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How, why and for whom do we still write about film? conference

How, why and for whom do we still write about film? conference



The conference How, why and for whom do we still write about film? is organized by the Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest festival, in partnership with Control N Cultural Association, and is part of a series of special events set up under the general title Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest – Debates. It is a place where celebrated film critics, distributors and members of the foreign press will get together to debate the part that film plays as a cultural export and the goings-on of film distribution.

The conference How, why and for whom do we still write about film? will take place at the Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest festival, Sunday, 25 October, at Elvire Popesco Cinema. For a full day, through individual inputs and debating there will be multiple discussions about, to name a few subjects, the purpose of today’s film criticism and the way that the craft changed in the Information Age, when writing has undergone a democratization process and anybody can now publish by themselves; about how to communicate and to sell an independent film, in such a way as to make it as attractive as possible to the public, without creating false expectations; about how to build an efficient marketing strategy and how to involve the mass-media in the best ways; about what chance does an independent film stand without the festivals’ aid; but also about trends in contemporary cinema.

Among the guests of the conference, who will debate the topics of discussion and will present their points of view, are Pascal Mérigeau (journalist and film critic), Magali Montet  (press agent), Ronald Chammah (distributor) and Christian Ferencz-Flatz (philosopher and film theoreticist). The discussion is moderated by Boglarka Nagy, film project manager, Elvire Popesco Cinema programs coordinator.

The conference is aimed at journalists that write about film and culture, young critics and bloggers that write about cinema, students from, but not restricted to, film schools, film professionals and those interested in film craft, but is also aimed at cinema lovers and film buffs that want to attend an ample discussion about trends in contemporary cinema. The access is free.

The conference How, why and for whom do we still write about films? is split into two halves:

  1. 11:00 – 13:00 – Who needs critics in the Information Age? How did writing change in this context?
  2. Through individual inputs limited to 15 minutes, followed by a Q&A session and a debate, we will try to find answers to the following questions: Who need critics in the Information Age? How did writing change in this context? What are the current trends in film criticism around the globe and what particularities does each film industry have when it comes to those that write about film? Where is cinema headed; how, why and for whom do we still write about film?
  1. 13:30 – 15:30 – Debate: How do you sell films? More importantly, to whom?
  2. In the second part of the conference there will be a discussion about a list of professions inside the film industry. The purpose of the press agent will be discussed. The following questions will be tackled: what is the part played by festivals in film distribution; how do you get journalists to write about your film, how do you manage press events and the eventuality in which your film is not well received?Last, but not least, there will be a discussion about the role played by the film critic in marketing campaigns. The differences between first look reviews and in depth reviews will be explored, alongside issues such as: how to write about films you dislike; how to write about filmmakers you befriend; the dynamics of the critic-press agent/publicist relationship; but, also, ways to approach a review taking the target audience into consideration.

About the guests:

Pascal Mérigeau  (Journalist, Film Critic)

Pascal Mérigeau was born in 1953. After hosting various cine-clubs, he founded and, for some years, managed a cinema, Art et Essai. He collaborated with Revue du Cinéma and as a journalist his pieces appeared mostly in Nouvelles Littéraires and Point. He also worked as journalist and film critic for Le Monde, then for Nouvel Observateur, starting with September 1997.

He authored numerous books on cinema, focusing on subjects such as Josef von Sternberg, B movies, Joseph L. Mankiewicz (the book received an award for best cinema related work in 1993) and Maurice Pialat (2003, Grasset). He also wrote two novels, Escaliers dérobés (1994, Denoël) and Max Lang n’est plus ici (1999, Denoël). In 2007, he published Cinéma: autopsie d’un meurtre (Café Voltaire collection, Flammarion), while in 2008, also for Flammarion, he penned a biography of Gérard Depardieu.

In 2013, for his book Jean Renoir (Flammarion), he was awarded the Goncourt Prize for Biography, the Prize of the Society of Men of Letters of France and the Prize of the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics.


Magali Montet  (Press Agent, Public Relations)

Magali Montet established a public relations office dedicated to cinema in 2008. As a press agent, she assists premiering films in France and worldwide, at international film festivals. At the same time, Magali Montet is active as a “publicist” – personal press agent – to a number of actors. In the past, she has worked for three years at Celluloid Dreams (Hengameh Panahi), an international sales company, and for seven years at Unifrance, along with Daniel Toscan du Plantier.

Amongst the events she coordinated:

  • Upcoming French premieres: Marguerite & Julien by Valérie Donzelli, Winter Song by Otar Iosseliani, Rabin, The Last Day by Amos Gitai.
  • Recents: The Look Of Silence by Joshua Oppenheimer, In The Shadow of Women by Philippe Garrel and Fidelio: Alice’s Journey by Lucie Borleteau.
  • Recent premieres at international festivals (Berlin, Cannes, Venice): Diary of a Chambermaid by Benoit Jacquot, Body by Malogrzata Szumowska, 600 Miles by Gabriel Ripstein, Standing Tall by Emmanuelle Bercot, Dheepan by Jacques Audiard, Disorder by Alice Winocour, The Treasure by Corneliu Porumboiu, My Golden Days by Arnaud Desplechin.


Ronald Chammah (Distributor, French filmmaker)

He founded in 1988 Camelia – a production company whose purpose is to promote and support artistic films; its mission is to restore and distribute heritage films.


Christian Ferencz-Flatz (Philosopher and film theoreticist) 

Christian Ferencz-Flatz is a philosophy researcher at the Institute for Research in the Humanities, Bucharest University. He has recently published a book of film theory, Incursiuni fenomenologice în noul film românesc (“Phenomenological Forays into the New Romanian Cinema”). He has also authored reviews and film studies for Dilema Veche and Close Up. He is the co-editor of the 2016 edition of the magazine Studia Phaenomenologica, with the following subject: Film and Phenomenology. He has also written two additional specialized books: The Usual and the Unusual in Everyday Life. The Phenomenology of Situation and Heidegger’s Critique of the Concept of Value and Rudiments for a Phenomenology of the Past, as well as numerous studies and articles that have been featured in Husserl Studies, Research in Phenomenology, Phänomenologische ForschungenPhilosophisches JahrbuchContinental Philosophy ReviewTijdschrift voor Filosofie and other journals.


Boglarka Nagy (film project manager, Elvire Popesco Cinema programs coordinator)

Boglarka Nagy, the moderator this year of the debates during Les Film de Cannes à Bucarest, is a manager of film projects and coordinator of programs at the Elvire Popesco Cinema (French Institute in Romania). She is a film critic that writes regularly for film websites and also a moderator and curator for various film festivals in Romania.


The conference How, why and for whom do we still write about film? is a project organized with the assistance of the National Cinema Center. The event is supported by BRD – Groupe Société Generale.