Indian newspaper The Post interviewed Woodwind director Fin Manjoo, since the movie is set in Varanasi, the Himalayas and many other towns on the foothills of the Indian mountains.
An early cut of Woodwind screened in competition at the Cape Town International Film Festival on October 16.
Here’s a few additional extracts from Manjoo’s own words in the interview with The Post (that the newspaper didn’t have space for), and we will provide you with a link to the article below:
“The way society is setup, most places favour the science or business field and in SA it’s even more extreme due to a lack of opportunities in the arts. We know there’s a large percentage of humans who are creative in the arts, and our society needs to realize this value. You can’t have an artist working a gold mine with heavy lifting, he has to dream of the places to find the gold. When I lived in Austria I noticed the vast difference in how artists and academics were funded there.
“I use the word art because that is what I’m interested in. Film as art, for cultural value, to enhance and enrichen our lives, or to at least share a powerful, important experience with audiences. I also watch entertainment but that’s a whole different approach created like a business for target groups. I grew up near many relatives in Durban businesses and if I was interested in selling things to make money, I could’ve gone that direction. I started working at shops in town from the age of 10 because my family had a tough upbringing where they all had to do so. I know exactly how the business world functions but I never wanted to be a businessman filmmaker. I wanted to make films that have a value for our souls for all time. Not a film that entertains for a few years, gives me money and then the film is long forgotten. That’s selfish and irresponsible to true growth. There are many filmmakers who inspired me with their approach, to show that it can be done.
“Critics from Europe may undervalue India’s cultural worth to the art world, but that is not true. Look at Indian Classical Music which was so advanced that the best Western Classical musicians are only starting to discover and understand the advanced Eastern techniques in recent years. The story of Woodwind underlines this worth when an artist travels from the west to the east. The irony is that the quality of Indian cinema and music suffered because it was copying the lower quality entertainment structures from the United States, but if you look further back in history you would find true quality in Indian art.
“What if my films don’t make a pot of gold, or my subjects are not in fashion right now? I don’t care. I’m not doing this just for people right now. Not for myself. I want to create art that endures as a living memory through time. In a backward society that has no support for the artist, you have to first survive, my wife lived through a war in Europe and there’s many wars that continue in the world today. But if a culture advances to a high level, then we can afford to create art and the people will have the time to be stimulated by it, instead of being so tired at the end of their working day, that all they have energy for is escapism.
“So, yes, art is my life. How all of this connects is also reflected in the character in my story of Woodwind, which is inspired by my own experience, only the character is a music composer.”
What are your future plans and goals?
“For people to notice the magic all around them. To recognize this through my film, Woodwind and everything else going forward.”
What has been your greatest accomplishment thus far?
“I like to believe that every little deed has an infinite value, that everything special that I’ve done in my life is thanks to the life and abilities given to me. But I know what you’re asking. Then it has to be making this film Woodwind, and even if I make a grander film 10 years from now, Woodwind will still be my best achievement when you take into account all the obstacles we faced. We moved mountains to make this film. In future we probably won’t have to move the mountain.”
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
“When you watch Woodwind, this won’t come as a surprise. To be in nature. The woods, the fields and watching the flow of water.”
Read The Post’s full article in the pdf version of the newspaper page here.