Michael Moore:Filmmakers not Documentarians

Written 17-09-2014 10:25:57 by Tue Steen Müller

Last week Michael Moore, at the Toronto International Film Festival Doc Conference, 25 years after his "Roger and me" (photo) was released, presented 13 rules for making documentary films. A manifesto. He stressed that documentary filmmakers should not be called documentarians but filmmakers, and ”Also, I don't want people leaving the theater depressed after my movies. I want them angry. Depressed is a passive emotion. Anger is active. Anger will mean that maybe 5 percent, 10 percent of that audience will get up and say, "I gotta do something. I'm going to tell others about this. I'm going to go look up more about this on the Internet. I'm gonna join a group and fight this!"”

His full speech is to be found on Indiewire, link below, where you will also find colleague, documentarian, sorry filmmaker Jo Berlinger’s response to Moore, as thoughtful and analytical as Moore’s contribution is entertaining and provocative. Other filmmakers are also asked to comment in the fine IndieWire articles. A long quote from Berlinger:

“Not calling ourselves "documentarians" is a very old argument that ignores the amazing expansion of the form and the pushing of boundaries that



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Gerber, Pozdorovkin: The Notorious Mr. Bout

Written 16-09-2014 12:47:09 by Allan Berg Nielsen

DR2 Dokumania inviterer i dag i god tid til kulturnat 10. oktober og skriver: ”Mød folkene bag DR2 Dokumania, når vi inviterer indenfor til Dokumania LIVE. Hør, hvordan vi spotter de bedste historier, og se tre af de vildeste dokumentarfilm.” Det er jo en klar udmelding: De bedste historier og de vildeste dokumentarfilm. Det er så med det klart, at det er underholdning, som prioriteres der i huset, og inden for underholdning er det følgelig underholdningskvalitet. Herefter gælder det om at folde de brede begreber ”bedst” og ”vildest” ud i nuancer. Det er der generøs lejlighed til hver tirsdag aften.

Altså for eksempel i aften ved at åbne for den på sin måde bestemt interessante historie og vilde dokumentar om den internationale købmand / forretningsmand / fragtmand Viktor Bout, hvis historie gennem nu godt to årtiers karriere skildres i en omhyggelig researched, effektivt klippet og elegant produceret filmbiografi i den konventionelle amerikansk-britiske tv-stil, som ser ud til at være en Dokumania specialitet. Man vil bestemt blive trygt og godt underholdt i aften på DR2 Dokumania 20:45!

På fotografiet sidder Viktor Bout i cockpittet i et af sine transportfly. Han kan godt lide at have fingrene på grebene direkte i materialet, ude på stederne, hvor det foregår. Han bliver hele tiden beskyldt for at være international våbenhandler uden skrupler, selv hævder han at være en fragtmand, som ikke blander sig i kassernes indhold. Han sørger blot for, de kommer sikkert fra og sikkert frem til bestemmelsesstedet, som kunden har angivet. Og det er alle på hver sin måde vilde, eksotiske steder som Angola, De arabiske emirater, Bulgarien, Sydafrika, Den demokratiske republik Congo, Rwanda og endelig hans skæbnes Bangkok, Thailand, og tidsmæssigt repeterer filmen begivenheder og forløb af verdenshistorien fra 1991 til 2011. Ja, det er underholdning, men jeg tror også Dokumaniaholdet blandt de bedste og vildeste filmhistorier vælger de belærende. Det sidste er måske det mest interessante, se selv efter i aften…

UK 2014, 90 min.


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Categories: TV, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

EDN Terminates DOX Magazine

Written 15-09-2014 10:19:10 by Tue Steen Müller

A ”EDN Weekly” newsletter came out. In a subordinate clause there was shocking news: ”… I had to decide to terminate the publishing…” of DOX Magazine. Just like that. Voilà. A big big mistake! After more than 100 issues the magazine that has been a key element in the profile of EDN, the death of the magazine was declared by Paul Pauwels (PP), the director of EDN. An online issue is under discussion, coming from the office, probably more a member´s magazine than what DOX was – the international documentary FILM magazine. PP, the terminator, who always communicates on behalf of EDN in first person, had made the decision after consultation with the executive committee of the association. The reason: first of all due to financial reasons.

