That a music festival made of documentaries from backstage lasts for 20 years in Spain, is an oddity that needs to be praised and admired, almost like a miracle. Fortunately, director Uri Altell has made real magic with tight budgets, overcoming all the odds, while surviving the pandemic and readjusting to a new market. Here is an interview by Neus Flores with this guru of almost-impossible-surviving-festivals that cannot be missed:
How was the In-Edit festival born 20 years ago? Any anecdotes you can share?
This kind of festival format rarely existed when it was born, and documentaries about music, bands, or scenes were not abundant either. In the 2000s, the videoclip culture was still more relevant and maybe that’s why, in a way, we helped pave the way, or made the format more visible, thanks to the help of music. Logically, In-Edit was born with uncertainty and its survival was not guaranteed at first. After 20 years, we are aware that this festival has only been able to get this far thanks to the audience, and the market.
Why did you direct In-Edit in the first place, when it was so risky?
In-Edit is a very peculiar project. As a founder, I have been working with directors of different headquarters until a few years ago, when I decided to stay as director in Spain, and I consider it a luxury. In-Edit is probably the most pampered and safeguarded project since I started in this field 22 years ago. So, I have to thank the work of the festival’s team and staff. I am referring to everybody: those who are no longer here, to those who are still here, and to those who once collaborated with us. In-Edit is an amazing festival, and when I had the opportunity to be more involved in it, I didn’t hesitate, and I did it.
What would you consider to be your all-time best musical documentary so far?
I always say the same thing, but that’s just the way it is: Searching for sugar man. The film was a very emotional revolution in my professional and personal life. It really is a great work with a good fictional structure, a clever plot twist, and a great main character. In short, a tremendous story that is capable of showing the glory and misery of a human being in equal parts. In addition, I was lucky enough to be on a promotional tour in several countries with the director, Malik Bendjelloul, who received an Oscar for Best Documentary, but sadly passed away in 2017.
What band would you like to see a documentary of, but haven´t, yet?
Although it is true that he has already been present in films as a director, activist, or producer, I believe that Fermín Muguruza‘s personal story is yet to be told. A portrait that honours him and shows his humanity. Fermín is extraordinary, and singular.
Both, music and artist markets, were very different when you started, what changes have you experienced with bands?
The first thing I would like to say is that one cannot forget that film and music are two different industries. Separately, they have their own characteristics. And when they are combined, they have their own characteristics. At In-Edit we work with directors and production companies; we are also in touch with the artists, but as what they are: the real voices of stories. In fact, we rely so much on this perspective, that the festival’s new claim is Big stories for a big screen. Perhaps because artists have adjusted to the new demands of promoting themselves, their albums or tours, they have opted for social networks to show themselves, their universe, their intimacy. Objectively, this limits the cinematographic possibilities of storytelling somehow, but there are always fantastic points of view about creators who have a solid insight to offer. On the other hand, I would like to say that films about artists of the millennial and centennial generation, are currently more limited, and I would even say that nowadays the music documentary coexists and confronts the reality shows in one of the fetish genres of audiovisual storytelling of the 21st century.
Making business with culture is not an easy task, how did you keep In-Edit running for 20 years, and making profit out of it?
In-Edit celebrates 20 years thanks to a team that has built long-term relationships with sponsors and institutions. It has also been fundamental to franchise the brand in cities around the world that have been interested in the festival, by building trust with those who have supported us.
When was Feed Dog added to the festivals you manage? and why?
Moritz Feed Dog was born eight years ago to vindicate, among other things, that #fashionisculture but also #creativity, #innovation and a philosophy of life. Moreover, if you think about it, the three industries that benefit most from the fan phenomenon are music, fashion and the world of sport. People want to know what goes on in the public eye, what goes on backstage, what their homes and travels are like, how they think about those they admire, what they eat… The great opportunity that Moritz Feed Dog gives us, is that it contains a transversal approach to culture, as the attire praises the way of #self-expression, the feeling of belonging to the tribe. This is not a festival about the news, or the last trend, but about #anthropology, #design, #thought and #aesthetics, instead.
Would you like to direct another festival, not music related?
I can’t reveal anything yet, but it will happen soon.
Could you give some tips to those who would like to direct a cinema and music festival like In-Edit?
That they have patience and resilience. And also, that they are trained in the world of business and know the rules of the game, in depth. Being a film fan is not enough. That’s what critics and their opinions are for. A festival director has to know the mission, vision, and objectives of his, or her format, company, etc. And they must be interested in learning how to raise funds to make their financial plan a reality, and with the highest possible benefit.
What are your immediate future projects?
We are currently pre-producing two music documentaries, shooting a music documentary series, and organizing a new festival for next year.
Founder & director IN-EDIT
FILMS FROM THE BACKSTAGE
España :: Alemania ::Colombia ::Holanda ::Mexico ::Chile ::Brasil :: Grecia
For further info on cultural news, please check additional articles also written by international culture expert, mentor, filmmaker and journalist Neus Flores