From Protest to Screening Room
By Jordan Mattos
Jordan Mattos is a native New Yorker with a love of international cinema. He studied filmmaking and art history at New York University, where he directed experimental short films. When 9/11 happened, he felt the vulnerability of being an artist and sought out some of his favorite producers for guidance. After working for people like Joana Vicente, Christine Vachon and Robin O’Hara, he wanted to understand the business of how films reached an audience, pursuing work in distribution and doing acquisitions during the height of the SVOD era. In 2016, he co-founded a couple of platforms, including Kinoscope and Cinemarket, and now runs a sales label, Aspect Ratio, where he works with some of his favorite contemporary filmmakers.
My work involves finding films to distribute. Functionally, I do the same work a sales agent does. I work with filmmakers and help them tailor a distribution strategy that makes sense for their film, then I go out and sell their films to distributors and pitch to festival programmers. I focus on non-English language films for the US market, so I work within a specialized niche.
The COVID-19 quarantine and the movements across the world during this period have definitely re- shaped my definition of work. The current crises (which one?) opened my eyes to how versatile we can be. Even in the face of staggering challenges, we’re able to find a way to connect, radicalize colleagues, do business and find avenues around the patriarchy. Upheavals in the US surrounding Black Lives Matter have had a profound impact on the projects I choose to support and the way I evaluate cinema in particular and work in general. In the face of the events of the past few months, one must ask – to what end do we do what we do? And, if the narratives we push don’t support change for the better, what’s the point?
On a personal level, the crisis has helped me see that I can mobilize people from screening room to protest from anywhere that has Wi-Fi access. I’ve also seen that rigorous dialogue and organization does not require us to be in the same room. That’s potentially liberating; as much as I want to be romantic about how I miss attending festivals, I’m excited by the prospect of radicals organizing online, filmmakers finding new ways to create, distributors circumventing traditional routes to audiences and communally re-defining what work means to us during this new and unprecedented time.
By Emmanuel Pisarra
A few months ago, I found myself on board a plane to New York City, on my way to UniFrance’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. It was early March and COVID-19 was catching up with the West, still in a blur, somewhere between nonchalant disbelief and growing panic.
By Alice Miller
I am spending my ongoing lockdown in my small terraced house in a suburb of Leeds, England. I am fortunate to have a home I can work from and green spaces I can walk to. I am not ready to resume "normal" life.
by Luciana Calcagno
At the time of writing, Argentina has been under preventive and compulsory isolation for 125 days and I must admit that, during this phase, my work is what saved me.
By Lidia Damatto
2020 started as any other year for sales agents, with a promisingly busy Berlinale. Being completely immersed in a film festival, one has little time for news about the world, reading only industry trades and paying attention only to the buzz around certain films.
By Laura Bermúdez
Nothing is more fragile than the human faculty to admit reality, to accept without reservation the imperious prerogative of the real.” Clément Rosset's phrase, in his book The Real and Its Double, shakes me to the core. After all, what is reality?
By Anahí Estudillo
How can we influence film communities from the outskirts? How can we create meeting points through cinema in our communities? These are vital questions for people like me, someone who is dedicated to working in cinema exhibition, research and programming in the city of Tepic, in Nayarit, Mexico.