Interview with Francisca Mu?oz, founder of Arquitecture Film Festival Santiago (AFFS)

AFFS will be the first Architecture Film Festival in South America. Why did you decide to organize a film festival dedicated to architecture? What was your main objective?

AFFS: The members of the collective AFFS of Chile have followed with great enthusiasm and admiration the development of the architecture film festival Rotterdam AFFR and the similar initiatives in Europe to start off this triggering event. As architects, we were interested in the discussion that was generated around these festivals and it seemed that film was an excellent platform to broaden the reflection on architecture beyond the academic and technical world of the professionals directly tied to the field. Our initial incentive, then, is to inspire a broader public to reflect on the city through film. We want everyone to realize that architecture is alive, which is part of their daily lives, and it directly affects us and influences our social relations.

The Festival will be held in 2012 October. Could you uncover some of your plans for us?

AFFS: Our programming content shares many of the same aspects as those of the festivals that take place in the world, nevertheless, we want to put a distinctive stamp on our exhibition, giving priority to content created in Latin America and Chile, providing a new space of visibility to the creators of the continent. In the medium term, we are committed to the promotion of film production that incorporates architecture as a protagonist, however, we hope that the four-day long festival will be more like a Celebration of Architecture, where the public can participate not only in the projects, but also lectures, urban tours, installations, and other activities, experiencing the city in a unique way.

What issues in architecture and urban planning fascinate people the most these days? What are the most relevant questions of this field in South America or in Chile nowadays?

AFFS: Within the general public, the most relevant discussions today in Chile and South America are related to excessive urban growth, poor integration of cities and the lack of green areas. In some groups that are more ?conscious? ? academicians and also citizens – there is concern about the issue of heritage. For example, in recent days, the construction of a giant shopping mall in the city of Castro caused great commotion in the media and social networking sites. The criticized construction is taking place in a historic part of the city, very close to 1 of the 16 Chilean churches in the World Heritage list by UNESCO. This landmark case shows that architecture can become a subject of common interest; it can receive the critical eye of the ordinary citizen, and be deconstructed by a technical, academic, and why not say, egomaniacal eye.

Julia Oravecz, March 9, 2012.

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