The first workshop of EsoDoc 2011 starts in Bucharest on 15 May. It is our eighth year of running three summer workshops to encourage young documentary filmmakers to work in the areas of human rights and environmental protection. www.Esodoc.eu is an EU Media initiative administered by Zelig Film School in Italy. As always, two questions about EsoDoc concern me. Why are so many of the applicants to EsoDoc young women? – over 50 of the 65 who initially applied this year. Try as we might, 16 of the 22 who are coming to Bucharest are female. This, of course, is pleasant for us males though a better sex ratio is always a good thing. I can only think that young women have more of a social conscience than young men. In the gap year before university, a girl is teaching at a Nepalese hill school while her brother is on the beach in Goa smoking ‘spliffs’. There has to be a reason because, if anything, more men go into filmmaking than women. This year I shall carry out a survey of motivations.
The other question that embarrasses me is why the poorer east European nations are keen to host [ilink url="www.esodoc.eu"]EsoDoc[/ilink] (and other EU Media projects) while the richer states, in particular the UK, are not interested? The answer given is that the UK has plenty of film training courses already. Further, that UK politicians are anti-the EU and looking for every opportunity not to spend money. This may be so but it is short-sighted and mean. In point of fact, about half of the film projects that students bring to EsoDoc eventually get made, This is surely good for the European film industry, in a small way, and each film helps to make the world a better place, even in a miniscule way: but thank God for something positive!