Carolina Lopez from Mexico and Alejandro Fuentes from Bolivia met at DW Akademie's recent Berlinale film festival workshop held in Berlin. Both work for film festivals in their own country.
Eleven film festival managers, staff and program organizers from Africa, Asia and Latin America took part in DW Akademie's recent "Film Festival and Event Management" workshop in Berlin. The workshop ran concurrently with the Berlinale - one of the world's most renowned film festivals.
Carolina Lopez manages the Festival Internacional de Cine Guanajuato which is one of Mexico's most important film festivals. Alejandro Fuentes runs Bolivia's most successful film festival, the Festival Internacional de Cine de Santa Cruz (FENAVID).
You both have a lot of experience in managing festivals. Did the workshop offer you anything new?
Alejandro Fuentes: Definitely. We learned more about how to find sponsors, select films, organize premieres and put together festival programs. The Berlinale is in its 63rd year and it's one of the top film festivals. It was ideal for learning ways to improve our own festivals.
Carolina Lopez: We also learned how networks function, for instance, how to introduce yourself to important people in the industry in just two minutes.
Fuentes: There was also a more personal side to the workshop. Eleven of us took part - there were managers and staff from different countries and very different film festivals but we all shared the same dreams and goals. We learned from each others' questions and comments and really became a group.
How much of this will you be able to use in your own work?
Lopez: I lapped it all up and I'll be able to apply most of it to our festival - everything from the basic principles of organizing festivals to how to maintain contact with people I met in Berlin. There are quite a few I'd like to work with in the future.
Is there a big difference between how things work in Germany and how they work at home?
Fuentes: There are similarities when it comes to festival structures, for example, but there are differences in terms of planning and management. The Berlinale sees these areas as being equally important but that's not quite the case in Bolivia. The Berlinale also has public as well as private funding but we don't have that type of sponsoring. And the Berlinale is for everyone, it's an event for the whole city and that's something we've been trying to achieve for years.
Ms Lopez, how would you describe your experience here?
Lopez: Unique and unforgettable. Meeting up with other festival managers has definitely broadened my horizons.