Les États généraux du film documentaire 2006 Sacem day

Sacem day

Lussas Already!

We must be quite a number to exclaim our surprise when we see once again the annual meeting of the États généraux du film documentaire on our diaries, with each time its unique maelstrom of encounters and dialogue as welcome as they are unlikely.

Not that we should blame the passing of time — it is we who pass, not time, the matter is clear, and the documentary cineasts who present their films at the festival are luckily more inclined to look critically at the way the world works than engage in anguished observations on the passage of time —, but rather we should rejoice at the repeated occurrence of this unique event which returns each edition more lively and vigorous if always as fragile.

Lively like documentary film, with its abundance, its successes some of which raise questions, indeed polemics, and fragile like the works which support a large part of its programming, when they have such trouble finding their means of production and access to a public whose demand remains potentially so strong.

These questions pertaining to the life of a film and the transmission of the authors’ works are regularly debated at Lussas within the framework of the États généraux. They are also discussed beyond the festival itself — but still at Lussas and with Lussas — via ongoing training activities, the organisation of a resource and documentation centre and finally, and this is one of the new points of this festival, by the opening of an Internet portal, a platform for information, promotion and aid to the distribution and broadcasting of documentary film.

As a partner of the États généraux du film documentaire, the Sacem (French Society of Composers and Musicians) continues its involvement when the objectives of Lussas’ professional and cultural activities converge with key concerns of our Society — stimulating training and information on documentary film, its creators and vital issues.

But let us not forget that Lussas is above all a festival and a village, a privileged moment and place to see and resee together the films which renew and mark the current of documentary film. The Sacem has been associated with this venture for many years and proposes, in close collaboration with the organising team of the États généraux, a day devoted to the relation between documentary and music.

This theme of musical documentary allows all kinds of digressions and all sorts of reversals, and if we aim at maintaining in this Sacem day a minimal objective coherence — to show the relation between image and music, the relation between the filmmaker and the musical creator —, we often let our desires express themselves spontaneously with the festival team amid the encounters and events that mark musical life in our choice of programming.

The death of Györgi Ligeti was one of the shocks of the year and we felt obliged to render him homage at the opening of the Sacem day of the 2006 États généraux. This initiative was proposed by Michel Folin, co-author and director of a portrait of Ligeti which remains one of the finest testimonials on this insatiable inventor of sounds, renovator of musical theory and exceptional pedagogue. This film and other documents will be screened during the morning devoted to Ligeti and introduced by Michel Follin and Karol Beffa, composer who is working at the moment on a biography of Ligeti.

It is not abnormal after all that musical creators take the risk of speaking about the works of others, so true is it that music is an art of transmission. They do it in writing. They can also, but it is even less common, move behind the camera and make documentary films about their seniors or contemporaries. Rare films by their subject but also because they remain isolated, often ignored experiences in the career of their authors. François Porcile, who is author, director, music enthusiast and connoisseur of 20th century music, will present some of these films by composers, including some very rare musical documentaries. During the afternoon, he will guide the audience through a screening of musical films as varied in their format as they are different in their approach with one major point in common: in all cases they are exceptional and rarely seen films.

Finally, our day of Sacem programming would not be complete without the award during the evening of the Sacem Prize for the best creative musical documentary. Our prizewinner this year is Jérémie Reichenbach, author and director of the astonishing Teshumara, a film devoted to the Tinariwen musicians and warriors of Mali, and more generally to the Touareg cultural movement. Just at the time when the Sacem jury of authors, directors and composers were meeting to decide on the list of winners, we learned that Teshumara had been bought by a cinema distributor.

All of this returns us to the problem of access to the public mentioned earlier, and allows us to conclude on – perhaps ? – an optimistic tone. Once more a documentary film developed for television will be projected in the cinemas. This is not an answer in itself to the profession’s worries. But could we not say that it is, at least, an encouraging sign ?

I wish all of you a good festival.

Gaël Marteau
Cultural Division Sacem

Guests : Remise du Prix Sacem du film documentaire musical de création vendredi 25 août à 21h.
Débat en présence de Michel Follin, Arnaud de Mézamat et François Porcile.