A mistake. Yes, a wrong priority from PP. When EDN way back took over the publishing of the magazine, we did so because there was a need for a documentary FILM magazine and because we thought this was the right way to tell our members that EDN is not “only” about money, where to find them, workshops, pitching etc. but also about the art of documentary. Side by side of Sight & Sound, that comes out on paper and online, like several other national film magazines, DOX, published by EDN but always independent editorially to avoid it being a mere communication tool for EDN, the magazine has had EDN members as main readers but it has also been spread around to non-members as it was this last week in Riga where Eastern European documentarians were offered a free copy – a service to filmmakers who can not afford to be members of EDN.

In Riga Emma Davie, always a true supporter of EDN, and I, former director



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Scorcese on his new Book Film

Written 13-09-2014 16:24:47 by Tue Steen Müller

Copy-paste quote from RealScreen on Martin Scorcese talking about his new documentary “The 50 Year Argument” on New York Review of Books, co-directed with David Tedeschi. A talk taking place in Toronto at the international film festival, read more, link below:

Despite his reservation over the characterization of non-fiction films, Scorsese said he enjoyed making such films. “There’s a sense of freedom in that I’m not shackled to a conventional narrative,” he said. “I find that the challenges are everywhere, but there’s more of a sense of freedom.” With The 50 Year Argument, the director said he and Tedeschi “had no plan” at the start of the project. “We had to find our way through. With non-fiction, it’s a bigger responsibility, it’s a bigger gamble.”

The director also discussed the impact that The New York Review of Books – and literature in general – had had on him over the past half-century. “Books fascinated me – and still do,” he said. “But they fascinate me also as objects; books themselves become very precious to me. “It took me a long time to learn to read a book, to live with a book.”

The 50 Year Argument marks Scorsese’s sixth doc collaboration with Tedeschi, and their first as co-directors. Tedeschi previously served as editor on 2011′s George Harrison: Living in the Material World, 2010′s Public Speaking, 2008′s Shine a Light, 2005′s No Direction Home, and an episode of Scorsese’s 2003 doc series The Blues.

http://realscreen.com/2014/09/12/tiff-14-scorsese-talks-docs-books-in-toronto/#ixzz3DCmePyRw


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

New Danish Documentaries to Message to Man

Written 12-09-2014 18:43:04 by Tue Steen Müller

“GlobalDoK: Danish Film Institute Present” is the title chosen for a presentation of new Danish documentaries in St.Petersburg at the Message to Man festival (September 20-27). In collaboration with the DFI and with me as a helper for the programmer Mikhail Zheleznikov the following films were chosen: 1. Ai Weiwei The Fake Case by Andreas Johnsen (2013) 2. Sepideh – Reaching for the Stars by Berit Madsen (2013) 3. Ambassador by Mads Brügger (2011) 4. The Will by Christian Sønderby Jepsen (2011) 5. Armadillo by Janus Metz Pedersen (2010) 6. Burma vj by Anders Østergaard (2008) 7. The Good Life by Eva Mulvad (2010) 8. The Ghost of Piramida (photo) by Andreas Koefoed (2013). Andreas Johnsen, Andreas Koefoed and Anders Østergaard will meet the audience and the Danish Cultural Institute will host an afternoon seminar on Danish documentaries. I will be there to introduce and moderate. For the festival catalogue I wrote the following promotion text: 

GlobalDoK... well, the selection for this series of new Danish documentaries includes films that are shot in China, Iran, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Burma, Portugal, Norway/Russia – and Denmark/Germany. So to call it GlobalDK with a small o between D and K seems to be a good choice by the organizers.

Global, but is nothing interesting happening in Denmark? Boring country? No stories to find? Or do the Danish documentarians just love to travel? Or are the Danish film people engaged and committed in a way so they have to deal with the troubles of the Chinese world famous artist Ai WeiWei, the dream of the Iranian girl Sepideh, the international diamant mafia and its



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Uldis Brauns photo by Uldis Cekulis

Written 09-09-2014 15:28:10 by Tue Steen Müller

The photo in the post below is a bit small but shows the wonderful screening situation in the house of Uldis Brauns. Here you have him in the garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Uldis Brauns

Written 09-09-2014 15:24:10 by Tue Steen Müller

During the many years that I have followed Latvian documentary cinema, the name Uldis Brauns has always been like a magic enigma. Who is he, where is he, what is he doing? The master, that is how he is characterised by many, including his late close colleague Herz Frank. The man who directed ”235.000.000” (1967), a work that far too few know about, that story comes later. I did not see him at the Riga symposia organised by another big name Ivars Seleckis et co. and when I asked around, I was told that he lives in the countryside and is not involved any longer. A loner, he was said to be.

