Filmkommentaren

Mila Turajlic: The Other Side of Everything

Written 18-11-2017 23:06:57 by Tue Steen Mller

Mila Turajlic: The Other Side of Everything

I am biased. I have known the director Mila Turajlic for the many years that I have taken part in the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade. And I have shared opinions about the films, we have shown at the festival - with her mother, Srbijanka Turajlic, who watches all films at the festival, and is the main character of the daughter's film, that shows the courage of the mother, a university professor in mathematics, whose political engagement brought her to be minister of education, when Milosevic was taken down from power in October 2000. She was a speaker at many huge manifestations against the Milosevic regime.

The film, however, has many layers: It takes place in the fine home of the family, where there are locked doors into some rooms of the apartment, doors which were locked when the communists came to power at the end of the 1940'es. Another family moved in and an old lady lives there, when the film takes its start. A metaphor for the past.

But it is also a film, that questions what revolutions are good for. Srbijanka Turajlic is awarded and says - she has a lot of dry humour - that this is first time she has got an award for a failed revolution, referring to what happened in the country after Milosevic.

Asked about that at the Q&A after the screening tonight here at the IDFA festival, where the film is in the international competition for long films, the strong veteran activist said that of course something changed - we got rid of Milosevic. And asked if daughter Mila - as she says in the film that she wants to leave the country - can do something? Of course she can, we all can and should be engaged to change not only Serbia but also Europe.

The photo for this review/report is not one that I like, but it was what I could find. In the film Srbijanka Turajlic has a cigarette in mouth or hand the whole way through. I love to see her in the big apartment, I love to see her polish silver, I love to see her lying on her bed reading Agathe Christie while the phone is ringing, she does not care, but she cares for her country, she has felt that she should help the students in their protests, I love to see the dinner and lunches she sets up with classical bourgeois plates, forks and knives... the scene for political discussions.

I ought not give marks, I do it anyway, high ones for daughter and mother. I raise a glass for them and the film!

Serbia, 2017, 104 mins. 

http://www.othersideofeverything.com

www.idfa.nl 


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Finlay Pretsell: Time Trial

Written 18-11-2017 12:46:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Finlay Pretsell: Time Trial

Of course you - as a Dane - are sceptical, when someone wants to make a film about one of the superstars of professional bicycling. Our national hero Jørgen Leth has made, what is to say about the suffering, the pain, the different styles, in many films - and he keeps on doing so as a commentator on Danish TV2 every year during the Tour de France. So why another one...

But young Scottish Finlay Pretsell dared to challenge the old master, and according to Pretsell Jørgen Leth likes the film, which he will be able to say to the audience this afternoon, where the film is being screened on a huge screen at the Carré, the national theatre, followed by a panel including the two.

I watched the film yesterday in a smaller cinema, Munt 13, and I was suffering with the protagonist David Millar on screen. My suffering was in solidarity with poor Millar, who fights to get his last Tour de France but loses - and very much due to the music composed by American Dan Deacon, music which is constantly surprising and sometimes a torture to take into the ears.

It has changed my view on music in documentaries, which normally is just filling in holes in weak scenes. Here it goes with the race and the situations, the sequences, the scenes. A great example of music in documentaries - here used for a film, which is so well constructed, full of funny moments, it’s not “only” the tragic fall of a hero.

Look at the photo, David Millar talking to one of his colleagues. A scene of calm contrary to the sequences at the race San Remo-Milan, where Millar should prove that he was good enough for his 13th Tour de France. He was not, as we experience. He is fighting with putting on his gloves in the terrible weather, he has to stop so a helper can get his rain coat in place, it is total misery as the two coaches in the car indirectly communicate to each other. They are wonderful side characters in a film, where also Millar’s room mate, Thomas Dekker, makes one laugh, when he says to Millar “there’s no time for you anymore”!

The beginning of the film showing Millar’s speciality, the time trial, one man against the clock, is breathtaking, maybe a bit to long, but once we are away from that, the film works perfectly in being a Film far away from what we watch on television every summer. Millar gives good information on technical matters like what are the breakaways, he does not want to talk about his doping scandal anymore, “I just wanted to do one Tour de France, I have done 12 and now I am pulled from number 13”.

Pretsell gets very close to Millar, a charismatic sportsman, indeed he is. A free man now! It’s an emotional race, enjoyable, it will go around, be sure of that.

http://www.timetrialfilm.com/ 


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Being at IDFA

Written 17-11-2017 23:38:42 by Tue Steen Mller

Being at IDFA

Look at that picture from a bridge in Amsterdam, where the biggest documentary film festival is taking place these days. It was here that I ran into Ally Derks this afternoon. Are you alone here, she asked, where is your partner? At home I said, remembering great moments my wife and I had with Ally at the It's All True Festival in Brazil, the one run by my cigar-smoking friend Amir Labaki. Lots of documentary talks in Rio and Sao Paolo, lots of caipirinha, fun, warm atmosphere. I am not going to be at the de Balie celebration of Ally Derks tomorrow - as I am working for "her" festival at the IDFA Academy - so I send this verbal hug to her and apologise that I had to to run for a screening, when we met in the street. I have seen 70 films before the festival she said... before we had to run for a screening. And for our lives as you have to in this city, that is governed by those on bikes, some of them pretty aggressive. 


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Mohamed Siam: Amal

Written 17-11-2017 11:00:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Mohamed Siam: Amal

The day after the opening of IDFA the director of “Amal”, Egyptian Mohammed Siam met the participants of the IDFA Academy to talk about the film, which they had all seen the night before or that very same morning. Siam was interviewed by the head of the IDFA Bertha Fund, Isabel Arrate Fernandez, and the two were joined on stage by the editor of the film Véronique Lagoarde - Ségot, praised, very well deserved, by the director, who outlined the process of getting to the final film.

“I had filmed 25 hours (in 6 years, ed.) and had started to assemble scenes… when I showed it to Véronique. She said “what the hell is that?”. She pointed to the fact that I had no rhythm skills, I am far too fast when I put things together”. Véronique Lagoarde - Ségot: “It was a beautiful gift, she was so pure, I had first of all to respect her. And to find the rhythm”.



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Mindaugas Survila: The Ancient Woods

Written 17-11-2017 09:15:44 by Tue Steen Mller

Mindaugas Survila: The Ancient Woods

Thursday was a beautiful evening for the Lithuanian director Mindaugas Survila, who celebrated his world premiere at IDFA with a full hall in the Munt Cinema 9. He was there with his wife, as was the editor Danielius Kokanauskis, who also worked with Survila on his first documentary “Field of Magic” (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/768/). An editor in strong demand by Lithuanian directors, but difficult to get hold of as he is working permanently for Sergei Loznitsa, who is almost constantly in production.

This second film of Survila, “The Ancient Woods”, could also easily have included the word magic. Or maybe better magnificent as the experience was for the viewer with this visit to some woods of Lithuania, that are still full of nature's wonders. There is no narration in the film - contrary to what is normal in nature films - the director, as he said, does not want to point at what we as viewers should see and think. 



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IDFA 2017 Opening

Written 16-11-2017 08:41:25 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA 2017 Opening

It was a brilliant IDFA opening night yesterday at the amazing Royal Theater Carré in Amsterdam. Film and tribute to Ally Derks, who has stepped down from her post as director of IDFA that she co-founded 30 years ago. The hall was full of people, who was more than pleased to join a standing ovation to her after a beautiful speech by Derk Sauer, chairman of the Board of IDFA, who characterised Derks as we know her, energetic, always on the side of the directors, the makers, and not that fond of all the administration and meetings, that follows when a festival has reached the size that has IDFA: 280.000 tickets sold last year! Before the speech to Ally Derks, who received a medal from the royal family, there were acrobats on stage and afterwards the new artistic director, Barbare Visser, introduced the programme of this year highlighting the program section “Visual Voice” which is dedicated to Ally Derks, a whole day at De Balie with the presence of documentary masters, who have grown up with the festival…. and then the opening film, Amal by Mohammed Siam, fine choice for a more than fine film, touching, more about that later.

www.idfa.nl 


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The European Documentary Magazine/ 2

Written 14-11-2017 12:32:03 by Tue Steen Mller

The European Documentary Magazine/ 2

The second print edition of the documentary magazine, MODERN TIMES REVIEW, that took over when DOX was stopped by its publisher EDN (European Documentary Network), is out. It was in the festival bags at DOK Leipzig and it will be at IDFA as will the editor, Norwegian Truls Lie, chapeau for him and his work. 24 pages, lots of reviews, features, opinions – it took me hours to read it all, very good quality.

The magazine says that it deals with ”… keywords could be conflicts, peace work, surveillance, control societies, climate. Ecology, ethics and philosophy…”

Over two pages three of the competition films at IDFA are reviewed: Jessica Gorter’s ”The Red Soul” (PHOTO) (the Stalin cult today and before), Mila Turajlic’s personal ”The Other Side of Everything” from Serbia today and before, and Håvard Bustnes visit to Greece, ”The Golden Dawn Girls”. Watch the films and read the reviews afterwards to see if you agree. There is also a mini interview with IDFA’s artistic director Barbara Visser, who says that IDFA is there ”to promote the cinematic documentary… the cinematic experience is something that many  filmmakers aspire to, and for good reasons: one works on film to create a memorable experience, not just to transfer information”. Agree, but don’t underestimate the information side. Another question to her was ”what do you think about the term ”movies that matter”. Answer: ”All good movies matter”. YES, and let’s get rid of that kind of meaningless slogans!

