What’s on the programme for 2023?
The editors are busy elaborating the programme right now, though it will of course focus on films. We will announce the themes as soon as we know for certain that we can screen a number of key films. Our call for entries from filmmakers is open until 10 May (click here for further details). I can lift a corner of the veil, however. Architecture is currently facing some issues that really matter. The choices that have to be made will have major spatial consequences, for everybody. Young people are taking to the streets to demand good-quality affordable homes, and farmers are taking to the barricades in response to the agricultural transition and the nitrogen issue. There is also a growing awareness that we can no longer tap into resources somewhere else, in ways harmful to nature and people, just so that we can continue building as before. People all over the world are at a loss because of climate change, while the claims exerted on our living environment are increasingly controversial. We have a number of really interesting films in mind that can explore this line of thinking.
What do you hope to achieve with this edition of AFFR?
We want the festival programme to exert more impact. We want our films, and the conversations they spark, fed by informed introductions, debates and Q&As, to have a lasting effect on our audiences. Film is an excellent medium for telling stories in an appealing way. They can encompass the whole world, and the magic of images can change your perspective forever. We want AFFR to be even more of a festival that you cannot afford to miss if you care about the city and countryside in any way. This year you will hear from us sooner and more frequently, with interesting articles on the website and on other platforms. We have so much to offer as a festival, and we want to communicate and share that knowledge more effectively.
You are interim director; why not simply director?
For the past six years I’ve been treasurer of the board of AFFR. When we didn’t immediately find a suitable successor to Joep Mol, the board took a closer look at the organizational model of the festival. The timing was right because AFFR is growing, and growth benefits from sound direction. How can we avoid inadvertently bursting at the seams and, instead, ensure that we smartly anticipate the future and act on it now? In recent years we noticed that minor changes to our team occasionally required major efforts to keep the festival running smoothly – energy that came at the expense of further content development. Moreover, certain high-quality films that would be a perfect match for the festival are financially out of our reach. As interim director, I want to safeguard the quality of the festival without risking its continued existence. In addition, I want to achieve greater efficiency within the current organization and ensure a more stable flow of revenue. In short: my role is to lead a team that, with an appropriate division of tasks and workload, is ready to make a leap in scale.