The internationally acclaimed and multi-awarded American director Jay Rosenblatt was at Play-Doc 2010 presenting a retrospective of his work.

Welcome to PLAY-DOC 2011

In Galicia where the fried Padrón peppers are heavenly and the local cheese is soft and creamy, there is a place where one can answer the question: “Where did you go this morning?” with the answer, “I took a walk to Portugal.” It is here, every March, that there is a small film festival. It is here in the town of Tui (a border town where there is no longer a border) that there is Play Doc: an intimate festival, a friendly festival and yes, a fun festival. The name says it all. Play. Doc. At first glance this seems incongruent. Play is not what one thinks of when one thinks about documentary. Yet it works. It is not as if the subject matter of the films is light or frivolous. Many of the docs are serious, provocative and enlightening. It is more about the atmosphere of the festival. There is an excitement in the air. A celebratory feeling. A sense of sharing. A sense of community. There is one venue so everyone can see every film if they choose. This is unique and wonderful. As life seems to be getting tougher for many of us we need events like this to help us remember our shared humanity.

Then there are the guests, the filmmakers. The films compete for a prize but the filmmakers don’t. Instead they bond with each other and share meals, experiences and each other’s work. My hunch is that it all has something to do with the care and attention the festival directors put into their festival, into your festival. That and the food, wine and music help a bit too.

Making films is not easy. One puts their heart and soul into it, along with some blood, sweat and tears. If you’re lucky it comes out close to what you imagined. If for some inexplicable reason you are momentarily blessed then it can exceed what you had imagined. But as pleased as one might be, the complete fulfillment comes when it is shown to an audience. But not every audience is the same. Some are closed and some are open. Some are alienating and some are welcoming. Some are stingy and some are generous. The audiences in Tui, at Play Doc, were open, welcoming and very generous.

On a personal note, last year, when I was about to leave the closing night staff party, everyone stopped what they were doing and started clapping. I will never forget this moment. It touched me to my very soul. I feel very fortunate to have been in Tui in 2009 and 2010. And now it is my great honor to welcome you to the 2011 Play Doc. If this is your first time here it probably won’t be the last. If you have been here before, welcome back. And if you are lucky enough to have a film here I hope you have a wonderful experience showing your work. And maybe, just maybe you’ll be back too...

Jay Rosenblatt