OIFF Live: Talk with Nicki Nikitin

Odesa International Film Festival hosted another Instagram Live from the video series with the representatives of the world film industry

Art director of the Prague International Film Festival Febiofest, FIPRESCI and the European Film Academy member Nicki Nikitin became the guest of the OIFF Live. The general producer of the Odesa International Film Festival Julia Sinkevych, the constant host of the OIFF Live project, spoke with the guest. During the interview Nicki Nikitin talked about his experience with the pandemic, why the world will not be the same as before and advised the directors to shoot more comedies.

Here are some notes from the live talk:

I try to look on the bright side when I think about the situation we all are in. And one of those positive moments for me and my colleagues is that we found a way to work from home. For example, restaurant owners and people from the service industry can not afford it. And this is an opportunity for us to catch our breath and relax. After all, for us, cultural workers, and festival organizers namely, it is very difficult to find such an opportunity in ordinary life. But it all will pass, it's just a matter of time. So for now I'm trying to use that period to my advantage. This is an interesting experience.

The paradox is that I work even more in quarantine than before. Because everything went online. For the past few months there have been far more tasks than it was offline. Quarantine worked like a time machine that rolled us back a little. We had to create some things from scratch because of the massive transition online. I remember the first Odesa International Film Festival, my first Berlinale. It was so exciting and scary, because these were the first steps into something new and unknown. Now we find ourselves in a similar situation, but with other tools and technologies. We had the opportunity to learn things that we have not yet encountered, because I am, for example, from a generation that was born long before the digitalization, to which the generation of millennials is used to almost from birth. So this is a certain challenge, but at the same time involvement in the process of learning and researching technology.

I remember how we didn't take the pandemic seriously when the 70th Berlinale took place. During the festival, we were all like in a bubble, where there is no place for such an experience. But the day after it ended, we all realized that something very serious was happening. And now the situation is that we are all looking for new forms of existence. Some festivals will survive, some will not. Streaming services like Netflix have entered the most active phase of growth. But traditional events, such as festivals, will be forced to go online or combine different forms. Now it is worth focusing on supporting small events, cinemas and productions that may simply disappear.

In two or three years, the world will change and will no longer be the same as before. And this is normal. Otherwise, it would mean going back in time. 20 years ago we did not have smartphones, and now it is everyone's everyday reality. So of course everything will change. But I believe that cinemas as such and festivals will not disappear. We have survived two world wars, and people continue to go to the movies, opera, churches. These are things that will live in spite of everything.

Once upon a time movies were very much influenced by the introduction of DVDs. These were certain booklets resembling a book. You put the disk into the player and you are offered options, like chapters. You can choose any of them and start watching. Cinemas offer a completely different experience. You are indoors for two hours in a row, completely immersed in the action on the screen. You can't go for a walk or call. You are focused on the film. But with books, which, in fact, became the prototype of the DVD, the situation is different. You read 10 pages to yourself before going to bed, put the novel aside and go to bed. It's another type of concentration, a different experience of immersion in history.

A pandemic can become the basis for a film story line, many of them actually. It can be a story about people who are forced to stay at home all the time for months. Or about those who went outside, became infected and died from the virus. Alternatively, it could be a love story about a couple who are stuck in different countries and can no longer see each other because of the closed borders. There are many options. But I will give just one piece of advice to the directors - shoot comedies. It will all end someday and people will want to watch something positive, something fun. Yes, comedies are always harder to shoot than dramas, because it is much easier to make a person cry than to make them laugh.

To watch the full interview follow the link.