In 2022, we are hungry to meet the public in theatres once again. After the last two editions were haunted by the pandemic, we're back to accomplish the project of making a film festival that stirs downtown Porto. In 2014, when we started, we were quite isolated as film programmers in the centre of the city, but a few years later Cinema Trindade joined us as a companion in our adventures, and now, with a date set for December, Batalha Cinema Centre will open. The public and the city have gained from the diversity of offers that have been created in the meantime, from commercial theatres to various festivals, which naturally increases the responsibility of all of us, as programmers. At Porto/Post/Doc we are sure that this vitality will contribute to cementing new and expanded cinema habits, leading to an increase of audience in the theatres.
But something changed in the way we watch cinema before and after the pandemic. These two years of reclusion changed, forever, our social habits. It is fundamental, for everyone, to focus on new publics. A film festival must, inevitably, be a popular place of encounter, which is why it is fundamental for us to consolidate our links with younger audiences (who, baited by countless merely recreational audiovisual proposals, need this type of cultural experience). Only in this way will it be possible to continue to give meaning to our work, and keep cinema what it has always been: a popular and easily accessible language, for all.
In this ninth edition we will continue to call downtown cinemas our home. The opening will take place in the grand room of the Coliseu, where we closed the festival in 2021. This time, our partnership offers the national premiere of a film that gathers memories of popular music through the unique figure of Leonard Cohen. In front of the biggest screen in the city, we hope that Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song will gather together various generations, to fill a room that itself has marked many of the city's memories of cinema and music. Porto/Post/Doc’s programme will then take place between 17-26 November in Passos Manuel Cinema and the two screens of Trindade Cinema, with obligatory daily stops in the comfort of Maus Hábitos – the festival’s headquarters for this intense week. The Casa Comum of the University of Porto's Rectory will also be an obligatory place on the itinerary.
Throughout the eleven days of PPD, the festival's programmers present a set of challenging, risky and pleasurable films, whose selection results from intense debates between the team and a conscious reflection upon cinema as a continuing territory of profound interaction with the world. The various competitions of the festival, International, Cinema Falado, New Cinema and Transmission, between them share a great capacity to reconcile us with our own story, making it somehow visible (either in the spirit of discovering new names, or by their links to themes and authors). This is, therefore, a place for cinema and its authors, for original artists who are faithful to a language that makes us feel part of a whole, and which recognises in cinema the necessary strength to resist totalitarianism and the manipulation of the masses.
With the programme ‘We, The Revolution’, with which we highlight Hungarian cinema through six entrancing films by Márta Mészáros and Miklós Jancsó, we focus on history, its myths and its representation. Between documentary and fiction, these are films that speak to us of the dangers of not valuing collective memory; a memory which in turn visits us through the cinema. This is a cinema that reminds us that we must look, first, before even trying to believe. Meanwhile, the focus dedicated to Sierra Pettengill brings to the festival a contemporary look at memory, politics and the media, through a cinema that is built around the urgency of looking again at images of the past (archive images) in order to reflect, in a conscious way, upon the actions of our present day representatives.
Our educational project reaffirms itself this year. Firstly through involvement with the schools of Porto and Greater Porto through regular workshops developed across the school year. Secondly, alongside the presence of students in the festival’s theatres, the educational service will bring, throughout this week, several dozen classes to the cinema, from screenings designed for the youngest up to the work done by the Teenage jury, from the Microcosmos workshop for parents and children to the competition for young authors of Cinema Novo (where the new names of Portuguese cinema are affirmed). It is here that we find the only possibility of being able to maintain for the future (and grow) an informed and curious public that, above all, believes in cinema as an essential element of its formation as autonomous and culturally plural individuals.
The programme around issues associated with mental health, which we have called "Neurodiversity", occupies a prominent place in this edition. As a coherent festival that joins the causes it believes in, we bring you five stories that bring to the screen powerful representations of neurodiverse people, and the various forms that mental illnesses can take – as well as ways of living with them (overcoming or being consumed by them).
The diversity of cinematic languages that can be discovered in this edition finds one of its most complete examples in ‘Europa 61’, which, for the first time, now joins PPD for the week. Through ‘Cinefiesta’, and the new section ‘New Talents’ – dedicated this year to Switzerland – we also accompany this desire to go simultaneously further and closer, gathering films and subjects that, far from the standards of more commercial cinema, find in this festival a privileged and responsible means of reaching a public.
Industry, a section dedicated to national production and to the development of regional structures for the creation and production of cinema, finds, in this weeklong confluence of international participants, an appropriate moment for meetings between the sector’s professionals. This year, dedicated to France and Spain, the set of activities will count on programmers, distributors and producers, who seek to establish partnerships for the development and promotion of new projects.
To conclude, our most beloved project: ‘Working Class Heroes’. This programme, which started in 2021, translates into an annual invitation to Portuguese and international filmmakers, that seeks to create the conditions for the production of a film made about, and from, Porto’s stories. Stories that have been lost in memory and that need to be told on film, stories of the anti-heroes of the working class, who were, after all, the protagonists of our cultural and social movements.
As a team, we assume our love for cinema. It is important, for all of us, to share this celebration with you, in a unique and memorable way. See you in the cinema.