DocsBarcelona 2017: The Winners

Written 29-05-2017 13:55:04 by Tue Steen Müller

It was a proud festival director Joan Gonzalez, who before the award announcement last night told the audience that almost 16000 spectators had visited DocsBarcelona this year. An increase of 50%! Much to do with the festival being longer than before, and, Gonzalez told me, the media and press coverage has been bigger. For the content, Jury President Rada Sesic told me – who is head of the programming – that she found the selection of films for the Panorama very strong.

I was happy with the awards. Maite Alberdi from Chile had her second Best Documentary Prize for ”Los Ninos” (”The Grown-Ups”), the first one was for ”Tea Time”. TV3 Catalunya stands behind the award of 5000€ in cash. The New Talent Award, also decided upon by the Panorama Jury went to ”Last Men in Aleppo” by Feras Fayad.

The Latitud Award went to ”Al Otro Lado Del Muro” (”The Other Side of the Wall”), also 5000€ to be used for completion of a work, sponsored by the facility house Antaviana Films. With a special mention to the impressive film ”Los Ofendidos” by Marcela Zamora from El Salvador.

Great pleasure to see two good friends on video on the big screen for the newly established ”What the Doc” award: Audrius Stonys for ”Woman and the Glacier” and Pawel Lozinski for ”You Have No Idea How Much I Love You”. The two documentary artists were glad to share with each other an award given by a one man jury, local great filmmaker Inaki Lacuesta.

And then Rahul Jain with ”Machines” was on stage to thank for the Amnesty International Award. He made a brilliant speech that I will try to get hold of. Listen readers, Jain is only 24 years old and has made this cinematic masterpiece…

The audience decided to give Catalina Mesa the award for ”Jerico” that is wonderful warm film about wonderful warm women.

Some more local awards were given, you can check them on

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona: La Chana

Written 29-05-2017 08:54:14 by Tue Steen Müller

Una Noche Fantastica, she said, when she came to the stage after the film ”La Chana” about her had been shown. Full house for the closing film of the 20th edition of DocsBarcelona, standing ovation in several stages – when the film was finished, when Antonia Santiago Amador, a true diva, entered the cinema and walked to the stage, and when she sat down and danced her flamenco again.

This was indeed an unforgettable night, and for me who had seen the film a couple of times before, I am happy to say chapeau to the young Croatian born director Lucija Stojevic, who studied architecture in Edinburgh, film in Prague and who is now living in Barcelona. The film is well made, the rythm found, the use of photos and archive and the footage of today superbly mixed. It’s not easy to make a film where you have to choose when to direct the camera towards the face and when towards the feet of La Chana!

You filmed my soul, La Chana said to Lucija Stojevic.

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona: Pawel Lozinski

Written 28-05-2017 13:01:51 by Tue Steen Müller

I Have No Idea How Much They Loved It – but I think they did, the audience for the masterclass with Polish Pawel Lozinski. We (Lozinski and I as the moderator) enjoyed a lot what we were asked to do: Choose 7 shots/sequences from your films and talk about them. Mostly about the form, the aesthetical choices after setting up the clip with some background information on content.

”Birthday” from 1992 was the first shot, the film that won the first prize at the festival on Bornholm, Baltic Film & TV Festival. It was the first film of Pawel Lozinski, a tough one on the famous Jewish Polish writer Henryk Grynberg searching for the remains of his father, who was killed during the war. Shot on 16mm film.

Later on Lozinski made the film ”The Way It Is” from his neighbourhood (1999), ”Chemo” from 2009, which is a film he decided to do when his mother got cancer, the controversial ”Father and Son” (2013) that was meant to be a film by Marcel and Pawel together, but Marcel decided to make his own version… It did not make the conflicted relationship between them easier!

If that was the reason for Lozinski to make ”You Have No Idea…”, I asked him. Could be, he said about the film that was shown in the cinema later that same friday.

