Filmmaker and Official Jury president, Alexander Payne, thinks that working as a juror at a film festival is a fairly subjective process, and finds it difficult judging other directors’ work so he prefers to respond to it on an emotional level. As for the importance of film as a contemporary art form, he feels that although we like to think that cinema can help to change the world we live in, he’s fairly pessimistic in this regard, at least in the short term. There are certain films like Errol Morris’s The Thin Blue Line that have an immediate social impact, but he thinks that in general film merely has a testimonial value that will allow future generations, when they watch a contemporary film, to have a record of our current way of life.
He is grateful for the opportunity that being a film jury president provides to watch films from all over the world, where you can see the humanistic vision that American cinema has lost that was such a vital part of the 1970s films that he grew up with.
The message he has for future generations of filmmakers is fairly positive: while breaking into the film industry is increasingly difficult, it’s become much cheaper to make films – anyone can buy a camera, shoot a film and edit it at home. And although contemporary cinema may be mediocre, television is going through a golden age.