interview with Jéssica Domínguez
5 June 2019 - The International Zinema School Fest presented its first edition in 2018 organised by Begira Elkartea, with the participation of 35 end-of-year film works of schools from all over Europe. The festival also had the participation of important professionals and experts from the cultural sector. Among them is Jéssica Domínguez, Head of Culture for Development at UNESCO – Basque Country Centre, who tells us about her experience at the festival.
What was your jury experience at International Zinema School Fest 2018?
It was a very positive experience. It gave me the opportunity to get to know the work that film students from all over Europe are doing, with great artistic quality, and to reflect thanks to the content and the wide variety of messages transmitted. It was also a challenge to assess such different and complex works, and to choose the ones that would finally make up the list of winners.
What would you highlight about the awarded works?
I think all the experts of the jury agreed that they were all works of great technical and artistic quality, and all contained messages for social transformation, calling for reflection on different realities.
What would you like to see in the 2019 edition of the festival in terms of participation and themes?
I would like to see proposals that included diversity in all its forms, such as sexual and gender diversity, functional diversity, diversity of origin, etc. Also, I think it would be interesting to have a broader participation of film students from multiple countries and contexts (both cultural and economic), to allow us to get closer to the realities they live.
As an expert in culture and development, what place do you consider cinema occupies in the current cultural panorama?
Clearly, cinema is one of the most important creative industries within the cultural sector and one of the products that is best valued in terms of GDP and its contribution to culture for development. However, at qualitative level, film is much more. It is a great tool to communicate complex ideas, stories and social processes. Thanks to its strong visual impact, and its platform to publicise independent productions, it has great capacity to generate critical awareness, and therefore, it has huge potential to work with both young and adult audiences.
How do you think cultural associations and public institutions can contribute to creating new audiences, as well as a more inclusive and diverse cultural sector?
Cultural associations, public institutions and also media must be able to generate attractiveness to the cultural sector at a broader level, and specifically towards film and audiovisual art. It is essential to try to "cultivate from the roots", developing programmes in the formal and non-formal educational environments that help understand the diversity of people and realities that exist in the world as something very valuable and enriching. For this, it is absolutely necessary to convey messages that make visible inclusion, equity, and respect for rights as basic concepts.
What message would you send to new talents that look into making inroads in the audiovisual and cultural sector?
I would tell them not to give up and pursue their dreams. I would encourage them to work, be formed and share with other people and associations that can serve as a platform. Despite the adversity in the sector due to the lack of economic resources, I would advise them to take advantage of the fact that we live in a global reality where it is easier to build bridges and create networks with projects that are truly willing to invest on young talents with a lot to say.
More information on Jessica and her work on www.unescoetxea.org