Interview by Melanie Picard

Be they the finest feature films, visionary made-for-television movies, interactive documentaries, or inspiring transmedia narratives, Festival Tous Ecrans—the Geneva International Film Festival or FTE—has it all. It definitively is an indispensable stop for contemporary audiovisual creations. And it takes place in Geneva from October 31st to November 7th, 2013.

Through STORY2023, swissnex San Francisco takes part in this year’s festival by bringing a special guest (to be announced any day now! Stay tuned!) from California who will share experiences from the West Coast’s entertainment scene.

FTEEmmanuel Cuénod, the festival’s new Executive & Artistic Director is getting ready for a memorable 19th edition, this year kicking-off an international transmedia competition. As transmedia is a focus of the festival this fall, we asked him a few questions about our favorite subject.

STORY2023: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Emmanuel Cuénod: I am a Swiss born journalist and producer who recently turned into a film festival director. In short: a lucky guy.

STORY2023: Transmedia is a focus for this year’s festival, why?

EC: Actually, transmedia was already part of our program the last few years but we decided to reinforce it with two strong initiatives: an international transmedia competition—with an international jury and a truly rewarding prize—and a new professional program of conferences called “Workflow – transmedia.” We hope that both will help the Swiss audience understand how transmedia transforms our way of producing images and stories. Also, we observed that even if artists can participate in transmedia labs or pitch session there are only very few international prizes to foster creativity in this field. We felt it was much needed.

STORY2023: Talking transmedia projects, do you have favorites?

EC: My favorites are for sure the twelve that we have competing at the next FTE edition but unfortunately I can’t say a word until our press conference on October 8th.

Last year, I really enjoyed Highrise from Katarina Cizek, a brilliant way to approach the complex reality of life in skyscrapers all around the world.

The crowdsourced web documentary 18 days in Egypt also fascinated me because it felt so fair politically. I strongly believe that a film about a revolution should not be made by one person but by all those who struggle. It is transmedia in its participatory component and definitively changed my way of seeing the links between art and politics.

STORY2023: Is transmedia a buzz word?

EC: Transmedia is a word that we NEED. We all need a global and simple word to define all those new ways to tell stories. Wrong or wright is not the question; we need it and have to let it grow in the public’s mind.

STORY2023: FTE also has a web series competition. Web series are everywhere these days; do you think they are changing the audiovisual production landscape?

EC: I don’t think so but this might change in the future if we see stronger propositions from the authors and more artistic risks taken on the producers’ side. For now, it allows young filmmakers and creators to emerge and make a breakthrough in the mainstream market.

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