The British documentary filmmaker Kim Longinotto is the patron for this years Reykjavik Shorts & Docs Film Festival May 6th-9th. She is renowned for creating extraordinary human portraits and for tackling controversial topics with sensitivity and compassion. Her films have won international acclaim and dozens of premiere awards at festivals worldwide, and many of them show her passion for human rights and women´s affairs.
Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitates the production, promotion, distribution and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women, and they have chosen their representative on their 40th anniversary to choose films mirroring a special oversight of Longinotto´s carrier, followed with a Q&A with the director in most cases.
We contacted this great director for quick Q&A.
When did you start studying camera and directing? Or perhaps, when did you know you wanted to make films?
I was always obsessed with reading as a child and was convinced that I would be a writer. During University holidays I had a job as a storyteller. It was paid for by the local libraries and it meant going to parks, reading to children & young people into a microphone and then telling the audience where they could get the books. I noticed that the audience loved listening to the stories but were not really interested in finding the books. Then I gradually discovered that writing a novel just wasn’t happening for me & that I might have to abandon my dreams of being a writer. Film seemed to be a way of telling stories and also not nearly so lonely as writing. So after University I went to the NFS (England’s National Film School), which was perfect for me.
What is it about the documentary medium that fascinates you the most, in short?
I love the unexpectedness of it. I find this both terrifying (will I get a story?) and exhilarating (when a story slowly unfolds).
You have travelled the world and made films about people, do you want to give them a voice through the medium?
That would be great.
Is it hard for you to separate yourself from the issues and people you make films about? Do you want to save them from situations?
This is horrible. Usually I can really help. But, with Pink Saris, I have lost contact with them all. I feel terrible about this for them. Pink Saris (2010)
What inspires you the most, and how do you get ideas for projects?
Each project comes from a different place. Sometimes articles, sometimes people I meet, sometimes I’ve gone searching for them.
What is your role in this year festival?
I’m coming to do Q&A´s for some of my films.
How do you like this cultural thing, the world of film festivals?
They’re a wonderful thing. But I don’t go to hardly any festivals outside London as I spend all those months away from home filming so I like to be in the UK as much as I can.
Lastly, are you excited to visit Iceland?
Yes, I’m really looking forward to it.
We thank Longinotto for this interesting online Q&A, we recommend her films highly
and encourage all guests on the festival to attend her amazing and ground braking films.
Here are a few trailers from films, shown on this years festival at Bíó Paradís,
Hverfisgötu 54, Reykjavík.
Gaea girls, (2000)
Sisters in law (2005)
Pink Saris (2010)
Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir