No Eastern European projects at IDFA Forum 2018

Written 21-10-2018 19:38:48 by Tue Steen Mller

No Eastern European projects at IDFA Forum 2018

Here comes IDFA’s response to the question of no Eastern European projects in the selection of IDFA 2018’s Forum, sent today by the artistic director Orwa Nyrabia:

The fact that there are no East European projects in IDFA’s Forum 2018 selection is simply bad and sad. This needs to be examined and analyzed indeed. At IDFA we are examining how this happened and why it is such a surprising zero in the year’s projects slate. We also note that this is the selection of one year. The share of Eastern European projects over the past 15 years has been between 2 and 7 projects per edition, 3 to 4 most of the time. One year does not represent a trend. It might also be relevant here to say that our process was inclusive, that our pre-selectors and jurors were widely-representative are diversified. They did a difficult job and for that we are thankful. The selection process was long and as thorough as possible, but this doesn’t mean that we don’t make mistakes. We could have missed on great projects, it is our loss too.

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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Forum/ 2

Written 20-10-2018 13:57:24 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Forum/ 2

Below you have the presentation from IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival) of the Forum, no doubt the gathering of documentary film professionals, who want funding and/or publicity of the film, that they are working on. The event has been there for decades, it’s been instrumental as a gathering for the documentary community to meet, exchange, network, tell each other that documentaries are important – and communicate that to the funders, the broadcasters, the politicians etc. The Forum – and the IDFA – is crucial, when it comes to stressing the importance of the documentary genre in a democratic world. I did not say in Europe because there we have a problem, dear IDFA Forum people:

Maybe you are not to blame, maybe it is a problem that mirrors the sad development within the EU and its surroundings: EU did not become what we (EUropeans like me) wanted it to become. There is a Western Europe as before and an Eastern Europe as before. There is a rich and a poor Europe. And there are conflicts within the EU, where Eastern countries are politically turning to the right – as is the case in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and I could go on exemplifying from Western countries like the one – Denmark – where I have my home and where intolerance and xenophobia are alive and kicking…


There are NO projects from Estonia, Latvia. Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Russia, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Ukraine…

But of course I salute the selection of Georgian “The Platform” by Nino Orjonikidze and Vano Arsenishvili – I know them, they are sooo good!


Is it really because there were no more than one project good enough among the 768 projects submitted?

Is it because projects from Eastern Europe were very few?

Because they prefer to submit projects to – for instance – East Doc Forum in Prague?

Because the IDFA Forum is too expensive (submission fee, travel and stay, publicity…) for filmmakers from Eastern Europe?

Why… tell me

Because if you look at the IDFA festival and the films taken for the many sections, there is a lot of great films selected from the Eastern part of Europe – and beware it is not “only” Kossakovsky, Loznitsa, Mansky. The festival lives from excellent films from Eastern Europe, also this year; take a look at the selection for mid-length section, there are films from Serbia (Photo from Andrijana Stojkovic “Wongar”), Belarus, Poland, Russia… It seems there is a total lack of harmony this year between the Forum and the Festival!

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Forum/ 1

Written 20-10-2018 13:48:39 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Forum/ 1

The Forum at IDFA is for documentary filmmakers the place to launch the new projects, they want the documentary community to be aware of, and eventually be interested in, eventually to invest in. Projects are presented/pitched followed by meetings. It is all very well organized and respected. “You have to be there”, filmmakers working internationally say, “otherwise “they” think that your company has died”. Words to that effect.

IDFA has announced that 51 projects have made it to the grande finale – the pitch that takes place November 18th-21st.

The press release – a long quote from that – says “…

“The selection process was particularly competitive this year: with a record-breaking 768 projects submitted. Of the 51 projects selected to present at IDFA Forum, 24 different countries are represented, reflecting the inclusive emphasis of IDFA and its continuous word-wild support of documentary filmmakers.

This year's IDFA Forum selection casts a wide net, ranging from projects that examine pressing social issues to ones exploring the artistic boundaries of documentary filmmaking. Returning IDFA guests include Nanfu Wang (Untitled Cuba Project, United States), Camilla Nielsson (Democrats 2, Denmark), and Renzo Martens (A Gentrification Program, the Netherlands). Several selected projects demonstrate a clear interest in experimenting with documentary syntax, such as Lash by Yoonsuk Jung (South Korea) and The Way We Were by Marten Persiel (Germany).

The 2018 selection also features new projects by established filmmakers as well as emerging talents. Guy Davidi, co-director of the Academy Award-nominated 5 Broken Cameras, presents Senseless (Denmark/Israel). The renowned Mohamed Al-Daradji (Iraq’s Invisible Beauty, Belgium), and Hemal Trivedi (The Half Truths, India, United States), as well as up-and-coming talents Sun Hee Engelstoft (Forget Me Not, Denmark) and Ayse Toprak (The Other Half, Turkey) will also present their latest projects at IDFA Forum 2018…”

Questions raised in IDFA Forum/ 2 above.

Photo from “Democrats” by Camilla Nielsson, she is pitching a sequel.

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

ArtdocFest in Riga

Written 19-10-2018 12:42:11 by Tue Steen Mller

ArtdocFest in Riga

Well, I should have been in Riga now, where the International Film Festival is one day old, and were it goes on until the end of the month. It is a festival with many sections: a tribute to Ingmar Bergman, a competition for fiction films, Latvian and Baltic films… and, the reason why I should have been there: Artdocfest Riga with 21 documentaries, competitive with legendary theatre director Alvis Hermanis as one of the jurors. The festival, founded and run by Vitaly Mansky, who now lives and works out of Riga, presents itself like this on the festival’s website:

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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Astra Film Festival

Written 18-10-2018 11:57:14 by Tue Steen Mller

Astra Film Festival

… in Sibiu, Romania celebrates its 25th edition. For that reason Cineuropa brings an interview with the founding director Dumitru Budrala. He looks back and makes a status on the state of the documentary art. Here is a quote – but read it all, link below – including a question:

You said that documentary films are “lifeboats in a sea of alternative facts”. Can you elaborate on this opinion on the power and usefulness of the genre?
The audience potential of documentary cinema is amazing, as it can reach both a wider public and a specialised, niche audience. At every edition, Astra Film Festival offers a host of thematic sidebars that explore reality by proposing an intimate, detailed portrait of humanity. These films are a shortcut to social consciousness and a tool for change, “a therapy for the mending of society”, as Cristi Puiu [a jury member at Astra 2018] puts it. Both in Romania and around the world, daily events in the social and political landscape leave a mark on the very essence of the human condition. Reality is more spectacular than fiction – or, as they say, “life beats film”. Documentary has become more and more relevant because people feel the need for an alternative source of knowledge and new tools for understanding reality in a world where fake news, intolerance, cynical dissimulation and the redaction of the past are becoming more and more invasive…

Looking at the programme a thematic choice catches my eye, “On the Road to Europe” that features 10 films that deal with how Eastern European countries have been dealing with the post-communism reality. I was reminded of the fine films by Vuk Janic “Last Yugoslavian Football team” (for a football freak what a great team it was and what a tragedy that all went into pieces, at least football-wise), Hungarian Tibor Kocsis “New Eldorado”, a perfect illustration of new capitalism, Latvian Kaspars Goba’s “Homo@Lv” from 2010 (homophobia, intolerance) and Marcin Latallo’s “Our Street” from 2006, the deroute of working class family.

A clever so-called side-bar in a cleverly curated festival that runs until the 21st of October.

Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Margarethe von Trotta: Searching for Bergman /2

Written 17-10-2018 18:43:29 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Margarethe von Trotta: Searching for Bergman /2

Forrige blognotat sluttede: "… Margarethe von Trotta folder sine hænder netop som jeg ser Max von Sydow gøre, med håndfladerne mod hinanden: ”Først meget alvorligt, men så mærker man, at han nok ikke kan bede så intenst som han gerne ville, vi forstår senere i filmen hvorfor. Så rejser han sig igen og i en lang optagelse går han tilbage til dette sted, hvor vi allerede havde set skakbrættet. Han går ud af billedet og kameraet panorerer til skakbrættet med den sorte klippe i vandet i baggrunden som et advarselstegn. Dønninger vasker over skakbrættet som udviskes. Og så viser en sort skikkelse sig: Max von Sydow ser op: ”Hvem er du?” Anders Ek: ”Jeg er døden.” Max von Sydow: ”Kommer du for at hente mig?” Anders Ek: ”Er du beredt?” Max von Sydow: ”Min krop er beredt, ikke jeg selv.”

Og jeg kan nu vælge at se von Trottas vidunderlige film med Bergmans mesterværk parallelt i tanken…"


Og det kan så nu igen lade sig gøre. I Cinemateket i København torsdag 18. oktober hvor filmen vises første af fire gang som månedens film. Og om denne særlige manuskript-parallelitet er jeg siden kommet på dette citat om manuskripttilblivelse i en bestemt af de nye franske film som von Trotta i det følgende afsnit fortæller hun i sin ungdom opsøgte i Paris:

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Categories: Cinema, Film History, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK, Poetics

Meet Gorbachev at Hauptbahnhof!

Written 17-10-2018 11:09:44 by Tue Steen Mller

Meet Gorbachev at Hauptbahnhof!

... on a big screen… for free, read what DOKLeipzig has to offer its film interested audience, taken from the website, what a good idea:

The East Hall of Leipzig’s Central Station is turning again into a festival cinema during DOK Leipzig 2018! For the third year in a row, we present free, public film screenings in the scope of the festival week. Besides the opening film Meeting Gorbachev by Werner Herzog and André Singer to be shown in parallel to the official festival opening, a further seven documentary and animated films will be shown on a big screen in the East Hall of the Central Station.

The screenings take place in cooperation with Promenaden Hauptbahnhof shopping centre and Deutsche Bahn AG and start from Monday 29 October till Saturday 3 November daily at 7:30pm. Free entry!

The following films will be shown:

Monday, 29/10 | 7:30 pm

Meeting Gorbachev | Werner Herzog, André Singer | 180 min. | German version | from 6 years old

Tuesday, 30/10 | 7:30 pm

Exit | Karen Winther | 76 min. | Danish/English/French/German/Norwegian OV with English subtitles | from 12 years on

Wednesday, 31/10 | 7:30 pm

The Yellow Mazda and His Holiness | Sandra Hermans | 10 min. | French OV with English subtitles
Der Esel hieß Geronimo (A Donkey Called Geronimo) | Arjun Talwar, Bigna Tomschin | 80 min. | Danish/English/German OV with English subtitles

Thursday, 01/11 | 7:30 pm

All Creatures Welcome | Sandra Trostel | 87 min. | English/German OV with German subtitles

Friday, 02/11 | 7:30 pm

Oro Blanco | Gisela Carbajal Rodríguez | 23 min. | Spanish OV with English subtitles
Was kostet die Welt (The Prize of Paradise) | Bettina Borgfeld | 91 min. | English/German OV with German subtitles

Saturday, 03/11 | 7:30 pm

Chris the Swiss | Anja Kofmel | 90 min. | English/German/Spanish OV with German subtitles | from 12 years on

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Heather Lenz: Kusama Infinity

Written 16-10-2018 12:11:48 by Tue Steen Mller

Heather Lenz: Kusama Infinity

Det er herligt, at Camera Film har taget Kusama-filmen til Danmark. Og jeg krydser fingre for at et stort publikum vil tage godt imod filmen; jeg tænker ikke alene på de mange, som besøgte den ældre japanske dames vidunderlige udstilling på Louisiana, men også på de mange, som har hørt om hende, set nogle af hendes værker og vil se mere og vide mere.

For filmen giver besked. Den fortæller hele historien om barnet Yayoi i japanske Matsumoto, som ikke får lov at udfolde sit talent i et hjem, hvor moren synes at lade sine frustrationer over sin utro mand gå ud over datteren, den yngste af en søskendeflok. Hun lukker sig mere og mere for omverdenen, maler sine senere så berømte prikker og drømmer om at blive berømt som kunstner, en drøm hun forsøger at realisere ved at rejse til USA i 1958, hvor hun var indtil 1973.

Heather Lenz film er imponerende researchet med et væld af interessant arkivmateriale, der sætter Kusamas liv i et kunsthistorisk perspektiv – og i et biografisk hvor man får et stærkt indtryk af en ung kvinde, som ville frem i en mandsdomineret kunstverden, hvor hun måtte slås for at få udstillet sin kunst, som i en periode var såkaldte bløde skulpturer, som refererede til det mandlige kønsorgan, nogle var sofaer, nogle var vægskulpturer – og hun var med i og arrangerede alskens happenings, som var protester mod Vietnamkrigen. Det er alt sammen velfortalt i et konventionelt dokumentarisk format med informationer og ind imellem sekvenser, hvor øjnene får lov at hvile på Kusamas enestående prikker eller net eller collager eller på hendes selv, den 89-årige fine dame, som hver dag forlader sit psykiatriske hospital, krydser gaden og går ind i sit studie. Det er rørende at se hende sidde der, nu en verdensberømt anerkendt kunstner efter at have været set bort fra i årtier, hvorfor hun forlod USA.

Filmens fortælling drives frem af interviewet med Kusama, af lydoptagelser fra hendes ophold i USA og af de mange kunstkritikere og kuratorer, som hjalp hende, bl.a. til at udstille på Venedig biennalen i 1993. Interessen holdes fanget fra start til slut, et informativt, visuelt og underholdende bombardement.

USA, 2018, 80 mins.

Filmen har premiere den 18. oktober.


Categories: Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Lithuanian Documentaries A Poetic Look at Reality

Written 14-10-2018 21:00:48 by Tue Steen Mller

Lithuanian Documentaries A Poetic Look at Reality

There is a grand focus on Lithuania at DOKLeipzig this year. Festival director Leena Pasanen has since her time at the Finnish television YLE been an admirer of the small Baltic country’s impressive documentary tradition. She stands behind a uniqe presentation of three generations of film directors, who worked during Soviet time, after the independence and today.