Take a subscription to the magazine and read about the new films and dig into the archive:

”A yearly subscription gives you the spring and fall issues of Modern Times Review, full access to all (soon 1000 articles from the last 20 years) online articles, and the monthly documentary screenings.”

www.moderntimes.review 


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Masters at IDFA

Written 13-11-2017 16:33:29 by Tue Steen Mller

Masters at IDFA

Not all films can go to the competitive sections, of course not, so festivals arrange strands like Panorama and Masters, at IDFA both are there, with 32 titles in the first and 29 in the latter, where also older films are brought into the spotlight.

As a visitor for five days I know it is impossible to watch all the films, which are listed in the masters section. Luckily there are several that I have already seen and that we have written about on this site, and luckily there are films that we can take a look at later in the long dark winter nights coming up in our part of the world…

This is really gonna be a slate of name-dropping: Malek Bensmail tells the story behind Pontecorvo’s ”The Battle of Algier”, Andres Veiel has made a film on ”Beuys”, Romanian ”The Dead Nation”  by Radu Jude ”is a documentary-essay, which shows a stunning collection of photographs from a Romanian small town in the 1930's and 1940's. The soundtrack, composed mostly from excerpts taken from the diary of a Jewish doctor from the same era, shows us what the photographs do not: the rising of the anti-Semitism and eventually a harrowing depiction of the Romanian Holocaust, a topic which is not very talked about in the contemporary Romanian society.”

I am so much looking forward to seeing Agnès Varda’s ”Faces



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16 Classics and New Docs from the Arab World

Written 12-11-2017 16:34:21 by Tue Steen Mller

16 Classics and New Docs from the Arab World

… at the upcoming IDFA with the title ”Shifting Perspectives: The Arab World” with a clear intention: ”IDFA offers a counterbalance to Western stereotypes that ignore the complexity of the Arabic-speaking world and keep ‘the Arab’ at arm’s length, as ”the other””.

If you want to see this program, which is excellent, you should be in Amsterdam November 17-19, where the films are screened followed in many cases by discussions.

Among the classics are two films by late Syrian documentary master Omar Amiralay, ”A Flood in Baath Country” and ”The Misfortunes of Some”. I met the gentle director when in Damascus for the Dox Box festival, that was organised by Diana El Jeiroudi and Orwa Nyrabia. Here is a text-link written for the opening of the fourth edition of the festival in March 2011 – Amarilay passed away in February that same year: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1492/

Several of the films have been reviewed on this site:



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Jury at Listapad Minsk Festival Protests

Written 11-11-2017 20:42:02 by Tue Steen Mller

Jury at Listapad Minsk Festival Protests

… like many other festivals have done holding up a sign saying ”Free Oleg Sentsov”, the Ukrainian filmmaker who was arrested by the Russian authorities in March 2014 in Crimea and sentenced to 20 years in jail on suspicion of “plotting terrorist acts”.

The Belarussian media did not want to publish the photo showing the protest, this is how it looked like – www.filmkommentaren.dk


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Wonderful Losers Wins Two Awards in Minsk

Written 11-11-2017 11:13:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Wonderful Losers Wins Two Awards in Minsk

Photo of a happy man, Lithuanian Arunas Matelis, on stage in Minsk at the Listapad Minsk International Film Festival. As I wrote some days ago the selection for the main documentary competition was very strong - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4077/ - so also from that perspective it is a true appreciation of the work by Arunas Matelis that he received not only an award as the best documentary film but also the audience award for the best documentary. The film ”Wonderful Losers: A Different World” (with coproducers from Lithuania, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Latvia, UK, Ireland, Spain!) has now participated in two festivals (first one in Warsaw) and won 3 awards! Matelis is - by the way – used to receive awards. His previous film ”Before Flying Back to the Earth” got the main awards at DOK Leipzig and at IDFA.

The Georgian ”City of the Sun” by Rati Oneli (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3995/) received the Special Jury award and there was a diploma for the Polish masterpiece ”The Prince and the Dybbuk” (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4052/ by Elvira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski.

Both of these films are screened at the upcoming IDFA but not the film by Arunas Matelis, why not? However, it is available at the festival's Docs for Sale.

Also to be mentioned: there were a couple of special prizes for the wonderful ”The Last Waltz” by Russian Yulia Bobkova (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3984/ and one for the fine ”Country of Women” by Aliaksei Paluyan (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4071/)

None of them are at IDFA.

Read more on the website, link below.

Photo taken by Lithuanian film critic and festival programmer Edvinas Pukšta. Thanks.

http://listapad.com/en/

PS. The jury for the documentaries – Andrei Zagdansky, Dmitri Makhomet, Zanete Ašcuka, Anna Zamecka and Gennady Kofman – advocated at the festival for ”Free Oleg Sentsov”. Respect! http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3943/


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IDFA Preparations

Written 10-11-2017 12:24:37 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Preparations

Wednesday IDFA, International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam, starts. And I am going there for five nights. Due to being part of the IDFA Academy, this great initiative of the festival, where young filmmakers get the chance to meet each other, share their ideas and projects and get inspiration from cameraperson Kirsten Johnson and directors like Kim Longinotto and Frederick Wiseman to mention the most famous ones. Together with Cecilia Lidin, with whom I worked at the EDN way back in time, I will be available for meetings in the afternoon.

The last couple of days I have been preparing my stay in hopefully not too foggy Amsterdam. The festival is overwhelming with talks, masterclasses, industry screenings (very good as many take place in the mornings) and good friends invite you to premieres of their films. Happy that there is a Docs for Sale, got to find films for a couple of festivals and for writing on this blog.

Let me mention two which are scheduled in my agenda:



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Tereza Nvotov: Mečiar

Written 08-11-2017 14:25:06 by Tue Steen Mller

Tereza Nvotov: Mečiar

”Vladimir Meciar was the first Minister of Interior post Velvet revolution of 1989 and the threetime re-elected Prime Minister of Slovakia. He was an undeniably charismatic politician „ loved by the nation“ and his profound influence on the contemporary political climate of Slovakia cannot be doubted. His final period in government 1994-1998, was marked by an authoritarian almost autocratic rule, misuse of power in the biggest privatisation causes and scandals and unauthorised activities of the secret services. It was this governance which ruled Slovakia out of the process of being accepted in the EU and NATO…”.

These words come from the website of the film about Meciar, link below. The film that has the subtitle ”Lust for Power”, was the opening film at the Jihlava festival recently, understandable as it deals with a politician known, hated and loved in Czech Republic and Slovakia.

I met Tereza Nvotová in March in Prague this year, where she



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Listapad Minsk: Truth Love Beauty

Written 07-11-2017 14:06:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Listapad Minsk: Truth Love Beauty

I was there a couple of times, in Minsk Belarus for the film festival, that has a well chosen documentary program with Irina Demyanova as the responsible. 12 films are competing in the documentary section. I am happy I am not in the jury. Let me point at four films of high quality, written about on this site:

1. Julia Bobkova: The Last Waltz: ”… fascinating film about Oleg Karavaichuk, composer and piano player from St. Petersburg,”

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3984/

2. Elwira Niewiera & Piotr Rosolowski: The Prince and the Dybbuk ”…for me "The Prince and the Dybbuk" is a strong candidate to be my Documentary of the Year.”

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3993/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4052/

3. Miroslav Janek: Normal Autistic Film

”… dynamic and playful documentary, the work of one of the most important European authors when it comes to children, especially children who don’t blend in and who are different from the majority.”

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3816/

4. Arunas Matelis: Wonderful Losers: A Different World

”…deserves to travel the world because of its cinematic qualities”

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4048/

http://listapad.com/en/programm/osnovnoy-konkurs-dokumentalnogo-kino/


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Ana Dumitrescu: Licu a Romanian Story

Written 06-11-2017 22:20:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Ana Dumitrescu: Licu  a Romanian Story

The jury for the long, international documentaries at DOK Leipzig chose Ana Dumitrescu’s ”Licu-a Romanian Story” as the winner of the 60th edition of the festival. I did not watch the film in Leipzig but did so tonight on a computer and I can only nod YES to the decision taken by musician and writer Anne Clark, master documentarian Heddy Honigmann and former arte commissioner Luciano Rigolini. I copy paste their motivation:

"In a humble house, there is a very old man sitting and telling us not only his story but the story of 2 centuries. To make this possible in a film is a very difficult task which requires love for your character and an exceptional cinematic eye. In these days when the only thing that counts is viewing figures a filmmaker with almost no budget dares to say I will do it in another way. This way goes directly to our hearts, creating a filmic journey which lasts only 86 minutes but for us it is a life lesson."

And a copy paste as well of the fine DOK Leipzig catalogue text by Sirkka Möller:



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DOK Leipzig 2017 Ceremony

Written 05-11-2017 11:21:30 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig 2017 Ceremony

… took place at Westbad, a former venue for the citizens to go to swim. Now turned into one big room for concerts, conferences and the prize ceremony of the 60 year old festival. Tables were put up with wine and snacks, very nice, as was the performance of the conferencier, former MDR commissioning editor Claudia Schreiner. Not an easy job – seven Golden Doves and an overall total of 21 awards, comprising €73.500 – and it was not her fault that the ceremony took almost three hours.

One who contributed to the overtime was the spokesperson for the Interreligious Jury. She talked and talked and came up with a harsh criticism of the festival for its selection and lack of political films. Schreiner, as conferencier, opposed her on stage and the producer of ”The Congo Tribunal”, Arne Birkenstock, used his thank you speech for an honorary mention to the film to make a pretty tough attack on the jury spokesperson for saying – in German that many in the audience do not understand – that 11 films out of the 12 in the main competition were bad. His speech was warmly welcomed. Also festival director Leena Pasanen felt that she had to make the comment that the festival does not look for films that directly point to what the filmmaker wants the audience to think. Of course not.

No reason to hide that this incident – a jury member that makes a strong critique of the selection, a jury member from the Interreligious jury! – did take away some of the good atmosphere of the ceremony, especially because we non-fluent-in-German-language did not get what was going on.

Having said so, it was great to have competent filmmakers and –



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DOK Leipzig/ Delta

Written 04-11-2017 17:01:09 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig/ Delta

The introduction of a ”Next Masters Competition” at DOKLeipzig is an excellent idea. I have seen some of the choices for this year and so far one stands out, the Ukrainian ”Delta” by Oleksandr Techynski. It lives up to the reasons I give when asked why I often praise Eastern European documentaries:

It is multilayered, it has a clear aesthetic choice with a skilled camerawork that suits the theme or rather the location, it’s a Film: the delta of the Danube, a kind of Klondyke, where people live under harsh chaotic conditions and where men with worn faces struggle their way through the reed that they harvest to sheaf, to bring in to be sold. They work in all kind of weather – ice cold winters, and under milky foggy skies. Most often on a boat as you can see on the photo, where a man lies dead drunk next to wood that has been cut down to stump. But it is also a place where the transport of a dead body demands quite an effort. There are some moments, where the film takes the viewer inside a house, where a grown-up son has his hair cut by his mother and there are many scenes with vodka being drunk. Lots of focus on faces.

Stylistically there is a move on the film, a flow that is carried by painting-like images superbly composed, no music (thank you for that!). No message, it seems to me that the director wants to say: this is what I saw, he keeps a distance, he interprets with his images, he is not from there, he observes.

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/


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DOK Leipzig/ Congo and Russia

Written 04-11-2017 11:57:30 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig/ Congo and Russia

I have not (yet) been able to watch all films in the international competition for long documentaries – there are 12 – but I want to highlight two, which could deserve an award tonight:

Experienced Aliona van der Horst has made a wonderful film, ”Love is Potatoes” (Netherlands, 2017, 90 mins.) that takes place in the countryside in Russia, where her mother grew up before she as a grown-up married a Dutchman and moved with him. Her mother had five sisters. Van der Horst goes to the small house (PHOTO), meets up with cousins as she is inheriting 6 square meters of the house! It’s a film, where she wants to find out what kind of life her mother had in Stalinist Soviet Union. She looks at photos, she talks to cousin Tanya, to aunt Liza, who does not remember any big problems, ”all was normal”, but it was NOT, she slowly finds out – women were dying in the corn fields, 1933, the deadly famine… Van der Horst uses (brilliant) animation by Italian Simone Massi and what is so unique about the film showing the safe hand of the director: the quiet, non-dramatic tone of the film and some unforgettable scenes like the one, where she puts all the shoes on the floor, lots of shoes… why, the male cousin asks, because they did not have shoes, so after the famine… The film has touching scenes: the mother, still alive but not able to talk, to react to the daughter’s questions. The daughter/director looking at photos of her mother as young. Yes, I can identify. Great film.

”The Congo Tribunal” by Milo Rau is an amazing achievement by the film&theatre director. He set it all up, two tribunals, he found his characters to come to one tribunal in Congo, one in Berlin, he shot a lot of material in the country, he has witnesses to the many massacres talk, he has so-called experts analyse the mining industry and its international players. A fictional tribunal, a documentary theatre, but one that brings forward the human atrocities of a country that seldom is on the front pages of the media. It is full of strong moments and characters. After this film I want to know more, to understand better what has happened and what is happening in the tormented country forgotten by the EU and and the UN.

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/


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Aliaksei Paluyan: Country of Women

Written 04-11-2017 08:34:39 by Tue Steen Mller

Aliaksei Paluyan: Country of Women

One of the many good things at the DOK Leipzig is the market, where you go with your 300 page catalogue to choose between 272 films from 66 countries! You have your code, you find a film, put on your headphones and you watch a film in good quality on the monitor. All films screened in the festival cinemas are there but you can also find small pearls that did not make it to the competition like ”Country of Women” from Belarus, by young Aliaksei Paluyan, who lives in Germany and in Belarus.

Look at the photo, she is one of the four women in the film, who are introduced one after the other, tell about their lives, sing a song or two, while they take the viewer around in their houses. She lived 56 years together with her husband, ”a peaceful life together”, she is full of life as are the other three, although two of them had a tougher life. One has been a widow for decades, the other says ”I suffered with him for 40 years” – alcohol. It’s memories, it’s survival and it’s put together in a simple montage with shots from the landscape surrounding the village and storks who reside on the houses. And the singing is wonderful.

Go to the website, link below, look at the photos and the trailer; fine film by the director, who prepares a new one, ”People from the Moor”. He asked me if it was a good idea to take it to the training programme Ex Oriente. Indeed! That’s where talents can grow.

Belarus, 26 mins., 2017

http://www.countryofwomen.com/


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DOK Leipzig Opening/ Leena Pasanen

Written 02-11-2017 07:47:24 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Opening/ Leena Pasanen

Festival director of DOK Leipzig Leena Pasanen regrets the lack of female directors in the German competition for long documentaries. She wants to do something about it, read this from the opening of the festival monday night:

"Women in film business have been in the headlines over the last weeks, but once again not for the reasons they should be there, as celebrated directors.

Unfortunately, our news are not good either. In the German competition for long films, we only have one female director as a co-director.  After a strong year in 2016, we are again in this situation.

We have checked our statistics and we can see, that every second or third year, there is a lack of female directors in German competition for long documentaries. This is the case even when the number of submitted films and the selection criteria stay the same. What is wrong?

It would be easy to blame others, say that we are just the receiving end, and the problem is in funding and production. There surely are structural issues, and we need a proper research to look into the problem. But it is also our duty as one of the leading festivals to push for the change. For the film selection of 2018 and 2019 the head of the selection committee Ralph Eue and I have decided to put a quota in our German Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film for female filmmakers. I’m well aware that there will be strong voices against this quota, also from women filmmakers, but I can only say, sometimes you need strong decisions to break the tradition and push for a change.  We cannot have another year, without female voices in German competition."

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/


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Dmitry Bogolubov: The Wall

Written 30-10-2017 12:05:53 by Tue Steen Mller

Dmitry Bogolubov: The Wall

At the Jihlava Intl. FF they have a fine tradition that has been picked up by other festivals: to have a one man/woman jury for one of the competitive sections, the Opus Bonum.

Legendary filmmaker from Latvia Laila Pakalnina was the one to choose this year according to this rule (quote from the festival site): … an outstanding documentary film of the year from a diverse collection representing tendencies in world documentary; since all of the films are significant, the festival suggest the following game; a single juror picks a single film, a “brilliant” work…

The Best World Documentary Film 2017 was – according to Pakalnina: ”The Wall” by Dmitry Bogolubov. Motivation: ”For using the film language to express the inexpressible. For Film”.

The synopsis goes like this: ”The Stalin Cult is once again gaining



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Vurdering:

 
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Antalya Film Forum Winners 2017

Written 27-10-2017 08:17:31 by Tue Steen Mller

Antalya Film Forum Winners 2017

For the fourth time the Antalya Film Forum took place. I was here last year as well and can say that the always smiling and positive Zeynep Atakan and her young female team has established an event that has grown and is run with professional generosity.

The documentary has found a place at the Forum – it is still a little brother but one that is taken care of and recognised. The six selected projects were all interesting one way or the other and I had the privilege to get to know the people behind the films to be. Through training and meetings.

The two jurors Sevdije Kastrati from Kosovo and Dennis Wheatley



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Antalya FF Pitch of Turkish Docs & Ai WeiWei

Written 25-10-2017 23:28:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Antalya FF  Pitch of Turkish Docs & Ai WeiWei

The pitching of 6 Turkish documentary projects took place wednesday mid-day with a good audience and two competent jury members Sevdije Kastrati from Kosovo and Dennis Wheatley from the UK. Slightly different from what we are used to in European pitch sessions, the Antalya Film Forum has chosen to give 8 minutes for presentation, including clip plus 5 minutes for the jurors to ask questions and/or give comments. Tomorrow night the two winners of each 8000$ for development will be announced and I will write a bit more about the projects, two of them connected to Cyprus and one dealing indirectly with the Kurds.

And the day ended with the screening of Ai WeiWei’s ”Human Flow”. After the festival had managed to get hold of a copy that was not damaged. The cancellation of the first screening raised a lot of speculations about censorship – the film touches upon the Turkish-Kurdish relationship – which is totally nonsense. There is no reason NOT to believe what is detailed described in the statement of the festival that I referred to in the previous blogpost.

The film is brilliant, an extraordinarily rich 140 minutes long documentation of the world we live in. There are texts on the screen, facts from places full of refugeees and migrants, poetic sentences from writers, a film full of different styles, Ai WeiWei in the picture, reportage style, some fantastic almost surrealistic sequences, stunning images (PHOTO), interviews with many UNHCR representatives, small warm scenes, children children children, it’s masterly put together. It deserves a longer review and that will come the next time I see it on a big screen.

www.antalyaff.com


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Antalya Film Forum 2017

Written 23-10-2017 18:01:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Antalya Film Forum 2017

For the second time I am at the Antalya Film Forum in Turkey that is the industry event connected to the festival that celebrates its 54th edition. Last year I was in a documentary jury that gave awards to two Turkish projects, and did a pep talk on documentaries with clips - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3728/ - this year I have been part of the committee that selected the projects to be pitched this year. There are 6 of them, two will be awarded with $ 8000, each.

I had the pleasure of making a training session for the filmmakers behind the 6 projects that will be pitched on wednesday. With follow-up meetings like the one on the PHOTO, where I am looking at a trailer for a film called ”Ada” (The Island). To the left the director Sevinc Baloglu, to the right the producer Su Baloglu, mother and daughter, who are making a film from Cyprus from a personal point of view and including a 99 year old woman, who is living in the buffer zone in the divided island. She just published a book called ”My First Hundred Years”!

This morning I went to watch AiWeiWei’s ”Human Flow” at 9. But



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Wonderful Winner at Warsaw International FF

Written 22-10-2017 10:37:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Wonderful Winner at Warsaw International FF

”Wonderful Losers” was the wonderful winner in the documentary competition at the international film festival in Warsaw. Here is what I found on the website of the festival, after the award ceremony last night:

DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION Jury: Volia Chajkouskaya - Belarus, Anna Zamecka - Poland, Jude Ratnam - Sri Lanka awarded: Best Documentary Feature: WONDERFUL LOSERS: A DIFFERENT WORLD by Arūnas Matelis, Lithuania, Latvia, Italy, Belgium

… competent jury of filmmakers who made a choice that for sure will help the film of Arūnas Matelis in its future life around the world. This is what the film is about, taken from its website:

”For spectators, cyclists in the back of the race are simply the losers. They are called water carriers, domestics, gregarios, and Sancho Panzas of professional cycling. Moreover, they have no right to personal victories - these sportsmen sacrifice their careers to help their teammates.

We follow the magnificent world of the race from the point of view of the doctors' team situated in a claustrophobically small medical car surrounded with wounded cyclists. The life of the medical team in race reminds one on the frontline of war. Cyclists crash, rise and race again. And amongst this fight, many magnificent things happen.

This film-odyssey reveals the untold world of the wonderful losers, true warriors, knights and monks of professional cycling…”

Lithuania is a country that has a fine tradition in professional cycling with Edita Pučinskaitė as one of the stars. She was in Warsaw for the premiere and she has been helping Arūnas Matelis and Algimantė Matelienė as a consultant and researcher. Read more about her, link below.

topics.revolvy.com/topic/Edita

http://www.wonderfullosers.com/ 


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Andreas Horvath: Helmut Berger - Actor

Written 18-10-2017 17:56:20 by Tue Steen Mller

Andreas Horvath: Helmut Berger - Actor

In the 1970’es my friend Kjell Væring and I went to see Luchino Visconti’s ”Ludwig” about King Ludwig II of Bavaria, 235 mins.(!). A masterpiece that we watched in a big cinema on Champs Élysées in Paris. We wrote about the film for a Danish newspaper and our admiration for the master director was made bigger with that film as with those that followed – ”The Damned” and ”The Conversation Piece”. Very much because of the unique acting by Helmut Berger, the companion of Visconti.

So I expected that Andreas Horvath’s film on Berger from 2015, decades after the films mentioned, would be about how it was to live with and act in films by Visconti. The life of an actor, what is acting… I am sure that was also what Horvath intended to do. It never happened. Well he cuts some times to a signed photo of Visconti on the wall in the flat in Salzburg, where most of the film takes place.



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DOK Leipzig Alvarez, Varda, Kluge, Panh, Rau

Written 15-10-2017 11:42:34 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig  Alvarez, Varda, Kluge, Panh, Rau

Yes, political films, films on political issues, film history. DOK Leipzig offers at its 60th edition 24 short and longer documentaries under the title ”commanders, chairmen, general secretaries”. Which refers to an event at the festival. Catalogue text by Ralph Eue goes like this:

”An experimental application of the thesis of many early theorists of cinematography according to which cinema is less an illusion machine to transport ready-made narratives than a machine to pioneer a new type of thought and narrative. Alexander Kluge gave his nine-hour audiovisual investigation of Eisenstein’s plan to adapt Marx’s “Capital” on film the title: “News from Ideological Antiquity. Marx – Eisenstein – Das Kapital” (2008). Intelligent work on a monument has turned into a monument itself by now. Let us address it by making this appeal: Re-Think!

The media scholar Christian Schulte, co-editor of the “Alexander Kluge-Jahrbuch”, and the publicist Jörg Becker invite us to a joint reading of some passages of this mammoth project (and other, thematically related films, contributions and broadcasts by the director). What is the purpose of this reading? Recovering from ideological antiquity a few clues, even though they may be only fragments, that will help us to better understand the future.”

Otherwise I am tempted to watch and rewatch ”Black Panthers” by Agnés Varda, ”My Brother Fidel” by Santiago Alvarez, ”A Day at the Grave of Karl Marx” by Finnish Peter von Bagh, ”The Missing Picture” by Rithy Panh and ”The Moscow Trials” by Milo Rau.

Rau also has a film in the international competition, ”The Congo Tribunal” (PHOTO) , 2017, 100 mins. Go to the site of the festival to watch the impressive, strong trailer. And check the website of the tribunal and the comments of the director.

https://filmfinder.dok-leipzig.de/en/?&section=236

http://www.the-congo-tribunal.com/film.html#statement


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DOK Leipzig Loves Polish Documentaries/ 2

Written 15-10-2017 10:49:18 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Loves Polish Documentaries/ 2

Leena Pasanen, director of DOK Leipzig, wrote this to me yesterday:

Dear Tue, bad news from Poland indeed. This is the text i had written for our catalogue to introduce our Polish special programme. Had no idea at that time, that Sroka would be fired a week later:

“It took a decade of constant development, hard work and financial effort to bring Polish films back to their former fame, but it paid off. Today Polish filmmakers are again familiar faces at award ceremonies all over the world and respected and wanted co-producing partners.

How long will it take to vitiate this success, if the shadow of right-wing populism reaches the filmmaking community and puts in danger the current support system? How long will it take, before the market is full of pretty little films of Polish history, if the decision makers are selected by political and not by professional merits? This little programme is to show how much we love these films and how very unfortunately it would be for the whole filmmaking world, if these films would not exist.”

Photo: Communion by Anna Zamecka, part of the programme


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DOK Leipzig Loves Polish Documentaries

Written 14-10-2017 11:37:27 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Loves Polish Documentaries

… and has put together a special program, ”a declaration of Love to Polish docs”, for the festival. Readers of this site will know that Polish documentaries are highly valued through reports from the Krakow festival, lots of positive reviews (last one being ”The Prince and the Dybbuk” some days ago) and below you will find a link to an article called ”Why I love Polish Documentaires”, a love story that has lasted more than 25 years…

More about the Leipzig program later, first some sad news that makes one wonder if the good period for Polish films is over with the increasing involvement of the government, that through their minister of culture has made the move to dismiss the director of the Polish Film Institute, Magdalena Sroka. You can read all about it on the site of Film New Europe, link below, but here comes some quotes:



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Astra Film Festival in Sibiu Romania

Written 13-10-2017 11:07:44 by Tue Steen Mller

Astra Film Festival in Sibiu Romania

… has existed since 1993 and offers a quality program, of course with a focus on what happens in current Romanian documentary but also with an international scope – the festival takes place October 16 to 22 in nice Sibiu. I was there some years ago and enjoyed the stay and the festival.

Let me quote from the site and urge you to get the whole picture through the link below:

”Voices of Doc is a theme section dedicated to authors whose names have become a synonym of authenticity and creativity in cinema. This section bring the latest works signed by three



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Jihlava International Documentary FF

Written 12-10-2017 23:30:11 by Tue Steen Mller

Jihlava International Documentary FF

… takes place October 24 till October 29, DOKLeipzig starts October 30 and runs until November 5, 10 days later it is IDFA in Amsterdam. It is rather crowded with important documentary festivals within a month, one can say, I have before been able to jump from one to the other, this year I go to Leipzig and Amsterdam.

But let me start by commenting on some of many fine elements of the 21st festival in Jihlava in Czech Republic: 10 competition sections, including ”testimonies” on politics, knowledge and nature. Let me mention one fine title from each – ”Ghost Hunting” by Raed Andoni, ”… when you look away” by Phie Ambo and ”Wilder than Wilderness” by Marián Polák. I saw a clip from Polák’s film in Prague in March, very appealing, here is the synopsis: ”An expedition into the Czech countryside reveals the adventurous stories of plants and animals that take place all around us, and explores fascinating places where nature is returning after being devastated by man. The film, narrated by the filmmaker, captures the true wildness of nature and the course of filming.”

Film history is represented through a retrospective of films by legendary Jean Rouch and I would have loved to be in Jihlava to



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Award at the Aegean Docs festival to

Written 09-10-2017 16:08:40 by Tue Steen Mller

Award at the Aegean Docs festival to

… ”The Beast is Still Alive” by Bulgarian Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova as the best International Documentary of the 5th Aegean Docs in Greece, that was held October 1-6, in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos.

It is a film that I have reviewed on this site as an interview with myself (hmmm!), here is a quote, link for the whole thing below:

”The period of communism is not dealt with in the school books in current Bulgaria. You understand why, when you in the film, person by person, is told what this and this parliament member did during the years of communism and when you see and hear about the concentration camp Belene, where thousands of opposition people ended their lives. This is the strong side of the film, the focus on Bulgaria – present and past…”

The film that has created a lot of debate in Bulgaria (and anger from politicians) has been long on the festival circuit, which proves that the festival life of a film can be longer than the normally mentioned one year.

Go also to the first link to discover more about the fine small Greek festival. 

http://www.aegeandocs.gr/en/?cat=25

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3672/

http://beast-film.com/beast-film_home/index.html


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Arunas Matelis: Wonderful Losers

Written 04-10-2017 21:45:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Arunas Matelis: Wonderful Losers

… with the subtitle ”A Different World”, a film that many of us, who think Lithuanian Arunas Matelis is a great artistic documentary film director, have been waiting for – will have its premiere at the Warsaw International Film Festival that takes place October 13-22, a festival for fiction, shorts and documentaries. Arunas and his wife Alge, from their Studio Nominum in Vilnius, have produced a film of high quality (I have seen it just before final cut) that deserves to travel the world because of its cinematic qualities and its invitation to us viewers to look into – as the subtitle says- a different world. It’s (also) a film on professional cycling that touches upon existential questions. Here is the synopsis from the site of the film, link below:

”For spectators, cyclists in the back of the race are simply the losers. They are called water carriers, domestics, gregarios, and Sancho Panzas of professional cycling. Moreover, they have no right to personal victories - these sportsmen sacrifice their careers to help their teammates. We follow the magnificent world of the race from the point of view of the doctors' team situated in a claustrophobically small medical car surrounded with wounded cyclists. The life of the medical team in race reminds one on the frontline of war. Cyclists crash, rise and race again. And amongst this fight, many magnificent things happen. This film-odyssey reveals the untold world of the wonderful losers, true warriors, knights and monks of professional cycling.”

From a production point of view the credits show an amazing list of co-producers (with 10 cinematographers!) – let me mention them from the credits: Stefilm Italy, Dok Mobile Switzerland, Associate Directors Belgium, VFS Films Latvia, Dearcan Media N.Ireland/UK, Planet Korda Ireland, SUICA Films Spain, Arturas Jevdokimovas for Kino Kontora.

Normally you say that too many cooks spoil the meal – having know Arunas Matelis and his work for more than 25 years I can assure you that this is a film that has his signature.

Wish you luck wth the premiere!

http://www.wonderfullosers.com

https://wff.pl/en/festival-2017/programme


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3 Documentaries from Netflix

Written 03-10-2017 20:45:25 by Tue Steen Mller

3 Documentaries from Netflix

I have no real overview of what Netflix offers, when it comes to documentaries. Below you find a link to an article that recommends the best documentaries on Netflix and there are many fine names. And titles which you can also find, when you go to Netflix itself and click on the documentary section. You find names like Werner Herzog, AiWeiWei, Banksy, Errol Morris, Marina Abramovic, Nick Broomfield, Albert Maysles and titles like ”O.J. Simpson”, ”Long Shot”, ”Making a Murderer”, ”Amanda Knox”, ”The Promise”, ”Strong Island” – all crime documentaries, not to forget the films on Janis Joplin and Nina Simone... But you have to search carefully as they are listed among a lot of tabloid stuff.

Nevertheless – as we are Netflix subscribers in our household - I assure you that the grandchildren already from age 3 know the name Netflix – I watched three documentaries recently, two of them were at Nordisk Panorama competition in Malmø and the third one I picked up because it was the subject of a double page article in a Danish newspaper.



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DOK Leipzig Loznitsa & Rosenblatt

Written 30-09-2017 16:59:53 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig  Loznitsa & Rosenblatt

One more quote from a DOK Leipzig press release:

Two DOK Masterclasses will cover the topic of archival footage given by world-renowned directors. Sergei Loznitsa will introduce his personal way of working with found footage, talk about the power of montage to shape a film, and discuss how he deals with the boundary between documentary film and fiction. This event is taking place in cooperation with ARTE. Experimental short filmmaker Jay Rosenblatt, to whom the festival dedicates its homage this year, will explain how he assembles his collage and essay films. For his sometimes highly personal films he uses, for example, excerpts from educational, amateur and corporate films.

Various discussion formats address current trends and pressing issues of the documentary film industry. The Industry Talk "North American Distribution Expanded" will explore the distribution opportunities and strategies that the North American market has to offer. Panelists include Orly Ravid (The Film Collaborative, Los Angeles) and Robin Smith (Kinosmith, Toronto). The risks to filmmakers, protagonists and funders when shooting documentary films will be addressed in the talk "Protecting Yourself, Protecting your Protagonists" with Mike Lerner (Nutopia Films; work includes "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer"), Zeynep Güzel (Yeni Film Fund, Istanbul) and Yulia Serdyukova (producer of "All Things Ablaze" (PHOTO) among others). 

As part of the rough cut presentations "DOK Preview Germany" and "DOK Preview Training" (in cooperation with seven European training initiatives) 13 film projects are set to be presented, all of which are ready for international distribution. Around 80 decision-makers from 30 countries will be present…

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/


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DOK Leipzig Co-Pro Market

Written 28-09-2017 17:18:34 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Co-Pro Market

DOK Leipzig (October 30-November 5) has a strong market side parallel to the festival. The film selection for the competitive sections will be announced October 10 but already now you can get an impression of which projects to be presented at the DOK Co-Pro Market. From 350 applications, 35 were picked. And from the ones that I know about, I can only say – well done, strong projects, many of them away from the ordinary tv language like:

”The Smuggle Town” from Latvia by director and cinematographer Ivars Zviedris, presented at the Baltic Sea Forum in September, as was ”I’ll Stand by You” by Lithuanian/Italian Virginija Vareikyte and Maximilien Dejoie, both films with high-quality cinematography as you can also expect from another Lithuanian Audrius Mickevicius with his ”Exemplary Behaviour”. It was Mickevicius, who many years ago made ”Man-Horse”, a lyrical wonderfully slow documentary that was actually bought by several tv stations. His new project is different but also with a strong emphasis on the visualisation. And from Ukraine, by Alina Gorlova, the touching project about ”Andrey Suleyman”, who went from one war, in Syria, to another, in Eastern Ukraine. From Serbia comes Dragan Nikolic with his ”The Black Wedding”. Nikolic you will remember as the one, who made ”Caviar Connection” years ago.

Not to forget that Heddy Honigmann will come to Leipzig with her ”100UP”, a portrait of the lucky, or are they, people who reach that age!

And there are film projects from Afghanistan, Russia, Colombia, South Korea, Poland, Czech Republic, Georgia, South Africa, Turkey – and of course some from France and Belgium and Italy.

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/industry/co-pro-market/co-pro-projects-2017


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DOK Leipzig/ History

Written 28-09-2017 16:29:09 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig/ History

Take a close look at the photo that is to be found on the website of the festival in Leipzig in connection with a very interesting article written by Andreas Kötzing, who has written several books on the festival. Written because the festival this year celebrates its 60th edition. Amazing! Let me quote his opening of the article:

Unannounced screenings after midnight? Films smuggled over the border in a suitcase? Hotel rooms bugged by the Stasi? Legends about the Leipzig film festival abound. Many of them date back to the GDR days when the festival was still called Internationale Leipziger Dokumentar- und Kurzfilmwoche für Kino und Fernsehen. And as always with stories that have been retold again and again over the years, it’s hard to tell where the truth lies. Impressions of the early days are entering oblivion. Take this famous photo from 1964 for example.

Group photo 1964. First row (f.l.t.r.): Jean Lods, Santiago Alvarez, Basil Wright, Paul Rotha, Frances Flaherty, Richard Leacock, Alberto Cavalcanti, Dolmetscherin, Bert Haanstra; Second row (f.l.t.r.): Andrew Thorndike, Henry Storck, Gianvittorio Baldi, Goverhandas Aggarwal, John Grierson, Ivor Montague, Karl Gass, Bruno Sefranka, Joris Ivens, Walter Heynowski, Annelie Thorndike, Václav Taborski, Chris Marker, Saad Nadim, Gerhard Scheumann, Dušan Vukotič.
Photo: Bundesarchiv, DR 140/ Bild (1964) / Alfred Paszkowiak.

