2003, 29th IFC, Toronto – info

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Toronto files
29th IFC 2003

Edwin Brys Quotations from the opening speech, by Edwin Brys, chairman ( VRT, Belgium)

“Welcome old friends, welcome new faces. New faces who will become new friends again. So, the carousel of the IFC turns and turns for 29 years now. It became a kind of family meeting and no divorce is in sight. ( we only meet once a year!)
I guess you all had , at some stage of your live, the bad experience of a postponed rendez-vous. The beloved one didn’t appear, and there you stood, with your wilted flowers. Weeping in the rain. Sipping your carefully cooled wine alone.
Thus happened with the close encounter between CBC and the IFC, marked with pink ink in our agenda’s for May 2003.
Our appointment was disturbed by a cruel act of sabotage! A mean witch, called Mrs. SARS, came and destroyed our plans. We humbly had the accept she was stronger than our transcontinental love. The IFC took the right decision to suspend the romance.
We organized a second appointment. Tricky! Will the fire of desire be still burning? Or will the heart be wilted like the flowers five months ago?
The IFC is delighted the lovers were faithful. You all look even better than in May 2003. With still the traces of summer on your faces. Suntanned and relaxed. And the team grew up to a hundred attendees!
Thank you CBC for your flexibility! Thanks Bernie Lucht, Steve Wadhams, Sharon Lewin and Susan Mahoney! And we are very pleased to welcome Peter Leonard Braun, our founder father to be among us. And Laurent Marceau from the EBU, our brother in arms since the IFC is operating under the EBU umbrella. Laurent will be with us tomorrow. He took the right plane, but got the wrong food.
Our most cherished colleagues are the young ones. The winners of the Ake Blomstršm- grants : Carmen Petcu from Romania, Karina Schwann from Austria and Myriam Fimbry from SociŽtŽ Radio Canada. And there is more young blood streaming through the IFC .
We are very happy to welcome four of the eleven trainees from the EBU Masterschool for young documentary makers : Hege Dahl from Norway, Wim Van Grootloon from VRT, Belgium, Marie-Luise Goerke from Germany and Priscille Cazin from RTBF, Belgium.
I will have the pleasure to present their work, together with Nathalie Labourdette from the EBU International Training Unit next Thursday.
Back to our main concern. The radio documentary. For years now, it is announced that the genre will die one day or another. I must confess times are hard now and there is a danger the genre could be swallowed by today’s new strategies of radio management. Give the listener what he wants. Short, flashy items. Many radio strategies know better now and a good, common sense seems to prevail again. But it is our duty to put creative and intense radio on the map again. The voices of the citizens, undergoing the turmoil of today’s society should be heard. As feature makers, we can be more sharp, more actual in the choice of our topics, and deal with the big issues of our time. We shouldn’t only explore the artistic assets of the medium as such.
News reports deal mostly with the questions : what happened, when and where ? They should be short and factual.
Radio documentaries can focus on the deeper meanings of what is breeding in the world and try to find an answer to the why and how questions and explore the mechanics behind human behavior, behind choices, decisions, doubts.
One of the best questions is : how could it come so far? ”


Toronto files
29th IFC 2003

We proudly present the first pictures from Toronto.

Acting as opening
The grand opening from the organising commitee


Bernie Lucht and Steve Wadhams
Bernie Lucht and Steve Wadhams performing the opening speech


Cree Anthem
The Cree Anthem conducted by Chief Jimmy Dick


Toronto PhallusThe Toronto Phallus, allso known as the CN Tower

Toronto files
29th IFC 2003

Pat Donez

An intriguing day full of listening and discussion

Some of the hundred or more participants, still suffered from a jetlag. You only had to look at the eyes, to know who is coming from Europe and who plays at home.
Maybe therefore, the organisation decided to start with what is probably the shortest entry ever.


A 2 minutes cartoon microfeature by the American Gregory Witehead.
Nice, simple idea. While you hear chalk on a chalkboard, Greogory puts letters in motion. He starts from the word EVIL AXIS and comes to combinations such as ILAX ISEV and ISEV ILAX.


The first, ‘real’ feature of this conference. An entrance made by the enfant terrible of Dutch radio and television: Rob Muntz. In a series of five so-called Radiodocurettes, Muntz sets out on a quest forsheer male bliss.
In the episode we hear, Robs final chauvinistic pig male aim is to hunt a giraffe. It’s full of humour – black, Cynic and tender at thesame time. Most of the listeners really enjoyed it. A real new toneof voice on this – sometimes too – serious gathering of internationalradiomakers.


