DAC – Best Director in the Argentine Competition - Néstor Frenkel, for «The Winners»

Documentary intelligently built on the logic of success. Following the different characters participating in the amateur award ceremony in the culture area, Néstor Frenkel manages a film that asks with sensitive humor about the real nature of the recognition need. The Winners poses a little known underworld working as a metaphor of a universe that only cares about result, in which a statuette works as the only entitlement of talent.

How does the idea of your documentary originate?

The documentary originates from my friendship with Jorge Mario, the main character of Amateur-2011-. He told me that he was coming to Buenos Aires to be given an award for his radio program. I accompanied him to the ceremony, the experience was intense, and I began to understand something of that world and make me some questions that led me to make this documentary.

In your long career in documentary, what does The Winners add to the corpus of your work?

I couldn't tell you. I don't think about a "work" or a continuity. I do know I have a way of working and approaching my "subject matters" that I adapt to each situation.

The search of the main character is also part of your film and it's a very interesting narrative characteristic. How did you work this particularity at the time of shooting?


The film is honest but not realistic. Things didn't happen in the precise way or order they are told. The least consistent with reality is the story line of the main character's search, absolutely built with the edition and the voice over. I took advantage of some situations and emphasized others to add a bit of suspense and make the audience feel that the film is being built while they are watching it.

There's a right spot when observing such a particular underworld and there are no opinions, the impressions are on the audience part. What elements did you take into account to do something like this?

It's inevitable to think in each cut, what things one chooses to leave outside the film, the order of the footage, the music. But I also believe that the most interesting films are the ones which are not so convinced and don't try to convince, that allow each spectator to watch them and enjoy them from his or her own point of view. What I take into account is if one is honest, delves into the gaze and thinking, and if the chosen topic for the documentary is rich enough, there are always more questions than answers.

Your film displays a sensitive and intelligent humor, was this developed during the process or it was a decision taken from the beginning of the documentary? How did you work this?

Thanks for your words, I'm happy the film is seen like this. Of course I do my best to make a documentary with sensitivity and intelligence, and humor is a constant in my job and in my life. It's my way of approaching things, and also distancing from things a little.

A. S.

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