As a small gift to the audience, ”Sisters” (11 minutes) was shown, a film that Pawel Lozinski shot when he had a break in shooting ”The Way It Is”. What are you doing, the sisters asked the director when they met in the courtyard. I am making a film about interesting people in my neighbourhood, he answered. Are we interesting, they asked. See the film, Yes they are!

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona: Women Talk Documentaries

Written 28-05-2017 10:35:50 by Tue Steen Müller

”New Directions and Perspectives in Documentary Films” was the title of the 90 minutes long panel discussion at the CCCB friday afternoon, moderated in a professional and warm manner by Debra Zimmerman from Women Make Movies in New York, the organisation that has 600 films in its catalogue. After one hour Zimmerman said, ”Sooo, I am sure you have noticed that I have not yet asked you what it means to be a woman filmmaker…”.

Instead we got a very interesting one-by-one presentation of the young filmmakers, who showed a clip from their films and told the audience how they came to make documentaries. A classic comment came from Roser Corella, Catalan director living in Berlin, ”I used to work in television but I wanted to try on my own, develop the creative part”. Her film is ”Grap and Run” about bride kidnapping in Kirgizstan”, a film that has had a big audience at the festival.

As has indeed ”Amazona” by Clare Weiskopf, filmmaker and journalist. The opening film of the festival, a film about

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Gadefotografi 1917 – 2017

Written 27-05-2017 09:54:34 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Finding Vivian Maier er titlen på John Maloof’s and Charlie Siskel’s film fra 2013 om fotografen Vivian Maier som gennem sit voksenliv lavede mere end 100.000 optagelser som ingen vidste af, da hun i velordnet stand gemte negativerne og alle aftrykkene og alle papirerne som havde med den del af hendes liv at gøre i sikre arkivæsker et ukendt sted. For hendes arbejde som barnepige var hvad omgivelserne måtte kende til. Først længe efter hendes død blev æskerne fundet og bragt til et offentligt arkiv. På dette materiale lavede Maloof og Siskel deres film. Den var månedens film i Cinemateket i København oktober 2014 og Tue Steen Müller anmeldte den her på Filmkommentaren til fem af seks penne og konkluderede:

”... The photos have a great documentary quality. She has been able to catch the moments, to get close to people, to convey humour and tragedy, ”the bizarreness and incongruity of Life” as one of the interviewed employers says. She travelled the world in 1959 documenting what she saw, a street photographer, well this is where she was with the children she was looking after, sometimes she forgot them, one of the now grown-up males says. A closed person, hiding behind the Rolleiflex, a true documentarian.”

Nu kan Vivian Maiers fotografier ses gennem juli måned i København idet udstillingen Vivian Maier – In Her Own Hands indgår i Øksnehallens sommerudstilling med titlen GADEFOTOGRAFI 1917 – 2017, som Finn Larsen og Morten Brohammer har redigeret. Det huskes at Finn Larsen sidste år redigerede to fotografiske udstillinger i København på sine og Lars Johanssons optagelser Ung i Randers 1978-79 i Øksnehallen og Når asfalten gynger på Københavns Hovedbibliotek.

Øksnehallen har netop udsendt en pressemeddelelse om udstillingen. Den følger her i sin helhed med de mange navne på fotografer som deltager:

”Sommerudstillingen 2017 i Øksnehallen hylder gadefotografiet og kan opleves fra 28. juni - 1. august fra kl. 10.00 - 20.00, fredag og lørdag kl. 10.00 - 22.00.

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Categories: Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Barcelona Blues

Written 26-05-2017 13:29:40 by Tue Steen Müller

Oh, my dear Barcelona, city of architecture, Gaudi, a beach, mountain, gourmet restaurants, football… I have come here for DocsBarcelona for 20 years, I love you but I suffer to see you killing yourself.

