Zagreb report, April 20 2002
Hello from Zagreb, from where we will give you as many updates as possible.
Arrived last friday in a welcomming city with a good atmosphere and friendly people.
Our first evening was discovering the city. A beer is called “pivo” and bars close between 10 and 11 p.m..
So it looks like it’s gonna be the first healthy IFC in history. (Though we have our doubts)
At 20:00 hours there was the opning ceremony in the Palace Hotel, the theme was: “All Nations Night”.
The whole family meet ing in the Zrinsky room of the Palace hotel.
More of that
And even more meeting and hello how are you.
Below is an excerpt of the opening speech from Edwin Brys.
WHy are we in Zagreb?
Because we are on the right place now. For several years, HRT is present on the the international feature scene, not only by the glory of the past, but also by the energy and talent of young feature makers.
Perhaps that HRT can show us a way how to deal with the clash between tradition and renewal.
“We have to discover the references of the younger generation, not educate themand initiate them in our styles.”
“Let’s avoid to be the fetishists of the past”
Gerard Mortier stated in a interview on ARTE television.
On the other hand there is an immense hunger from younger ones to know what happened before them.
A hunger for guidance, whithaout paternalism.
We are at a turning point. Never we felt so strongly the tension between personal liberty as a programme maker and the constraints of imposed formats and channel profiles.
We will have to find the flexibility and creativity to deal with this clash of radio culture.
Zagreb report, April 21 2002
Our daily newsletter number one April 21,
After two weeks of rain,this morning finaly the sun was shining.
After yesterdays opening party some 80 of us were gathered in the House of Journalists here in Zagreb. Some with a big headache.
The Aktant Model, a workshop chared by Stephen Schwarz is the first thing we have to deal with.
Fortunately light conversation and two cigaret breaks plus some new knowledge and the two hours passed in a second. Some intersting extracts from classic features presented by Richard Goll (ORF Austria) and a nice lunch.
Four nice productions from Sweden, Austria, Germany and France, with the themes migration, poetry, imigration and music with discussion afterwards completed the day.
Helloas from Zagreb,
Tomislav Guscis (Feature group HR Croatia)
Zagreb report, April 22 2002
Our daily newsletter number two, April 22,
After one and a half day of the conference: The atmosphere in Zagreb conference is both relaxed and rewarding. Just like Stephen Schwartz’s workshop about the tools of story development in feature. Stephen builds his workshop differently every day. Every time he wants to find out what is the state of mind of the people, what kind of group he has in front of him. And then he reacts and varies his demonstration making it more like a dialogue. This reminds me about the basic thing about radio as a media. Radio is also a dialogue, communication between the programme maker and the listener. The producer must have a will to say something to someone, to argue, to show his interpretation of the world, the item. And in this work, just like Stephen said you need tools, you have to have an angle to the story… I think sometimes what is missing in media in general and in radio programmes is the argument, claim. The producer doesn’t have enough courage or skills to find his own personal arguments, point of views. Instead he just portrays, describes in a general level. Of course the producer is not a teacher, he just can suggest to the listener : what if things could be like this….
In my mind Peter Klein in his workshop today continuied these kind of thoughts. About cut and fade: you have to defend slowness and at the same time defend the effort to use alla the possibilities, means you have when making radio programme. The basic question is: you have to know what you are doing, wanting to say and use best tools and style for the item you are working with. As Peter said: we have to be both philosophers and journalists, slow and fast, cut and fade.
Richard Golls’s session today was very relaxing and entertaining, a meditative moment… Acoustic journey, programme about people at one with nature, Opera du Cameroun… Richard wants to show us the prototypes of feature, not the best programmes of all times…. Two interesting sessions of classics still ahead.
Hannu Karisto On Monday afternoon
Zagreb report, April 23 2002
Tuesday, 23 rd April
Today’s day was sunny and mild outside. Inside it was steamy and hectic. Because there were no workshops to be given, the conference started with a half-day listening session.
On the proramme:
- Croatia with the feature ‘I feel relaxed and breathing calmly’ by Vi_nja Biti.
- Denmark. ‘An immigrant in Freya’s house’ by Stephen Schwartz.
- Romania and ‘Transplantion.’ (Michaela Helmis)
- Belgium/The Netherlands and Stst….stuttering by Annemie Tweepenninckx.
Let’s start with Croatia, one can never be polite enough. Since Zagreb is our host, it’s more or less obligatory. The feature ends undoubtfully with it’s essence: I feel relaxed and I’m breathing calmly. The entry deals with stuttering, often being considered as a social disability: hard to live with, hardly to cure. That seems to be a misunderstanding, since Croatia happens to develop an efficient therapy with quite amazing results.
