Last Sunday we had the pleasure to attend the Documentary Filmmakers panel hosted by BFI 2021 at the Mayfair hotel, in London.
There we met the talented directors of some of the documentaries presented at the BFI 2021: Adrián Silvestre (Sediments); Tim Travers Hawkins and Celia Aniskovich (Burn It Down); Rex Miller (Citizen Ashes) and Matthew Heineman (The First Wave)
The panel was moderated by Chloe Trayner, who interviewed the directors, asking them about the creative process and the genesis of their work. After the introductory Q&A, the filmmakers explored these and other topics in group sessions with press delegates attending the event.
We have collected the most interesting testimonies that came out during the conference and interviews, of which we’ll try to give a brief recollection here:
SEDIMENTS (Spain 2021. 89min)
This Spanish documentary is about a group of Spanish trans women who go on a road trip and openly share their life experiences in this warm and honest documentary.
The Valencian-born director, Adrián Silvestre, said: “I came out with the idea of the film, after working for 5 years with trans communities. It was in 2016 when I talked to Tina Recio, one of the protagonists, in order to make a film about the trans community, and she introduced me to the I-Vaginarium association. Once I had met them, I put forward my idea. ‘How I do it will depend on you,’ I told them. We thus created a group, and each person outlined their conditions and red lines. After running a series of community workshops on film language and acting, I ended up with six who agreed to make the film.”
The storyline underlines the difference between big and small cities in terms of openness to diversity. Human beings are afraid of the unknown, and that’s where prejudice comes from, no matter the country or the period of history. With the closeness that you get in small towns, people know each other very well, while in cities, you get that anonymity, brusqueness, and awkwardness of not knowing your neighbors. In the end, the director stressed his willingness to give an optimistic message based on positive values such as friendship, freedom and trust.
BURN IT DOWN! (UK-USA 2021. 110min)
Exactly 30 years after the original Woodstock, festival organizers attempted to replicate that summer of love vibe. However, times had changed and a new cultural zeitgeist raged.
Tim and Celia tell us that they came out with the idea of BURN IT DOWN! after a friend sent to Tim a youtube video of Woodstock 99. What emerged was a lot of feelings and untold stories that gave them the idea to build up a report about how people who attended the festival experienced episodes of populism and sexual violence.
Celia said: “The aim was to build a report that brings to light not only the nostalgia and the happy moments but also the bad shades that WoodWe attended the stock left behind. Everyone has their own story to tell and we felt the need to speak out loud about such important topics.”