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NH Programmers in Rotterdam: Pedro Costa's Masterclass

Vitalina Varela, dir. Pedro Costa
Call for submissions: New Horizons International Competition 2020 Our Programmers in Rotterdam: The Competition

The Rotterdam International Film Festival runs from January 22 to February 2, 2020.

Film festivals are corrupt, said Pedro Costa during a masterclass besieged by young filmmakers. The director of Vitalina Varela emphasized that times are extremely unfavorable for young directors and while making a film today is easier than ever, the big problem is getting cinema distribution. He went on to say that between the artist and cinemas there stand festival arbiters of taste (rubbing some salt in our eye), but also a whole powerful system that preys on talented people. The sales agent is a filter between you and others! He sells you, designs your career!he said. Never take part in pitches! Your movie is a gift - have you ever pitched your gift? After all, it is something valuable that you carefully choose, wrap it, hide it, only to reveal the present to someone at the right time! There are too many people between you and your movie today. During long monologues, Costa precisely laid out his philosophy of cinema: he referred to Ford, Straub, Bresson, Ozu, and talked about the economics of filmmaking, claiming, Don't convince yourself that it must be expensive, get rid of middle-men. He also claimed that digital media is great if you know how to use it (It gave me time), distinguished between looking and seeing, and reminded attendees that cinema primarily consists of intimacy and loneliness. 

The meeting with the Portuguese master was actually reminiscent of a sermon listened to in great attentiveness. Pedro Costa's ravishing speech was set in the lavish halls of the Rotterdam Hilton and I wondered if this "poor cinema" manifesto in comfortable conditions was a bold artistic diversion or if the plush hotel carpets would effectively absorb Costa's voice just as they absorbed the sound of our footsteps; though we arrived in a crowd, the noise was not audible at all.

Małgorzata Sadowska

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