BUDAPEST — Reality TV may be on the decline, but reality film is in demand as an art form and a market commodity at the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, which wraps Sunday.
“Docu filmmaking is on the increase and this is represented in nearly every major festival around the world,” said festival director Dmitri Eipides. “At Berlin, documentaries were some of the best films at the festival.”
Thessaloniki fest audiences will see over 100 docus by filmmakers in Europe, U.S., Canada, Asia, and the Middle East.
Fest representative Maria Roussy said artistic considerations were an important criteria in the selection. “There has to be a certain artistic element in the film and good storytelling for a documentary to be chosen,” said Roussy. “The film had to be visually stimulating.”
The seven-day festival also hosts a documentary market bringing together buyers and sellers from 27 countries.
Some 24 filmmakers with projects in need of funding had the opportunity to meet with with 12 commissioning editors from TV stations across Europe in what organizers called a “Pitching Forum.”
Fest organizers say demand for documentary film has gone up because reality has become more dramatic than fiction. “The public finds it challenging to witness reality,” Eipides said. “Modern technology makes it possible to record reality and present it like no time before.”
Eipides says high values and low costs have made documentaries a popular genre with mainstream filmers. “All the name directors are working with the documentary media,” he commented. “Now with the advent of new technology documentary filmmaking offers the drama of filmmaking, but is cheaper and more successful.”
The fest director added “The events of last September prove how powerful and important the documentary can be.”