I had the pleasure of being the guest of the Kos International Health Film Festival for the Greek premiere of Prisoner of Her Past on September 5th this year, on the island of Kos. There were about 60 people at the screening – a very respectable number for an out-of-competition film at such a faraway festival.
The audience was extremely passionate about Prisoner and we had a lively Q&A after the screening. There was a great question from the audience about the camera’s relationship to Sonia, and her habit of directly addressing the camera. I told them about how Sonia would always stop talking when I turned the camera off in order to change tape. Once the camera was back on my shoulder and rolling, she would continue what she was saying. This is how we knew that on some level, Sonia was an active participant in the making of Prisoner of Her Past.
The post-screening conversation continued in the lobby and clearly many people in the audience were greatly moved. Luckily, they had free samples of a few items provided by festival sponsors in the theater lobby – condoms and Kleenex. As you’d image, our audience went for the Kleenex.
The Kos Health Film Festival is great and allows lots of time to hang out with other filmmakers to discuss issues like the consent of film subjects who have diminished capacity. I saw documentaries on diverse topics – from the politics of menstruation and orgasm, to the vibrant lives of the elderly through dance and song.
Although Kos is really a festival for talking about film and aesthetics rather than business, I did manage to make some contacts who will likely allow us to broadcast the film in Israel. A doctor took a copy of Prisoner of Her Past and is going to set up a showing at her hospital in Kos. There was also interest in future screenings of other Kartemquin films, including The Chicago Maternity Center Story, In the Family, Stevie, and The Interrupters.
— Gordon Quinn, Director