'Schools should teach children to appreciate watching films in cinemas': Italian director Alberto Barbera

Eslam Omar , Tuesday 27 Nov 2018

The Venice Film Festival chief spoke about the challenges and future of the cinema industry amid the rise of streaming services during a seminar on the sidelines of the Cairo Film Festival

Alberto Barbera
Alberto Barbera (L) during a seminar within Cairo Industry Days event, Cairo Opera House, 26 November 18 (Ahram Online)

It’s important that schools teach children how to appreciate watching films in cinemas, Italian filmmaker and director of the Venice Film Festival Alberto Barbera said on Monday at an event in Cairo.

Barbera was speaking at a seminar at Al-Hanager Theatre in the Cairo Opera House, part of the Cairo Industry Days series of events which is being held amid the 40th edition of the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF).

"It's a very different experience to attend a film at the movies with 100 or 200 strangers in the hall receiving the same emotion than watching it on your smart device in the bus. The latest tools such as streaming or TV networks made it easy to reach films but watching the same film at the cinema is something else that the industry should promote because it's becoming harder now to make people go to the cinema with all the accessibility for movies," said the director.

Barbera, who was also chief film critic of the daily La Gazzetta del Popolo in the early 1980s, also spoke about the challenges of making films in the current circumstances.

"Not all talented filmmakers are able to make good films because they will have to face the challenge of finalising their work in a very tight deadline with a limited budget facing all the competition," added the 68-year-old director, who has directed After Midnight (2004), Borsalino: The Destiny of World's Most Famous Hat (2016) and Ottavio Mario Mai (2002).

Moreover, he enthusiastically defended the films produced for TV, praising Netflix and the effort and technology used for such movies, like Roma who won best film in Venice, when asked by CIFF Technical Director Youssef Cherif Rizkallah about the “kind of deal” the festival made with Netflix to allow such movies in the competition.

Additionally, Barbera said he believed that the fewer movies in a festival, the better, so that the viewers can see a good percentage of the whole festival.

"I care more about the quality of the films. We only broadcast six movies a day during the 10-day Venice festival and even six movies a day is too many."

Cairo Industry Days kicked off Sunday and continues until Thursday, from 10am until 5 or 6pm in both Al-Hanager Theatre and Cairo's Semiramis Intercontinental hotel. The lectures, seminars and workshops feature well-known figures from the international cinema scene.

The CIFF continues until 29 November.

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