The festival shows the films and has arranged a special session, where it invites the audience to meet two of the most prominent Lithuanian directors from the “new generation”, called “the digital age”, Giedre Zickyte and Mindaugas Survila, who will talk about and show examples from their country’s beautiful tradition for documentary Cinema, which is wonderfully described by Audrius Stonys, now “the grand old man of Lithuanian documentary”, in the following way:

“What is called the poetic school of Lithuanian documentary “…created an independent world, free from Soviet ideology, lie and propaganda. It was a declaration of inner freedom. The black and white world of poetic documentary films was full of colours. Sadness was full of joy. And joy was touched by deep existential sadness. These films reminded us about what is Cinema—to film and to enjoy the beauty of the leaves, moving in the wind.”

The two younger directors will refer to the tradition, talk about their own films, how it is to work internationally in a European market, with the television demands – and how they strive to keep their own voice. And they succeed…

In the films by Giedre Zickyté (“How We Played the Revolution”) and Mindaugas Survila (“Field of Magic”) you will see that they have their own style, still with a bridge back to their colleagues.

The meeting is an invitation to explore a unique documentary cinema tradition before and after independence, a wave of a personal free visual language that celebrates life and humanity. Magical moments are waiting for you.

I will be the moderator of this session that takes place Thursday November 1st. I have been privileged to follow the Lithuanian documentary scene for 25 years.

Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Margarethe von Trotta: Searching for Bergman

Written 12-10-2018 10:28:35 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Margarethe von Trotta: Searching for Bergman

Filmens begyndelse er fælles for de to, ligesom hele filmen vil være det, en instruktør på sporet af sin beundrede forgænger i arbejdet med filmkunsten, von Trotta skriver et filmessay om Bergman.


Og det begynder med en sekvens på grundlag af en sekvens fra Det syvende segl. Bergmans og Gunnar Fischers billede skildrer et mærkelig bekendt kystlandskab i halvmørke. Musikken er de første takter af Dies Irae satsen i et rekviem for kor og orkester. Margarethe von Trotta kommer i en parallelhandling ned på den samme strand og siger til sit kamera:

”Her er det altsammen begyndt for mig. Med en sort sky og en sort fugl. Vi ser klipperne, havet og disse sten oppefra i en lang optagelse. Og så ligger Max von Sydow her”, von Trotta bevæger blødt venstre hånd som stryger den over et leje, en person”, han har sovet og er lige vågnet og ser op i himlen. Så ser vi hans væbner endnu i søvn på den stenede strand. Kameraet finder hestene”; von Trotta, nu nær i markant profil, tegner kamerabevægelsen med højre hånd, så jeg mærker de heste tilhører netop disse to mænd og hun beskriver videre:

”Så er der et nærbillede af Max von Sydow. Han er meget anspændt og man mærker, at han ikke rigtigt ved hvad der venter ham. Solen står op, dagen begynder. Så vender væbneren sig i sin søvn.” Og jeg ser det i krydsklippet. ”Han ønsker klart ikke at vågne. Max von Sydow går lidt ud i vandet.” Jeg ser det igen i krydsklippet og faktisk også, om jeg lukkede øjnene, i von Trottas tekst som er som Bergmans måtte være før optagelserne dengang. Sådan er hele denne sekvens klippet.

”Han vasker sit ansigt i saltvandet. Som en forberedelse til den bøn han vil bede. Og så er der en lang optagelse hvor han træder op af vandet og knæler på stranden som er fyldt med sten. Det ser ud som bodsøvelse. Han prøver at bede.”

Margarethe von Trotta folder sine hænder, netop som jeg ser Max von Sydow gøre, med håndfladerne mod hinanden. ”Først meget alvorligt, men så mærker man, at han nok ikke kan bede så intenst som han gerne ville, vi forstår senere i filmen hvorfor. Så rejser han sig igen og i en lang optagelse går han tilbage til dette sted, hvor vi allerede havde skakbrættet. Han går ud af billedet og kameraet panorerer til skakbrættet med den sorte klippe i vandet i baggrunden som et advarselstegn. Dønninger vasker over skakbrættet som udviskes. Og så viser en sort skikkelse sig”:

Max von Sydow ser op: ”Hvem er du?”

Anders Ek: ”Jeg er døden.”

Max von Sydow: ”Kommer du for at hente mig?”

Anders Ek: ”Er du beredt?”

Max von Sydow: ”Min krop er beredt, ikke jeg selv.”

... og jeg kan nu vælge at høre og se von Trottas vidunderlige film med Bergmans mesterværk parallelt i tanken eller begynde med at se Det syvende segl endnu en gang som forberedelse til være med på sporet af Bergman.


Categories: Cinema, Film History, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

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