The traffic is noisy, overwhelming, polluting, the crowds of people in the streets are simply too many, I understand that the local population has moved out from the city to rent out flats for us foreigners, I know that your local government with the new mayor wants to do something about it, but has done nothing so far. I talked to one of the staff members of the DocsBarcelona who told me she had to keep her window closed as small black particles of dirt entered her room. My wife and I have almost been run down by people on bicycles, who are allowed to ride on the pavements, WHY, we come from a bicycle country, this is not usual in DK, and why so much dog shit in the streets… There is a feeling of stress when you go around. Total change after 20 years.

So it is actually veeery nice to escape the street reality and go to the cinema to watch documentaries at the 20th edition of DocsBarcelona. Photo from The Wonderful Kingdom of Papa Alaev.

Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona Rough Cuts

Written 24-05-2017 17:16:57 by Tue Steen Müller

I have organised this together with Martina Rogers from DocsBarcelona for years and I enjoy it very much. From the picture (from last year) you might see that in nice sofas there is seated an exclusive panel of people from different sides of the documentary community. The goal is to generate creative and constructive discussions that will favour the further development of the projects, i.e. the story building, the character development, the editing quality.

We were again fortunate to have a fine panel: filmmaker, teacher and programmer at the festival Daniel Jariod, festival director Inti Cordera from Mexico, Jordi Ambros from TV3 Catalunya (for one session), Rada Sesic from Sarajevo FF, where she is head of documentaries, at DocsBarcelona she is president of the main jury, Debra Zimmermann from Women Make Movies in New York, Hanka Kastelicová from HBO Europe, Esther van Messel from First Hand Films in Switzerland (for two sessions) and Chris Hastings from PBS – World Channel.

And most important the filmmakers, who received valuable positive and constructive criticism from the panel:

Marlén Viñayo from El Salvador with ”Cachada” about wonderful women, who gather to talk about ”the circles of violence” they have experienced and who end up, with the help of a theatre director, making a play about these issues. Director Roberto Salinas and choreographer Laura Domingo from Italy/Nicaragua and Cuba with ”Cuban Dancer”, the story of the enormous talented ballet dancer, 15 year old Alexis, who with his parents move to Florida. How will he be able to continue his career after having been at the Cuba Ballet School? Director Sebastian Saam with ”Tatap” about super star, one-armed guitarist Andrés Godoy from Chile, his life in that country, the family, the Allende period, the accident where he lost an arm and his Asian concert tour.

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona: Xavi, Alberdi, Deir Yassin, Olga

Written 22-05-2017 11:51:48 by Tue Steen Müller

We had the traditional sunday dinner invited by festival director Joan Gonzalez. His wife and my wife were there, Joan and his son Marti, with whom I always talk football. Barca – FC Barcelona – first of all, on the situation now for the club that ended up being number 2 and is out of the Champions League. What remains is to win Copa del Rey. Which players will be sold and who will come for the next season…

And then the magical moment happened – reminding us of the time when Barca won it all: Into the restaurant comes Xavi Hernandez, the maestro, with his family, the playmaker, the man who gave the play a flow, a humble and total loyal man to the club, 600 matches. He is now playing in Qatar, 37 years old.

… and now back to the festival, where I saw three films. Chilean Maite Alberdi’s ”Los Niños” (”The Grown Ups”) featuring adults

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DocsBarcelona: Bride Kidnapping, I.F.Stone, Father

Written 21-05-2017 11:38:57 by Tue Steen Müller

… and Son, and Jens Soering. I saw four films yesterday i.e. saturday here at the DocsBarcelona 20th edition. Let me start with a wonderful moment at the Q&A after the film ”All Governments Lie”. A 12 year old girl asked in fine English (not that common in Catalonia!) the director, Canadian Alfred Peabody, ”do you think that my generation can change the world”! Apparently she was inspired by the film and its timely subject, a free and independent press. The director told her ”why don’t you become a journalist” as was the man, who inspired Peabody to make the film, legendary journalist I.F. Stone. I am old enough to remember him and his direct criticism of the Americans being at Vietnam. There is great archive with Stone but the film also introduces people who have been inspired by him: Michael Moore, who of course praises Stone’s humour, Glenn Greenwald who worked on Laura Poitras’ Snowden film and set up The Intercept together with her and Jeremy Scahill. Greenwald says that had Stone been alive today, he would probably have been a blogger. Below a link to the website of the film, where you find all the journalists in the film and their comments on the mass media manipulated world we live in.

