Having had two weeks to settle back into my daily life in Amsterdam, I now feel in the position to properly reflect on my experience as part of the 2020 ‘27 Times Cinema’ jury. For the first two weeks of September, my life was a sunkissed island dream filled with wonderful experiences and, most importantly, a group of incredible people as my company.
On the first evening, a simple bike ride looking out over a sunset and simultaneous thunder above the city center of Venice was nothing short of magical. A flock of people I had met mere hours ago (some mere minutes) rode their bikes behind me as we found our way to the one restaurant the local village had to offer. Hidden behind a deserted town square was the cosiest Italian restaurant, where we met some of the others that had arrived earlier. Bottles of wine and fresh pasta were the fuel for our first encounters, in which the bonding process started while discussing films and directors we love. I feel that these types of experiences kept happening over the course of the two weeks we spent on the island. Lots of pasta and coffee and prosecco and pizza and gelato, all the while running from film to film and discussing every detail of it after. Our daily life on the island seemed to be stringed together by all kinds of treasures that could be found in both the strangest and the most mundane places.
Of course we grew close during this time (while, of course, maintaining physical distance as much as we could). Remembering my interview with artistic director Gaia Furrer, she mentioned that it is so nice to work with the ‘27 Times Cinema’ jury because we tend to take our task really seriously. I feel like this shared focus on the work, the responsibility we all carried with us, made us grow closer amongst the fun we had around it. I really value the way my appreciation of each film deepened as our discussions developed, mostly due to the insightful reflections my fellow jury members brought to the table. We absolutely had our differences, but I am happy to see the growth we went through along the discussions, where we developed the patience to let the films truly sink in on us.
I am thankful for all the opportunities we had. Meeting and learning from film professionals, having space to ask lots and lots of questions, doing interviews or being interviewed ourselves. And after all the responsibilities were done, the winner was chosen (the wonderful’ Kitoboy/The Whaler Boy’ by Philipp Yuryev) and all articles and vlogs were posted, I went home with my heart full and my watchlist longer than ever. I’m looking forward to starting international film clubs and collaborating with platforms along Europe; those existing [Like ‘The Cinemagraph‘), and those coming soon (looking at you, Alex and Isa), But most of all, seeing each other again at another film festival or just in each other’s home city. Many thanks to all the teams and partners that made this happen, especially under the particular circumstances we were under.
Written by Rowan Stol