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CIRCLE 2019 Participants: Meet Joanna Janikowska - “Comrades”

Updated: Feb 12, 2020

Q: Please introduce yourself and your project briefly.

A: I’m a polish documentary director and cinematographer. I took part in Circle with my project Comrades - a feature length documentary about three modern young Italians who believe in communism. We follow them both in their private and political life. In a bigger picture it’s a portrait of young modern europeans and different paths each of them can choose.

Q: What was the biggest challenge in making this film?

A: It’s my first feature length project so already because of that it’s very challenging. But doing it about modern comunists, while coming from a post comunist country, is a way different level of difficultiness!

Q: Can you compare your experience at CIRCLE with other similar platforms that you have been part of?

Circle is a really unique program, both because it’s destined to female filmmakers, which creates a great and safe space for participants but also because of it’s international aspect — it gives you possibility to talk to people from various cultural backgrounds. It brings more space for creativity while developing your project and searching for your own style. No risk of being formatted.

Q: What were the most important benefits from being part of CIRCLE project?  

A: First of all, with other participants of the program we created a really beautiful and supportive group where we could freely discuss all the challenges connected both to our projects, but also to our careers as female filmmakers in general. We exchanged our knowledge in a way that no official lessions or courses could do. But then we had also an impressive amount of meetings with professionals from different parts of the industry. This diversity helped not only to develop our films, but also to understand better the documentary cinema industry in general.

Q: What advice do you have for other (female) directors?

A: To trust their intuition and to network. To meet people and talk freely about what fascinates them, because only this way then they can meet those people who will support them and help them achieve their goals.

Q: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

A: Even though I’m very into formal films with strong artistic vision, I admire also more socially engaged films. I love for example Laura Poitras and her Citizenfour, for her courage.

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