Oh yes, this is film history. Looking at the photo makes me think about the great films these nicely dressed gentlemen and a couple of women (Frances Flaherty and Anneli Thorndike) have made. Basil Wright (Night Mail) puts himself in the foreground, Richard Leacock (Primary and hundreds of other films…) talks to Cavalcanti (editor champion of Night Mail and director of the Paris film Rien que les Heures), Bert Haanstra (Glass and all the films about Holland), Henry Storck (Borinage), John Grierson (the Godfather of it all), Joris Ivens (no introduction needed), Heynowski and Scheumann (the GDR political documentarians, remember Congo Müller!), and the master of them all Chris Marker (Sans Soleil…)… One could make a week long (or more) film historical session from this photo from 1964.

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/festival/jubilaeum/essay


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Nordisk Panorama Festival Winners

Written 28-09-2017 15:20:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama Festival Winners

No surprises. For the Best Nordic Documentary at the festival in Malmø the jury chose to go for two films that have already achieved recognition and won awards outside the Nordic countries, so naturally also ”at home”, even if the films not at all deal with ”home”:

”Last Men in Aleppo” by Feras Fayyad and ”Nowhere to Hide” by Zaradasht Ahmed, from Syria and Iraq. The jury motivations for the Grand Prix and the Honorary Mention go like this:

”Last Men in Aleppo” (is an) example of outstanding filmmaking portraying one of the greatest tragedies of our time. Risking their lives, with great respect for their characters and an impressive sensitivity to the complexity of war, the filmmakers take us into a world made up of choices that very few of us would be capable of making: Last Men in Aleppo.

”Nowhere to Hide” (that) gives us a unique insight into the long-term consequences of war, from the perspective of an ordinary man whose life is turned upside-down: Nowhere to Hide.

Both films have been reviewed on this site:

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3858/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3756/

For other winners please go to

http://nordiskpanorama.com/en/festival/award-winners-2017/


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Nordisk Panorama: The Forum Day Two

Written 26-09-2017 15:38:43 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama: The Forum Day Two

Second day at Amiralen in Malmø for the Forum with twelve productions to be pitched. I was hoping for Cinema, for stories with an emphasis on visual storytelling, and I got it with the third project of the day, ”Swimming Pools” from Iceland, director and cinematographer Jón Karl Helgason. Also in terms of the verbal side of the presentation this was the most original pitch of the two days. Helgason asked us all in the room to close our eyes and gave us the job to visualise some scenes. We did. And I was pleased that finally here was someone who broke the schematic and predictable rythm. It was a wonderful, warm and funny, visually magnificent trailer about the many bathing facilities offered to the Icelandic population, and what it means to them. And the director told us that in Iceland people get old, also because of the pools. He wants to go to cinema with the film, and of course also with a tv version. 

Unfortunately the two first tv editors to comment (from SBS and YLE) spoiled the party. What is the film about, was the question? Well we just saw and heard that. You should go very close to the old people, was a comment. Well I will, the director said, it is only in the pools that personal questions are not allowed. After these two opening remarks it all went flat, as producer Heino Deckert said to me in a break – meaning that you hear ”thank you for the pitch” and similar sentences of politeness.



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Nordisk Panorama: The Forum Day One

Written 25-09-2017 18:56:47 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama: The Forum Day One

Look at the i-phone photo. Two good friends: Gitte Hansen and Mikael Opstrup. Danes. Moderators at the Nordisk Panorama Forum in Malmø as they have been for years. They smile because they know that everything is under control. The photo is taken before the first pitch. It will be the same procedure as last year, the technique will function, microphones and screening of clips will work, the two will try to get as many comments as possible to the 12 projects, which are on the menu. And they know who to ask as they have had meetings with the pitching teams the day before. It’s a table full of editors from Nordic television, consultants from Nordic film institutions and a fine group of representatives from outside the Nordic countries. From France, Germany, Holland, USA – I am sure I have forgotten someone.

The atmosphere is relaxed, also thanks to Hansen and Opstrup. The latter fights with the right pronunciation of last names of the non-Nordic panelists at the table, Hansen asks the same to be careful with the microphones, don’t touch them, just talk, ”don’t fuck it up”, the Dane living in Switzerland says.

Sooo, it is not their fault that I felt the day a bit boring. Representing FILMkommentaren and not TVkommentaren. Let me gently question the selection of projects. Most of them were for television, fair enough, but the balance to the more cinematic, to the Films? Let me exemplify: With all respect, the Danish project ”Fat Front" about fat women or as it was said fat activists, who use their body as an activist weapon – it is relevant and will have a tv life. The same for the Icelandic ”The Farmer and the Factory” about ”an unknown illness that plagues horses". As Helle Hansen from Norwegian Film Institute said, ”how are you going to visualise it”? A nice tv documentary coming up on Madeline Stuart, who is a model with Down syndrome, ”Everybody Loves Madeline”. A Norwegian pop star Aurora, title ”Once Aurora”, the tv people loved it… and so it went on and on. Almost. For there were projects that had trailers, which were not just informative but also showed Filmic quality.



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dok.incubator Bravo!

Written 24-09-2017 15:35:06 by Tue Steen Mller

dok.incubator Bravo!

Full house at Inkonst in Malmø Sunday morning at 10. The director of the training program Andrea Prenghyova had no reason to doubt if anyone would come. But she was right in her welcoming speech: No cars, no people in the streets this morning but a full house to get acquainted with 8 films, that will be finished in the coming months. Bravo! It was the sixth season of the Prague based, three session long training that is there – to quote the brochure I got this morning – to sharpen the final cut, increase the film’s international potential, prepare an ingenious marketing strategy, create a sophisticated distribution plan, break into the international market…

The atmosphere was great. Members of the 8 pitching teams for the preview saluted each other. There were applause after the introduction by one of the tutors, applause after the introduction by the producer/director, applause after the clips etc. Too much? Maybe they overdo it, but if you see it as a tribute to the documentary as genre… If you salute that films are made which are important thematically and has a cinematic approach to the topic. Let me put it in another way: It was enjoyable to be there this morning and many could learn from the presentation concept of dok.incubator: Words of course and then a trailer AND two selected scenes. The latter is a scoop. And dangerous of course because a trailer can be seducing but scenes tell you something about, whether a filmmaker stands behind.

That is absolutely the case for ”Over the Limit” by Marta Prus



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Lidia Sheinins Harmony Wins at M2M

Written 24-09-2017 09:07:44 by Tue Steen Mller

Lidia Sheinins Harmony Wins at M2M

From the sideline I have followed Lidia Sheinin’s fine film ”Harmony”, that won the main award at the Message2Man festival in St. Petersburg. So happy for the director. Here is a repeat of the review that I wrote, when the film was shown at Visions du Réel in Nyon earlier this year:

Grandmother is old and fragile, she can not live on her own. Her daughter with four children, 3 boys, the oldest 6-8 years old I guess, and a baby girl, moves in, to help; into a flat that has little space. Not difficult to imagine the messy consequences, the constant ”don’t do this and that” from granny, whose space is invaded, who does not eat regularly – and to imagine and see the constant exhaustion of a mother of four.

The director is there with her camera, observing, no intervention.

Watching how life goes on under these hard conditions. It’s tough to be there with the family as a viewer but it’s also life-affirming and fun because the situation is recognisable, the energy from the kids, their questions, ”why are we living here”, the patience of the mother, the despair of the granny when the screaming and crying fill the rooms – and the piano that takes so much space, has been part of her life, if it could go there would be more space…

It could take place in many corners of the world – well, in Denmark the granny would maybe have been skipped off to an old people’s home – here it is in St. Petersburg; I was happy to be with the family in a very fine and balanced documentary, on 3 generations, that you leave at the kitchen table with a smile on your face.

Russia, 2017, 59 mins.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

dok.incubator in Malm

Written 22-09-2017 15:04:45 by Tue Steen Mller

dok.incubator in Malm

I have promised Andrea Prenghyova, director of the praised and popular dok.incubator workshop to promote the preview that she organises in Malmø within the Nordisk Panorama this coming Sunday 24th of September at 10am at Inkonst Festival Centre.

I do so with pleasure. I have attended previous sessions and it is always exciting to see, what is coming very soon. The filmmakers are there, they show trailers and scenes, the atmosphere is accordingly warm and supportive.

8 projects… and I know some of them, look fwd. To see how far they are.

”Over the Limit” by Polish Marta Prust that follows a young sportswoman on her journey to the Olympic gold. She is Russian, will she make it through what is called ”the extreme Russian training system”. What I have seen before is very promising.

