[Filmfestivalresearch] Lia Van Leer and some thoughts on passing away

Dina Iordanova dina.iordanova at st-andrews.ac.uk
Tue Jul 21 11:53:37 CEST 2015

Dear friends and colleagues,

Reading this morning through a Screen International item called JERUSALEM
COMMEMORATES LIA VAN LEER, which talks of an event in memory of this
hugely inspirational figure.
I admit, the news of Lia Van Leer's death earlier in this year (March
2015) has passed me by and it is only today that I realised she is no
longer around.

I am deeply saddened. Back in 2013-2014, when Stefanie Van de Pier and I
were preparing the book FILM FESTIVALS AND THE MIDDLE EAST, we tried to
arrange to feature an interview with her.
A friend from Haaretz planned to go from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to do it
for us, but at the end it did not work out and we could not include what I
believed could have become one of the most precious parts of the volume.
Then, during a conference in Abu Dhabi last May, I had conversations with
people from New York who were about to meet with her, in hope that a
substantial interview about her life and time in global cinema may
materialise. I am not sure if they managed to collect material, though.
Will we ever have an account of this extraordinary life? I see people like
Dieter Kosslick and Amos Gitai have shared memories about her at the
festival in Jerusalem, and am sure that her spirit will keep on living in
Israel at large. Let's hope that writing about her will be published in
the future, and that whatever appears would go beyond the confines of one
single country. 

Because, as most similar figures, Lia's significance was far beyond Israel
and mainly mattered in this elusive transnational context that we all talk
about and live in all the time and yet somehow do not manage, still, to
create a corresponding record of.

In recent years, I keep living this intense feeling of irretrievable loss
each and every time when I see yet another one of the great 'sole traders'
that make up the fabric of transnational cinema disappear from the scene.
I lost my friend Ron Holloway, then Alberto Elena, now Lia Van Leer -- who
I barely knew but who was a soulmate nonetheless. How can we preserve a
memory that is of huge importance for our understanding of how the
festival world, and thus global cinema, comes together and functions? It
is the moves that these people made and the projects they relentlessly
pursued that bring it into existence and perpetuate it. Each one of these
deaths is not just about the disappearance of a person; it is about our
lost chance to make sense of how this amazing vibrant circuit comes
together and is kept alive by the loose connections of these people.


Dina Iordanova FRSA
Professor of Global Cinema and Creative Cultures
Director, IGCCC
Publisher, St Andrews Film Studies
University of St Andrews, Scotland



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