Finally I had my curiosity saturated. Sunday after the Baltic Sea Docs Uldis Cekulis, Arvids Celmalis, Kristine Briede and I drove to his place ”Upeskalni” near the nice town Kuldiga (often pronounced Cool Diga!) in the Kurzeme district of Latvia. 90 minutes from Riga you turn down a dirt road and drive twenty minutes to reach a house standing alone (2,5 kilometer to nearest neighbour) in what you can only describe as a paradisiacal garden



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Baltic Sea Docs 2014/ 3

Written 08-09-2014 22:23:30 by Tue Steen Müller

Hotel Metropole, Kuldiga, Latvia. Early monday morning, still wonderful ”indian summer”. I am waiting for my colleagues, to take breakfast before we go back to visit Uldis Brauns, Latvian documentary master, 81 years old, a gentle man. We were there yesterday, afternoon and evening, we have a follow-up today, the research team behind a film on the Baltic poetic cinema masters: Uldis Cekulis (producer and cameraman), Arvids Celmanis (sound engineer), Kristine Briede, whose idea it is, and me. More about that tomorrow.

I am thinking back on yesterday morning on the last day of the Baltic Sea Docs 2014, pitching in the morning and individual meetings in the afternoon. Did it go well, yes I think so, will some of the pitchers leave with good results. Well, in terms of financing there will not be a lot of immediate results but contacts have been made that can be developed later on, and Baltic Sea Docs is today also a place where young filmmakers can develop their skills and meet with experienced directors and producers. It is the policy of several producers to use the event – with workshop and pitching – to launch new projects attached to new producers and directors.

One of them was Guntis Trekteris, who presented ”Tal”, about the chess master, with young Stanislavs Tokalovs, who had done his research on the



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Alison Millar: The Disappeared

Written 08-09-2014 15:08:26 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Darragh MacIntyre er irsk og undersøgende journalist. Her følger han et afsides sted på en irsk hede eftersøgningen af et lig af et af de mennesker, som IRA under borgerkrigen likviderede og lod forsvinde sådanne steder. Han er hovedpersonen i Millars film, som TV2 DOKUMANIA sender tirsdag 20:45. Det første jeg hæfter mig ved i den film er hans stemme, som fører ind i denne fra første sekund fortællerbårne dokumentar. Jeg kan rigtig godt lide hans stemme, og jeg kan rigtig godt lide hans tekst, som nøgternt holder sig til kendsgerninger, han selv har skaffet frem, i filmens løb skaffer frem.

Declan Lynch på Independent.ie begynder sin anmeldelse med at notere en tilsvarende fornemmelse af kompetence, som for ham omfatter hele filmen som værk: “To put it simply, it made you feel the way you feel when you're watching a great movie, completely engrossed while it is on, and with a heightened sense of awareness when it's over.It was a work of art, though it was also a work of journalism – contrary to the prevailing wisdom, you can have the two going on at the same time…”

Jeg har det lidt anderledes, jeg føler mig altid udenfor, når jeg ser disse ægte amerikanske og britiske tv-dokumentarer, som Dokumania sender en del af. Jeg tvinges af den tydelige vinkling og altid af det, man kunne kalde journalistisk samfundsrelevant foromtale (aldrig for eksempel poetisk, filosofisk, antropologisk, filmvidenskabelig), tvinges til at holde filmen ude fra mig selv, som er den er noget, nogen viser mig og forklarer. Sådan er det med journalistik (og sådan er det aldrig med et kunstværk, det forsvinder jeg ind i). “The Disappeared” er journalistik, endda meget fornem journalistik. Det medgiver jeg Declan Lynch, og meget oplever jeg som han, når han skriver, at...



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Baltic Sea Forum 2014/ 2

Written 06-09-2014 18:52:24 by Tue Steen Müller

Are you on drugs was the question, jokingly asked by panelist Esther van Messel from First Hand Film, when Russian producer Vlad Ketkovich was pitching the project ”My Beliefs” to be directed by Tatiana Chistova. Could be… Ketkovich, wearing a t-shirt with ”army” on the front, talked loud, laughed and performed, he did not need a microphone to talk about the young Russian people, who do not want to go to the army and therefore meet with a commission to express why not. The trailer presented was a hilarious – and sad at the same time – observation of what goes on in the room, where they ask a panel of officials to be transferred to civil service duty. And the two of them, director and producer, did a fine humorous dialogue to convey a project of great potential.

… All in all there was a good atmosphere in the room with a panel of broadcasters and distributors and sales agents – and all chairs for observers were full. And pitchers who were able to being out their personality.

This was the first day of the Baltic Sea Forum with 12 projects and it was



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