And good friend from visits to Tbilisi, Georgian Mari Gulbiani is there with a film called ”Before Father Gets Back” – and well known Norwegian Håvard Bustness who has a story about ”women inside one of Europe’s most nationalist parties”, title ”Golden Dawn Girls” and then we know where we are: in Greece.

www.dokincubator.net


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Elvira Lind: Bobbi Jene

Written 19-09-2017 08:53:30 by Tue Steen Mller

Elvira Lind: Bobbi Jene

I had seen the film before via the vod Festival Scope on my MacBook. The vod allows only one screening but thanks to Youn Ji from the sales company Autlook I got the invitation to screen the film again, which I did on a big screen at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. Together with Lithuanian film students. They enjoyed – as I did – the film. The following review includes observations and evaliuations we made at the academy. For those who know nothing about the film and its content, see the neutral description below taken from the dfi.dk.

It’s so complex. It has so many layers. It is so well built. As a fiction film you are carried from one scene to the next, from one conflict to the next. Bobbi Jene is ambitious, she wants to try on her own after 10 years with Ohad and his Israeli dance group Batsheva, where she developed to be the star. She wants to leave Tel Aviv,



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Message2Man St.Petersburg

Written 16-09-2017 22:43:33 by Tue Steen Mller

Message2Man St.Petersburg

The festival in magnificent St. Petersburg started last night with an opening ceremony on the Palace Square, in rain as last year where I was there – unfortunately not possible for me to be present this year. Look at the picture of Marcel Ophüls (born 1st of November 1927) on the stage to be honoured for his contribution to the history of cinema. Let me mention the two titles that appear in all 100 Best Documentaries lists: ”Le Chagrin et la pitié” and ”Hotel Terminus”. The film shown at the opening was a restored version of ”Man With a Movie Camera” by Dziga Vertov, made in 1929… when Ophüls was two years old!

At the festival there is a series of independent Chinese documentaries and a well deserved retrospective of Helena Třeštíková’s Czech Chronicles. Also to be noticed that the trilogy of Bulgarian Andrey Paounov is in the programme, with the masterpiece ”The Mosquito Problem and Other Stories” in the foreground.

Kirsten Johnson is in international competition with ”Cameraperson” as is Lidia Sheinina with her ”Harmony”, both reviewed on this site as is Mariam Chachia’s ”Listen to the Silence”.

http://www.message2man.com/en/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs 2017

Written 10-09-2017 14:58:25 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs 2017

… is over. During two days 24 projects were presented in a good atmosphere on the top floor of Albert Hotel in Riga. Business as usual from an organisational point of view but with fresh projects at different levels of development. Some had just come back from first days of shooting, some lacked some shooting and some had a rough cut or were entering final stage of editing. That’s how it is, the decision makers and broadcasters know it, as do the filmmakers. They also know that positive remarks from the panelists do not necessarily mean that a pre-sale/distribution contract can be signed. It takes time and the most common remark in a pitching session like this still is: I want to see more. However my gut feeling is that many will profit from the forum, and that many good films will arrive.

The photo is taken today (by the forum photographer, Latvian Agnese Zeltina). The old man moderating is congratulating the filmmakers with a fine presentation of ”Journey to the End of the Night”, the last production at the forum, pitched by skilled and experienced Estionian Max Tuula and directed by Russian Ksenia Elyan, who has filmed nomadic families living above the Arctic Circle with a focus on the children and their teacher, who comes to stay in the darkest months of the year – to teach. And they are so bright these kids and ask clever questions that could challenge any grown-up, questions like: when does the universe stop or similar more existential questions.

I leave the workshop with quite an increase of knowledge of what



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs+

Written 09-09-2017 18:20:34 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs+

The+ goes for the extra events organised by Creative Europe’s Latvian representative – formerly it was called Media Desk – Lelda Ozola.

First element of a long and good friday afternoon was the presentation of documentary series produced by Danish television, the DR3, a relatively new channel (4 years old) targeting a young audience, as the presenter Erik Struve Hansen said between 15 and 40. So out of my reach age-wise… anyway I had nothing specifically against watching 26 minutes of ”I am the Ambassador” aka the American Rufus Gifford. It was one of 10 episodes and it was light and entertaining and can not do any harm… One tutor colleague found it a disgusting promotion for the USA. Promotion it is of course, Gifford is a media person, who knows what he is doing. He is now being substituted by a Trump-lover, Struve Hansen, a woman who used to play in ”Glamour”!

Second element was the showing of one episode of ”Petra Goes Dating”, in this case in Belgrade, for me interesting to be back in a city That I have been visiting the last 15 years. A daring program, Petra goes the whole way, 3 Serbian men, the last one she stayed with for the night.

Third element was the presentation of Pitch the Doc by Polish Adam Paplinski, that I have written about before: … A fine initiative



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs Pitch Getting Closer

Written 08-09-2017 09:20:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs Pitch Getting Closer

I am sitting here on the 11th floor of the Albert Hotel in Riga, where the Baltic Sea Docs, edition 21 is taking place. The filmmakers have been preparing their presentation since wednesday, many trailers and verbal texts have been changed, it is very intense and yet a relaxed, non-hysterical atmosphere. There is nothing better than helping each other… after quite many years this is my experience with the documentary community. They do so.Tomorrow and sunday it’s show time. 24 projects are to be pitched to a panel of so-called decision makers: 7 minutes of presentation and 7 minutes of feedback followed by individual meetings.

On the photo you see one of the pitching teams, Latvian Marta Bite, Ivars Zviedris and Haralds Ozols. Their project is called ”The Smugglers”, takes place at the border of Russia and Latvia, where Vietnamese people come to Latvia, with the help of local people, hoping to have a better life there or in another Western country. The filmmakers have been filming for one year, will continue for another year to make this film about a small community, where you survive through breaking the law. The material shown is very promising and for those who remember Ivars Zviedris brilliant ”The Documentarian”… you can only have high expectations.

http://balticseadocs.lv/ 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs Workshop Started Today

Written 06-09-2017 17:16:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs Workshop Started Today

- and we bring the welcome catalogue text by the director of the National Film Centre of Latvia, Dita Rietuma entitled “With a Taste of Certainty”

I warmly welcome the Baltic Sea Docs participants and Forum team! Baltic Sea Docs continues on – now for the 21st time, bringing together documentary filmmakers, popularizing documentary films and offering a special film programme Flavours of Conviction for a wider audience in Riga and several other Latvian cities.

This year’s festival poster features an eccentric, grey-haired woman with giant glasses – those in tune with the fashion industry may recognize fashion and lifestyle icon Iris Apfel, while in turn, those familiar with documentary film history will perhaps pause in reverence upon seeing the name of the film’s director – Albert Maysles. Yes, he is one of the legendary Maysles brothers who made documentary film history with their direct cinema style films of the 1970s.

Iris was Albert Maysles’ second last movie – a clear testament to both the direct cinema tradition and to the power of creativity, irony, style and vitality, which this inspiring lady named Iris undoubtedly possesses. For the most part, these qualities are also reflected in the 25 projects selected for Baltic Sea Docs.

In total, 25 creative teams will be presenting their projects – from the Baltic States, Belarus,



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Forum 2017 2/ MIKAEL OPSTRUP

Written 02-09-2017 16:26:19 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Baltic Sea Forum 2017 2/ MIKAEL OPSTRUP

Mikael Opstrup fra EDN vil sammen med Tue Steen Müller være til stede som rådgiver ved træningen af filminstruktørerne før de pitcher deres projekter ved Baltic Sea Forum i Riga næste uge. 

Jeg har netop samlet hans blogindlæg fra 2008 DEN DOKUMENTARISKE FORTÆLLING / THE DOCUMENTARY NARRATIVE og i den anledning bringer vi dem her: 

DEN DOKUMENTARISKE FORTÆLLING

Der er ingen forskel på dokumentarfilmen og fiktionsfilmen i dramaturgisk henseende. Begge har én fortælling. Her hører ligheden op.

1. I fiktionsfilmen er der kun én fortælling i skabelsesmæssig forstand. Det handlingsforløb som nedfældes i manuskriptet og siden omsættes til film.

2. I dokumentarfilmen er der både et begivenhedsforløb og en fortælling. Begivenhedsforløbet finder sted i den virkelighed dokumentarfilm beskriver. Fortællingen er instruktørens genfortælling af begivenhedsforløbet.

3. Hvor fiktionsfilmen er dramaturgisk friktionsfri - og skabelsesprocessen lineær - er kernen i dokumentarfilmens dramaturgi modsætningen mellem de to handlingsforløb, det faktuelle og det narrative...

Læs Mere/Read more


Categories: Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK, Poetics

N.L.Hulusić & S.B.Corić: Undercovered

Written 02-09-2017 11:46:39 by Tue Steen Mller

N.L.Hulusić & S.B.Corić: Undercovered

This review is written by young Bosnian film critic Arman Fatic, who I met in connection with the Sarajevo Film Festival.

Two Bosnian directors, Nejra Latić-Hulusić and Sabrina Begović Ćorić, with their film production company „Hava“, have been working for the last five years on women's affirmation in culture, education of young filmmakers and they have promoted diversity and human rights in film. Their second directorial collaboration  „Undercovered“, a documentary short, had its premiere at the 23rd Sarajevo Film Festival, where it got huge ovations with a Q & A session that almost overlapped the start of the forthcoming film, due to audience interest.

