”The best documentaries are the ones that use strong creative language and form”
Industry Report: Documentary
Angelos Rallis • Producer, AR Productions
Interview with Angelos Rallis, producer for Greek company AR Productions and selected for the 2020 Emerging Producers programme
Why do you produce documentaries? Do you understand documentary film as an instrument of social and political change?
Angelos Rallis: I believe that the world of film and new media brings an opportunity to engage the society and profoundly impact the audience and therefore my documentary films aim to engage, inspire change and drive action. Producing documentaries is for me an emotional need and a way to express myself and react to the things I see around. It is also a way of connecting with people and communicating ideas and stories that lie hidden from view and require our attention.
What qualities should a documentary producer have these days?
A documentary producer should have good management and finance skills and should be able to develop an idea and shape a financing strategy with very tight deadlines. He/she should have great communication skills, persistence and patience, knowledge of the industry, the market and audiences. He/she should be socially and culturally aware, trustworthy and eager to take risks in terms of themes, styles and cinematic approaches. Human rights awareness is very important but, in my opinion, the best documentaries are the ones that also use a strong creative language and form.
What do you think is the future of distribution of documentary films?
With more and more documentaries being produced every year, it seems that very few documentaries will manage to secure distribution. Watching documentaries on TV stations and in cinemas is on the decline all around the world but at the same time there are more and more festivals popping up. I see a lot of docs connected with transmedia projects, which gives the film a longer life and builds an audience on the net which I think is what the future will look like.
What projects do you have under way (including in the area of fiction film and other projects)?
My new film project Mighty Afrin portrays the slow violence impacting the poor which is speeding up due to catastrophes all around the world. Simultaneously, the film is a coming-of-age story that follows a young orphan girl living near a flooding river as she seeks personal freedom and her own identity. While the film touches on very important contemporary social and global themes such as female empowerment, human rights and climate justice, the approach has a more timeless feeling reminiscent of an ancient Greek drama set in the context of today’s Bangladesh. We believe the epic journey narrative approach will naturalize the foreign location and resonate with European and international co-producers and audiences, and that the strong-willed determination and self-discovery of the young protagonist, Afrin, will appeal cross-culturally. We believe that Mighty Afrin represents an emotional journey of female empowerment against the backdrop of climate displacement and will resonate powerfully with young audiences who crave more representation and narratives on the most important issues of their generation.
Emerging Producers is a promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.
Deadline for applications to the Emerging Producers 2021 edition is 15 March, 2020.
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