DAS Award Knows Its Latest Holder!

For the seventh year, an international jury has met over seven films nominated for the Doc Alliance Selection Award. The presentation ceremony, held during the Cannes festival for the second time, will take place within a few days. Meet ANDRE VALENTIM ALMEIDA, winner of DAS Award 2014.

For the seventh year, an international jury has met over seven films nominated for the Doc Alliance Selection Award. The decision is not an easy one to make. Not only are the films characteristic of high artistic qualities and original genre approaches (read more about the 2014 nominees here; each of the seven selected members of the jury of experts also represents a different European state, the documentary film festival of which is a member of the international Doc Alliance project. Thus the decision is made by a collective of film critics from Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, France, Portugal, Czech Republic and Poland. Festival viewers meet the nominated films regularly at each of the Doc Alliance festivals which screen at least three films nominated for the award in the given year.

With the arrival of the Cannes festival, the viewers‘ experience in festival cinemas will change significantly. Those who come upon the Portuguese film THE QUEST OF THE SCHOONER CREOULA by director Andre Valentim Almeida in the film programmes will be watching the brand new winner of the prestigious Doc Alliance Selection Award, seventh in the award’s history, in the dark cinema halls!

The presentation ceremony, held during the Cannes festival for the second time, will take place within a few days. We have therefore asked the new DAS Award holder about his personal impressions about winning the award, the current benefit of the award, as well as his future creative plans. Please, meet ANDRE VALENTIM ALMEIDA, winner of DAS Award 2014…

What are your feelings about being the latest winner of the Doc Alliance Selection Award? What does this award mean to you?

It’s an incredible honour to be awarded the Doc Alliance Selection Award with all it encompasses: to be picked among many after being watched by some of the most knowledgeable and critical eyes within the documentary network in Europe. The award is a validation of the work I’ve been doing and a strong word of encouragement to pursue a career as a documentary filmmaker. I have to say it’s the perfect award at the perfect time and it will stand at my work desk as a permanent reminder to continue working on the film realm.

From your perspective, what are the elements that have persuaded the jury to award your film the DAS Award 2014? As we know the members of the DAS Award’s jury come from 7 different European countries.

I guess you’d have to ask the jury as only they know - and as you noted correctly, its members come from 7 different countries with different cultural, social and even linguistic backgrounds, so each one of them might have been moved by different aspects of the film (and, therefore, universality has to be one of the qualities of it). Changing a bit your proposition, and putting the emphasis on what I believe to be more unique about it, I would say one of “The Quest of the Schooner Creoula”’s stronger assets is the way it interweaves different styles, techniques and tone into a cohesive single stream made out of a thorough editing process - it’s definitely a film made in the editing room. Using a critic’s review to further explain this idea, “what is most surprising about the film is how easy it goes from mundane situations and rude language (…) to dramatic and emotional tales of shipwrecks and maritime disasters”.

The award ceremony will take place in Cannes in the course of the famous film festival. Is this fact important for you and how do you see the role of film festivals generally?

Cannes does mean a lot given the inherent quality of the festival as well as the whole imagery surrounding it; it’s the cherry on the top of the award. Generally speaking about festivals, they are a crucial tool for filmmakers for many reasons: to be inspired by other people’s work and to get acquainted with new trends; to discuss ideas with other filmmakers and programmers; to give exposure to your work; and to increase your network, especially for those who sit on the fringes of the production system.

Along with the DAS Award you will be honoured by 5 000 euros to support your film career. What are your future plans? Has another interesting topic been occupying your mind for a while?

What usually occupies my mind is where I will get funded instead of what I will do next, and in that sense the prize money that comes along with the Doc Alliance Selection Award will be an important support to pay off all the time I’ve invested in the Quest of the Schooner Creoula. As for future projects, I’m never short on subjects to work with - I have a list with dozens of documentaries I’d like to do - but I have to say that the ones that have been more prevalent in my mind lately is one about my view of the end of the world and another essay that sets place on a specific region in Portugal –Douro - where I recently shot a film for the Douro Museum.

And with the last question a short invitation to the cinema… How would you invite viewers and fans of DAFilms.com to watch your film?

In the past I’d have to explain what the film is about and the qualities of it; now, I guess I’d say viewers it won Doc Alliance Selection Award - is there any better presentation card?

Thank you for your time, Andre and on behalf of our DAFilms team I have to add “Congratulations“!

Andrea of DAFilms team

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