ChileDoc: Information is “power”, we can amplify it

What do you know about Chilean documentary film? Finally you have a unique chance to learn more both from our event of the week and exclusive interview with Flor Rubina, executive director of ChileDoc. Find your way to Chilean cinematography!

What do you know about Chilean documentary film? Finally you have a unique chance to learn more both from our event of the week and exclusive interview with Flor Rubina, executive director of ChileDoc. Find your way to Chilean cinematography!

The portal has a unique opportunity to release a selection of Chilean documentary films online thanks to a kind collaboration with ChileDoc for the first time. Could you tell us more about the role and aim of ChileDoc in your country and namely about the particular ways in which you are able to help Chilean cinematography? How come we meet you at so many European festivals?

ChileDoc is a private institution with support from our Council for the Arts and Culture. We were born in 2010 with the aim of helping the commercialization of Chilean documentary films inland and internationally. Chilean filmmakers are being recognized; their documentaries are receiving international funds and being selected at important festivals. Sharing, spreading, using the information and experiences that each has garnered is basic to know which possibilities we have as we travel on a common path.

With this perspective, we have focused on opening knowledge and spreading data; on transmitting experiences and teaching producers; on inviting relevant actors from the international industry, so they can get acquainted with Chile and, at the same time, provide consulting to Chilean filmmakers with projects in development.

Information is “power” but we think this power is amplified when we can take hold of it and redefine it. It is not just about “having information” but also about linking it to other sources, and building networks that strengthen production and promotion of the films.

Documentary film is deeply rooted in the history of filmmaking in Latin America. What is historically the position of non-fiction film in Chile?

Even though Chilean documentary filmmaking has had a deep commitment to politics and Human Rights, today the thematic and styles are characterized by their diversity, developing topics that range from small stories to the Big Topics such as social movements, environmental struggles or political campaigns.

What is the situation of documentary film in Chile nowadays? How many documentaries are completed per year, how are they financed and how do they get to their audiences?

We have been having a stable production in the last 10 years, producing between 15 to 20 documentaries per year. From this number, about a 65% have received governmental funds for development, production and/or distribution. The rest of documentaries are self financed, meaning that they work with very small budgets.

Most of the films are premiered in local festivals, or have local screenings; so many of them have trouble getting to wider audiences. In Chile, and most probably in the world, traditional distribution based on theatrical distribution is facing a serious crisis, making it more and more difficult to bring the audience to a theater. Television in Chile, on the other hand, has never been a real partner to develop our local audiovisual industry. They don’t coproduce and buy at really small prices.

We have a distribution program called MiraDoc (with governmental support) where we premiere 8 films per year. We started with eleven theaters in eight cities in 2013, and in 2015 we will cover 20 theaters in 17 cities. The challenge for us is to add value to these screenings, inviting the directors to each theater to share their experiences with the public.

There is also an increasing number of filmmakers that start liberating their film on the web. So new ways of distribution are absolutely relevant, and it is a must to explore different alternatives that let us get to new audiences.

How important are new ways of distribution to Chilean documentary film, for example an online distribution (VoD) or opportunities related to an alternative distribution?

Internet offers the best tools to reach new viewers, specially thinking of so many films that don’t get selected in renowned film festivals and markets, or are not released in theaters or screened on TV. Internet is a unique opportunity to explore and to democratize the access to these films.

The films presented in our online event list represent a variety of documentary approaches ranging from portraits, road movies to political documentaries. There is probably no such thing as a trend in cinema, however, what would you emphasize as the most significant aspect of Chilean filmmakers? What is it that makes the film a good film?

Something that we have definitely improved in the last decade is the cinematography of the films. Visual approach, sound design, and the search for new languages to tell stories are very important to our filmmakers.

As I mentioned before, diversity and eclecticism are characteristic of current Chilean documentary production. As any filmmaker, Chilean directors are looking for ways to reach global audiences through small stories that connect them with issues that any human being cares about. is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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