During the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival we had the chance of interview Benoit Lelièvre, executive producer of the Serbian documentary Another Possibility. The Doc shows the dramatic moments of the pandemic in Serbia through the eyes of several protagonists and at the same time the positive health cooperation between China and Serbia with the arrival of the vaccines. The doctor and the mother are effectively inserting the viewers at the center of the drama transmitting, through their genuine emotions, the anxieties of these dark moments. With the arrival of the vaccines we receive a message of hope that the pandemic can be finally stopped with the contribution of everybody.
Can you introduce this documentary project you presented here in at the Cannes Film Festival?
This project is an initiative of the Serbian film director Ivica Vidanovic. Serbia is one of our European countries that unfortunately, at the beginning of the COVID crisis while France, Germany and Italy were fighting the pandemic because we were unprepared, we were not able to help. On the other side it was China who was very fast helping this small country, the Chinese sent millions of vaccine doses and medical assistance which is something few people in western Europe knows. This documentary was done by a Serbian group wanting to show how they were able to limit, resists, come out from the crisis; it was then important for then to stress how they were able to benefit from an unexpected help from a country located at the other side of the planet.
There were various important Serbians that were interviewed in order to testify about the dramatic moments of the crisis, can you talk about this aspect?
Among the “ protagonists “ we see the Serbian Prime Minister and we see that in the documentary, it is tragic how he is living a crisis where he sees his people dying then we have the doctor who was in charge of the pandemic management who able to coordinate all different teams. We see in the documentary then a sport journalist that gave his picture of how the pandemic affected him from the professional point of view and at the end he also highlighted how this help was able to normalize the crisis situation. The director followed people who were directly involved in the fight against the pandemic but also people who were “victims” of the pandemic in order to have different pint of view on the situation.
Did you film in the hospitals?
Yes, there are also some TV shots and some archive images but apart from that all the images were shot by our crew in the hospitals obviously with the necessary authorizations.
I guess you were facing multiple challenges during this project, how did you cope with them?
Yes, it was not easy but the subject matter was important, we are living an historical period and the history books are going to talk about 2019, 2020, 2021 as the years of the big epidemic of the 21st century. As we live this historical period we need to show and report about it, we have then also to show the various mistakes we made in order not to repeat them in the future.
The “characters” in the documentary are acting in some parts of documentary ?
No, every person you see on screen was not acting then there was an editing process, during the shooting process they were talking about what they were sincerely feeling during that period, it was not staged at all.
What will be the future of this documentary?
During a first period like all independent projects, this Doc will travel to for sure to other festivals while in Cannes we had our first international screening. We are then putting in place an international distribution hoping to create interest on a pandemic story taking place in Serbia.