Free Speech Film Festival

Speak EZ Interview with Coralie Van Rietschoten

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American INSIGHT's online SPEAK EZ interviews that showcase Free Speech Film TM award-winning directors and globally-known artists, authors and scholars. Get an intimate look at the filmmaking process and the politics behind creating successful films, books and essays that discuss the role of free speech, human rights and the rule of law in our world today.

SPEAK EZ: Coralie Van Rietschoten

Coralie Van Rietschoten is the Director of 2022 Free Speech Film Festival Official Selection winner Chinese Cancan: Lulu, a Chinese Woman.

Director Coralie Van Rietschoten discovered that the best way for her to speak out about Free Speech was to film someone who wasn’t afraid to express herself. That decision led to the creation of the documentary. The film chronicles how burlesque dancer Lulu Galore expresses herself in an authoritarian regime like China. As the movie’s description says, “In China, like everywhere, a woman’s place in society is linked to politics and tradition. But China’s politics and tradition make a unique setting on earth. It’s within this context that Lulu emerges.”

Coralie said it’s important for everyone to remember that we all have the right to freedom of speech. While she doesn’t feel that filmmakers will ever transform the world, she sees the power that film has to change people’s minds.

“I’m not sure films can change the world in a direct way. China won’t change because we make films about it. But I think films can change the viewer’s understanding of the world,” she said. “In Europe and in the U.S., we are surrounded by a very strong storytelling about China. We forget that life is often more complex and full of nuances. Some viewers told me ‘I’ve never seen a character like her in a movie shot in China.’ If just one viewer changes his or her way to look at something, then I guess the film did change the world.”

Coralie is an editor and award-winning director. She is also the director of the documentaries: Digital Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party, about the digital world in China, which, once again, is about free speech, and No Filter Café, co-directed with Galaad Hemsi, about five teenagers with severe autism who learn how to cook and serve in a fancy café in the heart of Paris.”

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