20th Oct 2018

I am very happy that my new film, SEARCHING FOR INGMAR BERGMAN, is having its Australian premiere at the Canberra International Film Festival.  I’ve never been to Canberra, let alone Australia, but it’s good to know that so many of my films have screened there in the past, and now my new film.

On the surface, this film is a documentary that tries to understand Ingmar Bergman’s genius, but it is also partly autobiographical and explores aspects of my own creative life as a director.  It was Bergman who inspired me to become a director and who guided my hand on many occasions throughout my career, as you will see in the film.

I really admire and respect your Canberra festival for modelling itself as a retrospective film event.  As I have attempted in my film, there is so much to be gained by investigating our cinema heritage, experiencing it with new eyes, asking questions of it, re-interpreting it, and through this process gaining a new understanding of our history, our past values, our past ideas and experiences.

To me, there is no separation between our film history and our present-day culture.  Commercial forces like to focus on the “New” and may sometimes make it hard to find ways of accessing our past, but festivals like yours in Canberra are really important in bringing our heritage to life again.

If you can, please support the festival in what it aspires to do.  I will follow what happens with great interest.  I know that traces of my own past exist deep in the collection of your National Film and Sound Archive, in the form of 35mm prints of several of my early films, and I hope that you may be able to re-discover these in future festivals as opportunities arise.

SEARCHING FOR INGMAR BERGMAN screens at CIFF on Saturday 27 October at 4.30 at the NFSA’s Arc Cinema