Sylvain Mariette talks about Aye Aye Film Festival

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The 12th Aye Aye Film Festival edition will be held from September 1rst through the 9th, 2006 in the city Nancy, France. It presents short films from all over the world with different programs in various sections to an international audience.
www.ayeaye-vo.com
Sylvain Mariette was born in Paris and studied Cinema & Audio visual. He has directed several short films and since the foundation of the Aye Aye Film Festival in 1995, he is active as director and coordinator of the festival.

Shohreh Jandaghian- Could you begin by telling us what were the reasons for starting Aye Aye Film Festival?
Sylvain Mariette- I remember the early beginning: a little group of students, four, sometimes five. We wanted to develop films or festivals. We spoke at this time very late in the night…I think it was December 1994, it was a cold winter and we dreamed of open air in June…a very popular open air screening with some very rare films!

Shohreh- What does it define “Aye Aye”?
Sylvain- Aye Aye is an animal from Madagascar with big ears and big eyes, which lives most of the time in the night…an animal which goes often to the cinema! For me, it was in the same time the sound of pleasure, of meeting friends in the night…fiesta!

Shohreh- What characterizes the 12th edition of the festival? Is there a theme?
Sylvain- More and more films…a special development of the program “orient express”…you know, this train which went from Paris to Istanbul across Europe. This program is dedicated to the eastern and central European cinema: Polish or Hungarian, Russian or Rumanian, etc.
I especially like the 45 films from the international selection of short films…so many things, very different, very new, very sensible…

Shohreh- What’s new in this year’s festival?
Sylvain- Very difficult question, because in fact for me, every new film is important…but generally, I feel that the filmmaker find new way to cross social or political subject with something from intimacy.

Shohreh- What factors influence your programming choices?
Sylvain- I am not alone to decide about the program and I think that it is very important to share the decision. I believe that the emotion, the dramaturgy is the first condition. Then we can be touched by very different kind of film.
For me, when you understand the intention of the author, when you have the keys of the film, you communicate with the film and your eyes become little by little more open on the world, on yourself…that is important too.

Shohreh- How many films do you receive approximately in each edition?
Sylvain- A little bit less than 1000 films, and we watch perhaps 500 films in other festivals…for the feature films, it depends…most of the time, we watch them in other festivals.

Shohreh- Is there a back-story or souvenir, which you would like to say?
Sylvain- Souvenir, souvenir…my best souvenir is to have dreamed so much about the future…to feel the desire of the next film!

Shohreh- Please tell us more about the competition section at your festival. How many films do you select?
Sylvain- Every year we select about 45 films. Some are documentaries, some fiction short film, some are animation…between 7 and 8 program of 1 hour and a half…and each program creates a link between the films. For instance: “Every wars…and love too” or “forget your holyday” or “don’t film your family, even your girlfriend”…we built each program as a montage of 4 or 5 films…and the films create link between each other.

Shohreh- What qualities make certain entries stand above the rest?
Sylvain- We choose the competition films not only because they are inconvertible and everlasting masterpieces, but also because they contain a sort of proposition of a cinema style, a sort of a possibility of cinematic language. We might consider that these films conjugate a humanist vision from a personal point of view and a universal one at the same time. I think a successful film is the one whose director delivers something personal and changes it to something universal… then, the emotion is coming to birth.

Shohreh- Could you please tell us what kind of audience do you have at the festival?
Sylvain- A lot of different people…I like to see so many different people. And year after year, there are more and more people coming from abroad.

Shohreh- How does Aye Aye Film Festival differ from other international short film festivals in France and overseas?
Sylvain- The place we give to the documentaries and the way we build the programs of short film.

Shohreh- What were the major problems facing the coming edition?
Sylvain- Obviously, the financial problems! We have a real actively participated partner, which is the city of Nancy. Through the youth programs the European commission is a very important partner, too… We regret the disinvestment of the government (The ministry of culture and the ministry of youth) which are traditionally playing a very important role in France and are losing it little by little…
Now, we are losing money, but the project develops… it’s a strange economical situation… and we just go on!

Shohreh- Do you think that over the years Aye Aye Film Festival has grown? Are there things still to be achieved by the festival?
Sylvain- The festival grows every year a little bit. It looks like a stair. But I ever felt that it is moving, year after year…for instance, we discovered some years ago the new Russian poetic documentaries and we really enjoyed. Just now, we know that there are a lot of possibilities between “art video”, documentaries and fiction…We see also that the new technology gives the filmmaker new questions in his work.
I feel that we are moving in our mind so much…

Shohreh- How do you think the TV stations and movie publishers can help to make grow the short film market?
Sylvain- For sure, every body can participate to this development. The most important is the quality of the information…and how the public can make a choice. How everybody can decide what he likes and what he doesn’t…

Shohreh- What do you enjoy most about your job as a festival director?
Sylvain- Film after film, I understand the world in a different way. I discover very good films but also some films (which are not presented in the festival) very surprising and new…after 12 years of this work, I understand how the cinema is moving: new technology, new link with the reality, new subject, new face and voice!
Shohreh- Merci beaucoup, Sylvain d’avoir répondu à mes questions. Thank you very much.

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