to figure out what the director's intention was."

Another member of the jury, Indian director Atul Gupta, found it hard to decide as he loved all the films:

"It was very difficult to decide and to be a jury member I must say. Personally I was very disturbed that I have to choose which one is good, all of them were excellent. Criteria is what defines a good documentary, how many questions does it raise with you, so these were the criterias with which I looked at the films."

In the end, the jury reached a unanimous decision and awarded the film "I Have Nothing Nice to Say to You". The organizers are satisfied with this year's festival; however they are a little disappointed by the feedback from the audience as there were fewer visitors than last year. Hopefully DokMa 2007 will attract a larger audience as the documentary film in Slovenia, as well as globally, is becoming more and more popular.