A good idea is half of the work. The other half is how to tell your story. In ‘Don’t hang up,’ presenter Alain Dein wonders out what would happen if you’d call BT telephone boxes all over the country.
Splendid idea, though the storydevelopment could have been better worked out.
Anyway, this programme let hear a nice paradox : intimate, vulnerable stories that are captured out of the public domain.


Catastrophes can shape our lives. The assasination of John Lennon, the tragic death of Lady Diana or the Supergau at Chernobyl. Finaly the great catastrophe: 09/11.
The makers, who start from a beautiful premisse – how one deals with
collective memories – don’t fully succeed in their ambitious project.
Too many quotes, too little story.
Author and director Peter Klein brought his work to the conference for the sake of the discussion. A brave attempt in participating into the real core of this IFC: reflection and criticism amongst professionals.


This programme won the Gold Prize at the Third Coast Festival’s inaugaral competion in 2001.
In 1966, a young Marine took a reel-to-reel tape recorder with him into the Vietnam War. For two months, until he was killed in action, Michael Baranowski made tapes of his friends, of life in combat, and then sent those audio letters home his family in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
Astonishing radio. Remarkable and breathtaking.
If this Baranowski would have not been killed that early, he should have been in our midst: being an outstanding radiomaker.


Most of the time, China comes out with nice told epic stories about lost myths. Kirghiz is a minority nationality around Tianshan and Pamirs area in China. Interesting, but not breathtaking story.
Maybe, next a little more critical.

Up to now, it was a very intriguing day.

Pat Donnez


Toronto files
29th IFC 2003

Myriam Fimbry, Ake-Blomstrom Prize 2003, Canada:

I find it very interesting to listen to so many and different radio documentaries and producers discussing all together. Many of them seem to know each other since a long time, like a big community which has a meeting each year….. and who love to discover the work of others. It’s incredible the silent in the room when a documentary is playing.

Another thing surprised me: the extraordinary diversity of programs we listen to at this conference. For example, this morning, we listened to a Finnish feature which was a mix of music and sounds. We were supposed to imagine a Japanese garden and the sound of a rose …. The definition of a feature or a documentary, it seems to be very large!

Tomorrow is ‘D-Day’ for me. The day all these experienced producers will analyse, appreciate and criticize my own documentary (*), the first I did. It’s a rare opportunity to receive advice from all around the world. I’m very lucky. Thank you, Mister Ake Blomstrom!

(*) Veils and miniskirts (‘Entre voile et mini-jupe’, 42 minutes) is about muslim women who, as immigrants in Montreal, try to find a compromise between their religious values and the canadian way of life.
Seven women and a little girl speaking, without narration.



Toronto files
29th IFC 2003

Group picture 29th IFC Tronto
The whole bunch at the 29th IFC Toronto, canada


September 1 – 10.40 am, and everybody is listening

Toronto files
29th IFC 2003

Views from the CN tower

View from the CN tower 1
A view from the CN Tower


View from the CN tower 2
Another view from the CN tower

Toronto files
29th IFC 2003

Views from the CN tower

Julie Shapiro
Colorfull Julie Shapiro


Ljubo Pauzin
Ljubo Pauzin, receiving compliments on his feature “The scent of a Kitchen”.



Toronto files
29th IFC 2003

IFC report wednesday september 3

Julie Shapiro “She woke up and felt terrible.”

…a possible first sentence of a feature, offered during an exercise assigned to the group attending Ljubo Pauzin and Chris Brooke’s informative, provocative and yes, also entertaining NARRATION workshop.

But also perhaps an accurate description for one half of this year’s conference participants, after the excellent feast in the sky last night, at the top of the CN Tower. The wine flowed, as the restaurant slowly rotated around the tower through the sunset and well into the evening. Now to be fair (and accurate)let’s give the other half its due too – “He woke up and felt terrible”.

Onward. With feet squarely on the ground, slowly everyone came back to life this morning… To hear about tragedy, conflict and miracles. From recordings of live disaster scenes (the hindenburg explosion and lost miners in nova scotia) in the narration workshop to the features listened to throughout the day – [with the morning programs exploring the Israeli/Palestinian situation (If I Forget Thee O Jerusalem from Ireland) and coping with loss and memory (Spring in Zagreb, 2002 from Finland)and then the afternoon’s Ake Blomstrom selections offering glimpses into natural healing methods (Diagnosis: MS from Austria and a spiritual quest in India (Even Miracles from Canada) to Rene Farabet’s selected “Classic” – ‘Foreigner in Denmark’, by Niels Peter Juel Larsen – which, in addition to discussing cultural and familial issues faced by Turkish immigrants living now in Denmark, also put forth the startling (to some) sounds of blood pouring from a lamb’s throat, and very succintly spoke to the week’s discussions about the use of narration in the feature.