The critics on this programme were quite unanimous. A good example of a well-made educational and informative journalistic ‘product.’ Perhaps it lacked a bit of a creative approach.
Up to the Belgian-Dutch programme, St-st-stutter. Same topic, but worked out from a totally opposite angle. Here, no education, few information but lots of beats and rhyhtms. A kind of a rapping feature. The makers took the musicality of stuttering as their starting-point. So you get a kind of musical piece.
Most of the listeners appreciated this kind of different approach. They considered it to be fresh and funny. Stutters are not treated as disabled, someone remarked, but as a fascinating phenomonon. ‘It’s almost fashionable to be a stutter.’ Some others lacked some necessary information in it. Anyway, it was an inspiring discussion.
The Romanian entry, ‘Transplant’, has the ambition to explore the problem of cerebral death. In the older days a patient could not be declared dead as long as he continued to breath and to have heart beating. Today, science considers a patient to be biologic dead, if he or she is cerebral dead. Even if the heart for instance is still beating.
Interesting matter, sure, wonderful and explosive. But, most of the listeners agreed upon the fact that the maker of this feature was too ambitious. He/she was too greedy in persuading his or her audience.
One of the commentators summarised it as such: ‘If you donate your organs, You’re good and brave. If you don’t, you are stupid and selfish.’
The last feature to be critised is the intriguing ‘An immigrant in Freya’s Home’ by Stephen Schwartz. Schwartz himself is an American who migrated to Denmark some forty years ago. He made a kind of a testimony about the changes he percepted during his stay in Denmark. A beautiful, vulnerable portrait that, as someone said, ‘will be rememberd for a long time.’ A unique and very personal metaphor for‘changes in society.’
Later on, the godfather of European feature-making, Peter Leonard Braun, met a younger generation of Croation feature-makers. Inspring and confronting.
The evening went on in the well-known Feature Conference-tradition. The place: Kaptolska Klet, a nice restaurant.
The food: excellent and regional.
The people: amazing, joyful and drunk. (See photographs)
One would like to spend a lifetime in this divine city. Unfortunably enough in between dreams and deeds, stand practicle inconvieniences and melancholy.
Zagreb report, April 24 2002
Tuesday, 24 rd April
Hello there feature fans. Wednesday was a beautiful day here at the Feature stadium in Zagreb. Actually not so beautiful outside — raining — but inside the teams took the field and it turned out to be another exciting ball game.
In the morning after the workshops Richard Goll stepped to the plate and delivered to us several home run hits from the past; long hard drives into the ears, classics of the art of radio feature making. He began with two reindeer hunters arguing about whether a certain lake was in a certain place on a map which they had in their minds separately and could not agree upon. Obviously where Monty Python got their inspiration because this selection from a Finnish feature was funnier than the Norwegian Blue Parrot sketch. A good thing too, since at first you could look around the room and see faces of colleagues reflecting the effects of the party the night before at a restaurant opposite the Zagreb cathedral. Late into the night despite the cathedral’s watchful gaze there had been no saints; we were sinners all. Thanks to our colleagues at Croatian Radio for treating us to such food, music and libation. But at 11 am in the morning thanks to the reindeer hunters who woke up our ears again. Richard then led us further on his daily tour of radio feature classics, but it would be stupid for me to try to describe them here in print for your eyes to read. We were listening to classics in the art of radio making, and it is your ears which had to be here. For the curious, I can let your eyes read that Richard’s classic feature selections were taken from Mikko and Vaiski by Pertti Salomaar, Railway Station by Night by Bert Breit, Memorandum by Flor Stein, The Faithful Servant and His Master by Alfred Treiber, and Everyday Something Disappears by Edwin Brys and Luc Haekens.
Your ears had to be here, the listening was rich.
So I won’t try to describe in words the listening sessions happening here in the afternoons either. Instead I will tell you that by Day Four of this gathering, two important experiences have occurred. At least they are important for me, and really perhaps they are the reasons why I am very glad that I came to this gathering. The two experiences I have been hoping for.
One is that in the afternoon listening sessions there have been a couple of times when my ears and mind have been quite transported by the powerful beauty of what they were hearing. Perhaps this is the kind of experience the religiously devout have in church. Since I have never been particularly religious I can’t say, but maybe it is not so crazy to compare this experience to a kind of radio communion. The experience of art which lifts you and makes both a powerful mystery and a sudden clarity all at once.
The second key experinence that has happened — for me — has happened in the discussions after the listening sessions. It happens when I realise that one of my colleagues, listening to the same feature, has heard some elements with quite different ears. And suddenly I can hear it as he or she did. It is like a thunderclap. A recalibration of the ear that opens up new landscapes.
So that’s the situation here on Day Four, fans. Tomorrow is the last inning, and the bases are loaded.
