Interview: Sandra Seeling Lipski

Kategori Interview af - oktober 28, 2016
Interview: Sandra Seeling Lipski

Det kan godt være, at CPH PIX lige er gået i gang, men der findes også andre steder i verden, med deres helt egne filmfestivaller. Et af disse steder er Mallorca i Spanien, der nu for femte år afholder deres meget intime og sociale arrangement. I den anledning fik jeg lov til at møde programdirektør, Sandra Seeling Lipski, der også har grundlagt festivalen, hvis fulde navn lyder: Evolution! Mallorca International Film Festival.

Hendes stærke tilhørsforhold til stedet, passionen fra de frivillige i lokalområdet og årsagen til, at de har en drive-in biograf på festivalen, var blot nogle af de emner, vi bevægede os rundt omkring. Hele interviewet kan læses nedenfor:


The first and most straightforward question would seem to be surrounding the background of this festival. Not only are you the director of the festival, but also the founder, which made me curious to know, what inspired you to create this film festival?

I was born in Berlin, but grew up in Mallorca. I lived here from when I was nine years old until I was eighteen and then I moved to the United States. So, I have a big love for this island, it is my home. When I started to become a filmmaker in Los Angeles and my movie went to different festivals, I of course wanted to send my movie to Mallorca, so I could come back home and show it to my family. At that point I found out that there wasn’t a festival here.

I went over here and did some research and found out that others had tried to establish a festival before, but it never kept going. So, I decided I wanted give it a try with my own small group I had gather over the years, having been to other festivals. We didn’t know how it was going to play out the first couple of years, but it started to grow steadily. However, it was very important to me, not to try something huge in the beginning. To really grow slowly and gain the trust of the locals and the island. Now, slowly but surely, we have accomplished that and we have a really good place here in the cultural calendar.

Your other role, as mentioned, is also as the director of the festival. As the director it is kind of a given that you are the one who plans everything. However, what is your role once the festival starts? Do you just go with the flow, or do you still have to micromanage and make sure everything moves at a steady pace?

It is a mixture of both. Every year I get more relaxed, but I do just go with the flow, because there really isn’t any other way. Of course, no matter how much you prepare there are always things that aren’t going to work as planned. I always say, “there are a lot of fires to put out”, but as long as it happens behind the scenes and you have your team to help take care of it, everything will be fine. We have a really nice network and work with the local film, photography and communication schools. We have around 40-50 volunteers that work in a schedule. So, the help from the locals is a huge plus. When it comes to me specifically, most of my work is done at this point. The program is done, the movies have been chosen and now you just hope that people will leave the cinema having experienced a change of some kind. Whether they are happy, had an emotional experience, or was inspired to go on an adventure, you just hope the movies resonate with the audience.


You already mentioned that Mallorca is very dear to your heart, but how does the location itself play a part in the festival?

It is definitely a “destination festival”. People come here, not only to screen their movie, but they also come for a couple more days to enjoy the island. It is off-season, but its currently 26 degrees Celsius, we have sunshine outside and even though we are nearly in November we always have amazing weather every year. So, people can go to the beach in the morning before a screening. Everything is in the city center, so it all creates a really nice organism in Palma.

What would you say is special about this year’s program?

Our special event this year is that we have hold a tribute for Danny DeVito and give him the tribute award. It is not just the fact, that we are giving him an award. We wanted to do something special with him and he wanted to do something special. He became involved in the programing, which means we are going to show his short film, Curmudgeons, that premiered at TIFF, but we are also going to show his film, The War of the Roses. Something that maybe even more special is that we are not show The War of the Roses in the cinema, but in a drive-in cinema. I think we are the only film festival, who have a drive-in cinema.


That is pretty cool.

Yeah, that is pretty cool!

How did you manage to get a drive-in cinema?

The drive-in is located at the Port Adriano, which is kind of a yacht port in Mallorca. They contacted us, when they heard about the festival and they wanted to be involved. We brainstormed and they obviously have a lot of outdoor space. First we thought about outdoor screenings, but even though it is warm it is still November and it can rain. So, we continued to think of ideas that had never been done before and it ended up being the drive-in cinema.

The first time we did it was last year, which was a huge success, but we only did one screening and this year we will have four screenings. It is always a fun night, because it is a huge screen, there are fifty cars and the sound from the movie is actually transmitted via the radio signal. You can sit in your car and hear the sound coming from your radio and at the end everyone blows their horns. It is just a really fun event.

While I get over my jealousy over what does sound like a great event, I about the films. The most important part of any film festival is the films, so I was wondering if there are any particular ones you want to highlight, without detracting from all of the others?

I always get that question a lot and I don’t think it picking one movie makes the others look bad, but there is always that one film, which has a special place in your heart. For me that film is the movie Wild. The reason being that I saw the film at Sundance. It was the first movie I saw this year, where I just knew I had to get it to the festival. That was when I started to become aware of the programming, after having taken a break. [Wild] kind of reflects the cinema that I want to show. The movie is wild and it is about a young IT student who is trapped in her everyday life, until she finds a wolf in the forest behind where she lives. She falls in love with the wolf and it is a love story between a wolf and a woman. It is very interesting, but visually and narratively, so I recommend it.


It does sound interesting and wild.


Before I leave you, I would just like to ask if you have any final thoughts, or maybe a pitch to get the Danish people to go on a winter holiday to Mallorca?

Well, we don’t have a Danish, but we have so many other great things. We have the Spanish premiere of Tour de France, with Gérard Depardieu. It is a great movie about different generations, racism, immigration. I think it is a movie that really deals with the zeitgeist and what is happening in the world. That is also what the film festival can do. I always look for movies that shows different cultures, different countries, different people living together. I want to take the audience on a journey around the world without a suitcase. All you need is to bring you suitcase to Mallorca and then you can visit so many more countries in the cinema.


That is a good way of selling it and at the very least it’ll be warmer.

That is for sure. You can have coffee in the morning and the sun will still be shining.

Filmfestivalen i Mallorca løber af staben fra d. 3. til d. 12. november, hvis nogen skulle få lyst til at rejse hen til et sted, hvor solen stadig skinner.

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Grundlæggeren og chefredaktøren på siden. Med min baggrund inden for medievidenskab, og forkærlighed for film, håber jeg at kunne dele mine oplevelser med andre – på forholdsvis interessant maner.
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