Ljubo also asked a question at the beginning of his and Chris’s workshop:
What exists for a story before the first sentence is written? In other words, what is brought to the story’s genesis?? A good question to ask in a different context: What are the stories/experiences that IFC attendees bring to the conference each year?
This question is answered over the course of the week – in the sessions and at the coffee breaks and over shared lunches and dinners, sustaining one of the richest aspects of the IFC experience – the connections made with new/old radio friends and colleagues, in the midst of so many lessons learned and ideas generated and beautiful sounds heard by so many ears.

Year after year after year…such energy from planners, organizers and participants.
“By the end of the day (and many liters of water later) she felt much better.”


Julie Shapiro

Third Coast International Audio Festival


Toronto files
29th IFC 2003

IFC report thursday september 4 by Ljubo Pauzin

Ljubo Pauzin
Ljubo Pauzin

Dear feature family, the longest day is almost over – longest because it is the last day of the conference. It started with my program “The Scent of a Kitchen” so I’m lucky to be suggested to write the roport.

Just a joke: I will not praise the program, just tell you what it is about – it is actually about the impossibility to catch the shape, the materialization of a memory and we could hear the real cooking session with an old lady during Christmas in Croatia. Following was the personal story from YLE Finland about the boy in circuss told by an old man, so it was another memory program. This brings us to the listenin order of the program at the IFC Toronto done by Lorelei Harris from Ireland. Bravo Lorelei!

After disscusion and lunch we came back for some more listening : first 365 Days of Mourning, a Polish program on the problem of disasters in mines which are taking many human lives, a strong program with investigative journalistic approach and a microphone being there in the ambience, in the miner’s reality. Then we herd another Ake Bloomstrom winner – Carmen Petcu from Romania and her program Freedom is Inside Us, about a prisoner who is going out of jail after being there for fourteen years, but he felt more free in the joint then outside. The day was closed with the ABC Australia program “Ambush” about the ambush slaughtering people during The World War Two on the Pacific islands.

The special and promissing event closed the morning part of the day. It was the presentation of EBU Masterschool course for young featuremakers and four (out of twelve) young feature makers presented excerpts of their programs that they did during the course. They were all fresh, dynamic, exteremly interesting and inspired an enthusiastic applause from the IFC audience. They have shown the face of the future and made us all to look optimistically towards it.


Toronto files
29th IFC 2003


Bernie Lucht and  Steve Wadhams
Bernie Lucht & Steve Wadhams


Yesterday began with many people hung over from the banquet we’d had the night before which was in a revolving restaurant 500 meters at the top of the CN tower. The evening light was beautiful and we could see right across lake Ontario to New York State about 60 k away.

I noticed that – perhaps because of the banquet and the great time we had the discussion groups the next morning seemed more collegial and spirited. One of the pieces we heard that sparked a lot of discussion was called “Easy Miracles”. The programme maker, who is Canadian, is married to an Indian man and the feature described and documented a journey to a goddess shrine where people pray and make wishes. When we discussed the programme people were very divided. Some loved the story, because it was lively and warm and there was a very emotional and personal ending. Others disliked very much the fact that there was so much narration. It showed me that people here have such different aesthetic values. We didn’t resolve anything but people did listen carefully to other points of view and I hope respected them too. After all this is why we are here. To enlarge our perspectives and open our minds to new ideas and other people’s points of view.


I had an interesting experience yesterday. With Edwin Brys, the President of the IFC I went into a studio here at CBC Toronto to discuss things with two of our Polish colleagues.. Both called Anna by the way! We had arranged an ISDN line to their radio station in Katovice in Poland. Edwin spoke about what the IFC does and how it tries to support feature making. Anna then asked me to say what my favourite programme was so far. What a question!! But I could see in her eyes that I had to come up with an answer and NOW! I said that a programme played as part of “The Classics” by Rene Farabet was my favourite so far. It was produced by an American cameraman who had gone to Vietnam to document the war there all those years ago. I liked it a lot because it was so unusual. It told its story entirely without narration, just by the sounds and the juxtaposition of the sounds which were very varied and powerful. I said that for me I felt as if I was being immersed in this war. It took me right there. I could hear it and almost smell it.
No narration needed. But I have nothing against narration! I think a feature maker should use any way that works to get a listener into someone else’s world and allow the listener to experience something and to learn something there.


Toronto files
29th IFC 2003

Last pictures from Toronto.

Edwin Brys and Vincent van Merwijk
Edwin Brys and Vincent van Merwijk


Laurent Marceau
Laurent Marceau


Niagara Falls 1
Niagara Falls 1



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