Zagreb report, April 25 2002
Tuesday, 25 rd April
The last, and perhaps longest day of the feature conference began with full sunshine, providing a perfect walk to the house of journalists, for the final convergence of our radiocrazy group.
We were treated straight off to a beautiful journey, via virtual tram, through the landscape of croatian featuremaking over the years. Telling this rich story (“A Streetcar Named Feature”) was the ever-more-impressive and energetic zagreb-feature-group, introduced by the always-impressive and energetic ljubo pauzin. Additionally, many of the producers responsible for the work that we heard joined our group for the morning, contributing to the fullness of spirit in the room.
After a short break (cigarettes and coffee but of course) we listened to the final classic (Dreaming of Fat Men, by Lorelei Harris) presented by Richard Goll, which, even in a shortened form seemed to enhance the group`s collective appetite for the lunch following…
The afternoon`s listening session presented radio from Finland, Ireland and Newfoundland. We wandered through a garden of questions and heard the story of a woman`s addiction to heroin, then ended quite appropriately with a story about the first radio transmission to cross the Atlantic – such an essential historical moment for everyone in the room.
Following more cigarettes and coffee we met in groups to discuss the afternoon`s listening session, then gathered once more for a beautiful closing ceremony with some typically-ljubo surprises. First we were serenaded by traditional Dalmatian singers, then the feast of Hvala (thank you) began -with full appreciation and gratitude expressed not only to the marvellous and dedicated planners of the conference, but to each and everyone of us in attendance. Flowers, the group photo, handmade artwork and one last glass of wine together…everyone left with their hands and minds full.
Officially over, the 2002 IFC seemed reluctant to really end. Thanks to the most patient waiter on the planet, what seemed like the entire roster ended up back at the Palace Hotel Cafe after splitting off for dinner, and celebrated in true IFC style – with wine, grapa, vodka, pivo…until the early hours of the next morning. Over the course of the evening there must have been thousands of cheeks kissed in farewell, and i`m sure the future of featuremaking made great and important strides…we will see. and hear.
until next time,
My friend once said that the easiest way to kill a chicken is to hit it with a car, or better yet a truck, but not many people have trucks or even cars so they have other people to kill chickens for them. We personaly don’t like chickens and that’s how our feature group started. In the begining we gathered together as a group of individuals with a strong chicken hate, on our meetings we used to listen to the radio in the background. And then we heard Mr.Braun’s piece about chickens -it was a crucial moment-we broke.The powerful hate started to fade and magnificent love towards features appeared! So that’s how we got here at the feature conference. This assembly educated us of various forms of features, opened a lot of windows but also posed a lot of
dilemas,the most important is the question of the frame of feature form.How can we with this powerfull tool answer to the actuality of our time or maybe going the other way towards creating new, subjective actuality.Seriously, it was a great experience and an honour to meet the people that are the legends of this world and finding out that there is a justified reason for this. This certainly gave us a boost for ideas and direction.
Feature group “Feature ti mater”
Of communications with people alike.
By which means, by which tools? That’s why we are here!
To know ourselves better, for real and authentic communication in ths alienated world.
Thank you for “Sniper” by Stephan Schwarz.
It was the biggest experience in this conference. this feature was like the best film, full of pictures.
I saw streets, people, war inside this story.
On the other hand “Sniper” thought me a lot of things I need for making features. I changed my opinion about silence, voice, music and drama in a feature. I want to come back to this document.
I will rememdber the athmosphere of this meeting in Zagreb. The people were very friendly, especialy famous featuremakers.
Hanna Bogoryja Zagrzevska Polish Radio
As a new memeber of IFC I really enjoy this conference and have learned so much from it. Actually it is difficult to say excactly what influenced me most, but the athmosphere here affected me deeply.
I can feel it and believe this will become very a important support to my feature making in the future!
I love you all and thank you very much!
Zagreb offered a beautiful and stimulating backdrop for this IKnternational Feature Conference.
Meeting the many veterans of the “radio feature” genre has been a unique experience. Hearing their work and delving into the craft of radio was invigorating.
Equally invigorating was meeting the next generation of “radio feature” artists – especialy the young Croatians.
We go home inspired.
Yvonne Gall and Lynda Shorten
Zagreb report, April 23 2002
Tradions are there to be maintained, so tuesdaynight is the party night.
Ljubo organised a ‘Croatian night’ with food and life music, a Zagreb based Croatian folk band, Cinkusji and a singer named Lidija Bajuk.
Well let the pictures tell there own story.
The food arrived some time ago
The sweaty guy
The funny guy
The birthday girl
Zagreb report, April 2002
Zagreb report, April 21 2002
The group photo
Zagreb report, April 23 2002
A free afternoon to prepare for the partynight or to join the guided tour of Zagreb.
The last gate to the old city
Look left or right?