Thessaloniki Doc Fest announce tributes – movieScope
Peter Wintonick Tribute
Few people have contributed to the documentary universe as invaluably as Peter Wintonick (1953-2013). The Canadian director, producer, programmer, writer and film critic has fervently served the documentary realm in his various capacities and has become a mentor for generations of documentary professionals.
The 16th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival honours the award-winning filmmaker with a tribute that comprises some of his most representative work, as well as publishing an original bilingual edition on his work. It is in his memory that the TDF now establishes the Peter Wintonick Audience Award, which is to be presented to the best foreign feature documentary of the Festival.
Peter Wintonick was a close friend, collaborator and supporter of the TDF from its outset. He has always been passionate in his participation to the various facets of the Festival, whether they were panels, workshops, the Just Talking conversations or the Presidency of the FIPRESCI jury.
He has traveled the world, sharing his knowledge and love of documentaries, and participated in over 100 films and transmedia projects, as well as serving as a festivals advisor, jury member, speaker or co-ordinator. He notably won the Canadian Governor General’s Award in 2006 for Visual and Media Arts, and was one of the founders of DocAgora, which showcased cutting-edge digital strategies at various film festivals.
Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992) co-directed by Mark Achbar, is perhaps Wintonick’s most influential film. A portrait of Noam Chomsky, it offered a unique exposé of mass communication propaganda systems. It was screened in over 300 cities around the world, winning numerous awards and taking part in over 50 festivals. It became the top-grossing Canadian documentary feature in history (until 2003 when The Corporation beat the record).
Peter Wintonick’s last completed documentary in his directing capacity is pilgrIMAGE (2009) co-directed with his daughter Mira Wintonick, which travels the (film) world, tracing the past and future of film and media, from George Méliès’ France to the Venice Biennale. Mira Wintonick will be taking on her father’s unfinished project Be Here Now, which he had been, in a way, preparing for 20 years, but only started planning when he fell ill. The film will explore the world’s imagined Utopias, from Don Quixote’s idealism in Spain, to an artist co-op in the Australian Outback, to Gandhi’s backyard of peaceful resistance, while at the same time painting an intimate portrait of the filmmaker.
Nicolas Philbert Tribute
“Sometimes nobody is more surprised by a film than the person who made it”. Nicolas Philibert is mostly known for his award-winning documentary To Be and to Have (2002), his touching portrait of an one-room school in the French countryside. Driven by a curiosity to apprehend the world around him, Philibert observes the mundane with an uncanny devotion. If something might come as a surprise while watching his films though, it is not the variety of his themes, but his respect while approaching them.
Born in 1951 in Nancy, Nicolas Philibert studied philosophy, but he very soon turned to film and became an assistant director, notably for René Allio, Alain Tanner and Claude Goretta. From 1978 he has been directing documentaries of varying content that covers a gamut from the adventures of mountaineers to the unspoken secrets of the Louvre museum. The director will attend the Festival to present and discuss his work with the Thessaloniki audiences and guests.
Apart from To Be and to Have, the tribute to Nicolas Philibert comprises eight more of his films. His first documentary His Master’s Voice (1978, co-directed by Gérard Mordillat) is an insightful exposition of the new world order that was at the time on the cusp of its manifestation. With Louvre City (1990) he enters the universe of the Louvre Museum and monitors all that’s unseen behind its closed doors. By documenting the every-day rituals in its rooms, corridors and tunnels, he unveils a world of secrets and discoveries. He will again enter a museum’s den, this time Paris’ National Museum of Natural History during its renovation, to create a different kind of choreography with the Animals (1994) that are on display in its halls.
Other films showing in this retrospective include Nénette (2009); In the Land of the Deaf (1992); Every Little Thing (1996); Back to Normandy (2007); ans La maison de la radio (2012), Philibert’s most recent film that documents the interactions of Radio France’s employees and guests. A medium that resides solely in its audience’s aural sphere finally claims its visual representation.
The 16th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival – Images of the 21st Century runs from 14 – 23 March, 2014 in Thessaloniki, Greece. The festival also runs an important film market as well as several other initiatives to support documentary filmmaking in the region.