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Interview with EDN Director Paul Pauwels: Emerging Talents, Film Schools & the Future of Documentary

While in Helsinki for the EDN Workshop "Twelve for the Future", EDN Director Paul Pauwels revealed his take on the challenges in the documentary sector and the vital role that film schools across Europe could play in shaping the future of the documentary industry.


In an interview recorded by students of the Vocational College of Helsinki, EDN Director Paul Pauwels expressed his views about what holds together the documentary industry, what young filmmakers should be aware of and the vital needs of the sector in future. Pauwels further highlights the key role that documentaries play today, as an opposing force to highly commercial, market-driven content available on multiple platforms and channels. He stresses the fact that documentary films significantly contribute to an open and democratic society but in order to fulfill this role, the sector requires continuous support and a dedicated, strong community of documentary professionals which naturally includes the public broadcasting sector across Europe.



Pauwels also addresses the question of innovative technologies and how this may (or may not) influence filmmakers, pointing out that - whatever these technologies will be in future - they are welcome 'tools' as long as they are supportive of the story, the basic premise and intention of the filmmaker.

EDN: Valuable first contact & information source for film students

Lastly, Pauwels places a strong emphasis on young talents graduating from film schools in Europe: for these young people it will be key to know the reality of the documentary industry prior to making their first film. Detailed information about financing, distribution, markets, festivals, co-production possibilities and the like is essential for young filmmakers and they should have dealt with these topics before setting foot in the industry. Another key aspect is of course 'networking': knowing the important players in the field and establishing long-lasting working relationships with film funds, broadcasters, distributors, festival responsibles etc, will lead to better career perspectives. This is where EDN comes into play: even without being a member, film students can get a good overview of the sector by accessing the information that is freely available on our website. As members, however, these emerging talents would be able to actively create a network and access key information about financing sources, co-production opportunities, training sessions, online pitchings and one-on-one consultation services. EDN is currently approaching film schools throughout Europe in order to arrange for memberships that can be granted to film students on behalf of their university.

Credits: Film produced by Riitta Sintonen, James Coker and Anni Markkanen

Stadin ammattiopisto / Vocational College of Helsinki

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