Before that film I had seen Catalan Roser Corella’s ”Grab and Run”, that introduces and discusses the Kirgisz tradition for kidnapping of women for marriage. An anthropological study that also includes a shocking ending, where the filmmakers follow a kidnapping of a woman. I did not follow the discussion in Catalan but I guess the ethics of filming this incident was raised. The photo pictures the couple, the photo was chosen by the festival to be the poster.

And then I had fun with father and son in ”Deux Cancres” by French Ludovic Vieuille (who will be present for the second screening May 26 20.15, COME!). It is an excellent piece of documentary, full of embarrassing moments when the two fight with the French grammar, the boy being impatient, the father trying his best, having to give up again and again because he does not understand the questions raised in the books the boy brings home. Shot over a long period, the camera registers their mood and lets us have a bitter-sweet laugh. Why does he have to go through all this stupidity in the French education system. OMG! It is a clever film, and emotional!

Where ”Deux Cancres” is minimalistic in tone and scope, Marcus Vetter’s ”The Promise” is a brilliant piece of journalism that is taken to the level of a Shakespearean drama, a love story, a demonstration of the crazy American judicial system, and first of all the meeting with German Jens Soering, who has been in jail for more than 30 years for something that he has not done; that is the conclusion you make having seen the film and listened to him. Vetter got permission to make an interview with him for four hours. I watched the television version, 3 hours, on Danish television and enjoyed to see it here in Barcelona on a big screen with Marcus Vetter present to answer questions at a screening that lasted till just after midnight.

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona: Glawogger, John and Amanda, FARC

Written 20-05-2017 14:00:36 by Tue Steen Müller

It was the third time that I saw ”Untitled” by Michael Glawogger and Monika Willi. Glawogger was here in Barcelona in 2014 to show his ”Whore’s Glory” and do a masterclass. Some months later the same year he passed away. His editor Monika Willi made ”Untitled”, interpreting what Glawogger would have done with the material and adding her own interpretation. I discover new moments every time. There were 25 spectators for the screening at 4pm at the Aribau Club Cinema, there will hopefully be more for the next screening this coming wednesday. There are great films and there are films that are more than that, that stand out – I was happy to watch ”Three Rooms of Melancholia” by Pirjo Hinkasalo in Tbilisi and I am happy to have met Glawogger and seen also this last film by him, and the trilogy he left to us, ”Whore’s Glory”, ”Workingman’s Death” and ”Megacities”. Honkasalo and Glawogger: Film History. I will try to write a review of ”Untitled” later on. Maybe I should watch it for the fourth time.

It was also the third time I was with John and Amanda, wonderful teachers, who are the main characters in ”In Loco Parentis” by Irish Neasa Ni Chianáin and David Rane, who were at the screening yesterday (see photo) to meet the audience for a short Q&A session. The film is a fine success all over and is now going to theatres in the US with the distribution company Magnolia taking care of it. Watching the film always makes me think back to my own school time and the teachers, yes, there were some fine ones who cared.

The selection for DocsBarcelona of course has a special eye for Spanish language documentaries and I enjoyed to be taught about the peace process in Colombia in ”El Silencio de los Fusiles” by Natalia Orozco, who has done interviews with the government and its representatives as well as with several comandante’s from FARC. Amazing she could get that access to make an interesting journalistic work!

Tough evening in Aribau Club 1, thematically – the last film to be shown was ”Last Men in Aleppo” by Feras Fayyad, we have written about that touching tragic and human film that wins awards at many festivals. Is it a candidate here as well?

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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