Welcome Helke Misselwitz

I remember a long table covered in white in the open air at an inn in the Monte Aloia Natural Park.

Sitting under cypress, fir and cedar trees (what a fragrance, that one had) with filmmakers, film critics and the festival team. Enjoying wine and traditional food. We chatted animatedly about film and life. Then we walked in groups through the park between granite boulders and wild horse tracks, hoping to catch a glimpse of one of those rare and shy animals. The horses I didn’t see, but donkeys I did, later on the big screen, at the concert that night. A wonderful proposal full of surprising sounds and images.

I had never heard of the Play-doc festival until when Sara García Villanueva and Ángel Sánchez invited me to accompany a retrospective of my first films, made in the 1980s to 1990s at the DEFA Studio for Documentary Films.

During those days in Tui I came to understand why there, in Galicia, there is an international documentary film festival.

Firstly, it is a historically significant city, whose testament to the passage of time carved in stone accompanies the films as testimonies of its time. From my hotel room I could see the Miño River, which carries water from the mountains to the sea and forms the border between the two countries, Spain and Portugal.

As good cinema also shows, boundaries can be transcended, enriching us, enlightening us, stimulating our imagination, giving us hope that life is not only cruel but also beautiful and that it is up to us to change it.

And then there are the people of Tui. For me, as a director, I loved being approached in the street by women from the village in the days that followed. Women who had seen my films and said that they had given them courage and excitement to live.

Thank you Sara, Angel, Jorge and the whole Play-doc team, who made this unforgettable experience possible for me.

Helke Misselwitz