His credentials are endless. Historian, film critic, producer, director and programmer of some of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, Marco Müller is what we could call a multitasking man, a versatile artist who puts his passion and knowledge into cinema from different angles. Yesterday, he gave a master class at Espacio Aldrey, an enjoyable and relaxed dialogue with the audience, where he mainly talked about the huge task and responsibility of programming a film festival.
According to Müller, "festivals are an antidote against State’s censorship and their aim is to add diversity to reality”.
However, explained Müller, this diversity is not directly in tune with the visibility given to the films’ directors since each country tends to program the same group of directors. "There is no complete democracy in festivals; they are not copies of worldwide geopolitics, though they should be places with no passport control and that reject controlled certificate of origin”.
To take care of this, Festivals have programmers, whom Marco refers to as "manufacturers, builders, inventors, cultural guardians, individuals who, with a seismograph, decide what will come”. With a vast international experience in the subject, Marco assures that "you program a festival first with your guts, then with your heart and intellect”.
And those inventors, in order to plan the films they will screen in a Festival, have an audience in mind, though there is no such thing as a general audience, but rather groups of individuals, of "sensitive spectators”. The programmer smooths the path and spectators walk alone through that broad spectrum of possibilities. For Müller, there is no such thing as the audience taste, but rather "the possibility of sensitizing the audience with things unlike anything done before”.
Regarding the awards of the films in competition, Marco explains that, regarding the audience, they can be double-edged swords. Just like sometimes prizes are seals of quality for a film or a filmmaker, there are people who do not watch films awarded in certain festivals, because they do not agree with the usual awarding criteria or are not attracted to the program.
And this is when the role of the programmer is most useful, since he has the ability –and the heart- to choose films that attract people, that bring about questions but do not provide answers, that question the potential audience. Müller does not like "ghetto” festivals, for example, a documentary festival, a short film festival, a genre festival. Müller believes, above all things, in the diversity to reach a wider audience, to feed off several nationalities and styles.
And by diversity he does not only mean geographical but also temporal. For Müller, feedback with past cinema is paramount, for example, after watching a restored copy of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in this edition of the Festival. "But if the restored film is screened in 4k and not on film, some of that original spirit is lost. All film festivals need the past”, stated Müller.
Because programming Festivals, bringing as much present and past reality to the audience as possible is a responsibility, a passion and a form of art. And Marco Müller is a true artist when it comes to connecting worlds and realities.