The film opens with the introduction to the history of the city, where the film takes place. They show us Sarajevo occupied by the Ottoman Empire, by the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, then as part of Yugoslavia and of course Sarajevo today. By giving us the context of the city, not to the East, not to the West, not spiritually lost, not occupied by consumerism - Sarajevo appears to be a fertile ground for "miracles," or perhaps better, a great place for diversity, understanding and progression.

In this environment, Nejra and Sabrina chose six successful women to



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BSF in Riga now and Next Week

Written 01-09-2017 13:33:34 by Tue Steen Mller

BSF in Riga now and Next Week

… BSF meaning Baltic Sea Forum that with this edition holds edition 21… organised by the National Film Centre of Latvia, helped by EDN, European Documentary Network and with ”the largest financial support from the EU funded Creative Europe Media Program”. BSF includes a project development workshop with pitching at the end (18 panelists) of the 24 projects that have been selected, all of them thematically connected to the region, and many of them touching indirectly on the present political situation with the tensions between Russia and her neighbours.

I will – I have been there all years – be present to tutor the filmmakers, which is a privilege and an experience full of joy. I learn so much from these sessions as I am sure will do the colleagues Mikael Opstrup from EDN, filmmakers Daniel Abma and Ester Gould from Holland, Noe Mendelle from Scottish Documentary Institute, consultant in all documentary matters Peter Jaeger and film editor Phil Jandaly, who is there to help the filmmakers to shape their trailers.

The workshop runs from the coming wednesday September 6 till sunday September 10, but already a documentary film program runs in cinemas in the Latvian capital – and it is good:



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

TUE STEEN MLLER 70 R

Written 29-08-2017 08:25:35 by Allan Berg Nielsen

TUE STEEN MLLER 70 R

Photo: Nenad Puhovski


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Categories: Cinema, Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK, Poetics

Makedox Winners with Jury Words

Written 28-08-2017 11:42:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Makedox Winners with Jury Words

Here they are, all the winners from Makedox 2017, with the jury motivations:

Onion Award for the Best Film in the Main Program

Jury: Choosing from the highly competitive films with an exceptional authorial voice, the jury decided to give the award to the film “21 x New York” by Pjotr Stasik, considering its mastery to complement the cinematic and visually sophisticated expression with the layered fluency of the film’s subject and content. The film by Pjotr Stasik radiates with its emotional dimensions as much as with its intellectualism.

Young Onion Award for the Best Film by First or Second Time Director - Jury: “A passionate trip of visual beauty, filmmaking at its best. A multilayered story of Georgia seen through the eyes of youth, and the fine balance and collaboration of these three filmmakers. For its unconventional and surprising visual narration, we award the prize toWhen the Earth Seems to be Light.

For succeeding in ambitious storytelling on an essential 21st century subject, we need to highlight Guillermo Garcia Lopez’s beautiful essay film, “Delicate Balance with a special mention.

Onion Seed Award for the Best Student Film – Jury: “To do a



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Piotr Stasik Wins Main Competition in Skopje

Written 26-08-2017 12:02:44 by Tue Steen Mller

Piotr Stasik Wins Main Competition in Skopje

Last night the award ceremony of the MakeDox festival took place outdoor in the Kurshumli An, a unique place for a festival in Skopje in August – one of two open air screening venues. I will announce all the winners when the motivation texts from the juries are available but allow me to start with the Main Program where we jurors – Anton Calleja, Vladimir Blazhevski and I – decided to give the Onion Award to Polish Piotr Stasik for his ”21 x New York”.

Here is a quote from the review I wrote long time ago about the film on this site:

What is it that makes Stasik’s film so attractive… Everything actually. It is a musical composition with a superb score, with use of music of very different nature, with a sound design that includes all that comes from the subway trains with an editing and a rythm, that is carried by the director’s fascination and ability to bring the film to a level of reflection on human existence…

Stasik was in Skopje and took part in the workshop on ”visual narration” – the photo with him and me and filmmaker and translator for Stasik Katarzyna Gondek is taken at the venue, the National Gallery. We are waiting for the light to be turned off so the clips to be shown could be more visible.

http://nov.makedox.mk/en/festival-2017/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

MakeDox 2017/ Notes From a Juror

Written 25-08-2017 13:09:33 by Tue Steen Mller

MakeDox 2017/ Notes From a Juror

Go home Alexandra, she kept on saying, the dog-lover from Karelia in Finland, producer Kristina Pervilä. We were on our way back from a restaurant half an hour from Skopje. Good food, amazing location at a lake, and good company, a tour of adventure organised by the Makedox festival couple Petra Seliskar and Brand Ferro.

Going to a festival means that you meet old friends and get new friends. For me a pleasure to see Pervilä again after many years, remembering years of teaching at Ex Oriente seminar, where we were having drinks at the teachers appartment at the Czech film school FAMU with a view to the bridge and the castle, where Vaclav Havel resided.

And Roberto Blatt who has been to this festival several times. Last



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

MakeDox 2017

Written 25-08-2017 10:54:05 by Tue Steen Mller

MakeDox 2017

I have been here in Skopje for three days and the festival is exactly like I expected it to be. High quality selection, totally relaxed atmosphere, outdoor screenings at Kurshumli An in the old city, a workshop with the title ”visual narration” and the legendary talks under the fig tree. Tonight we are going to announce the jury decisions, including the one where I was a juror together with Anton Calleja from Eurimages and Vladimir Blazhevski, filmmaker and teacher from here and there – Macedonia and Serbia. I will tell you about the winners tomorrow, but here you have the titles of the 8 films in the main competition, we were watching - with links to the reviews, which have previously been brought on this site:

21 x New York by Piotr Stasik

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3578/

The Girl Down Loch Änzi by Alice Schmid

Dixieland by Roman Bondarchuk and Darya Averchenko

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3877/

Woman and the Glacier by Audrius Stonys

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3818/

Machines by Rahul Jain

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3772/

Normal Autistic Film by Miroslav Janek

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3816/

Chavela by Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi

Untitled by Michael Glawogger and Monika Willi

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3788/

http://nov.makedox.mk/en/main-program-2017/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Dusan Zoric: Love

Written 23-08-2017 09:10:11 by Tue Steen Mller

Dusan Zoric: Love

This review is written by Mina Stanikic, young Serbian film critic, who took part at 23rd SFF as part of Talent Press.

After having his debut PARALYSES screened at the majority of regional festivals, up-and-coming Serbian director Dušan Zorić hits the international scene with his second short LOVE. This new production moves Zorić to the next level, as the film premiered at Visions du Réel in Nyon early on this year. At just finished 23rd Sarajevo Film Festival, LOVE was competing for the Heart of Sarajevo in the official student selection. Unfortunately, LOVE did not grab the Heart of Sarajevo, but it surely grabbed and gripped hearts of many in the audience.

Zorić used the trick we have already seen in Gaspar Noe’s latest film: naming it LOVE, but dealing with what, at first, rather seems to be sex.



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Georg Zeller on Sarajevo Film Festival

Written 22-08-2017 19:25:55 by Tue Steen Mller

Georg Zeller on Sarajevo Film Festival

I had come to Sarajevo with the idea to discover this city apart from memories of war and violence in order to honour the city’s life and present instead of concentrating on its  grim past. I soon discovered this idea to be very naive. In a place where parks are cemeteries and schools bear plates with the names of their dead pupils on the still granade-sprinkled walls, how could one deal with the past by just forgetting it?

The wonderful Sarajevo Film Festival, an important referring point for the Balkan region and beyond, seems to point at the elaboration of this dark heritage in its entire selection of films. „Dealing with the past“ is thus the perfectly fitting title not only for a section within the festival of already existing documentaries as well as projects still to be done.

It even fits with the red-carpet screenings I have been able to watch during the week, where the question whether it is possible to forgive and how, is a sort of red thread. With Aki Kaurismäki’s  „The other side of hope“ as festival opener, signs were given that



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

MakeDox Skopje Starts Tonight

Written 19-08-2017 15:39:05 by Tue Steen Mller

MakeDox Skopje Starts Tonight

Tuesday night back to the region. After Sarajevo comes Skopje in Macedonia. I will be in the jury, 8 films to watch, creative documentaries – indeed they are. More about them later. But here are copy-pastes of two lyrical texts from the organisers with filmmaker Petra Seliskar leading MakeDox that is much more than a festival:

“On 19th August, when the storks are taking off, we are opening the eighth edition of MakeDox, honoring Louis Daguerre, the Sputnik, Belka and Strelka. The savoring of grapes has already begun, so let's enjoy its descents as a toast to Dionisys.”

“Doc Talks under the Fig Tree… Someday, hundreds of years from now, who knows if people would believe that every summer, countless storytellers would gather under the old magnificent fig tree in the backyard of the unique Kurshumli An in Skopje just to talk until nightfall. Just to give words to the images in their heads, words that created unbelievable images in front of the listener’s eyes… every summer, for years. Join us in the shade of the fig tree, lets’s enjoy while we still can.”

http://nov.makedox.mk/en/home/makedoxfestival/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Awards John Cleese, Cat Activists, Documentaries

Written 18-08-2017 14:14:32 by Tue Steen Mller

Awards John Cleese, Cat Activists, Documentaries

Whenever my wife and I need a break (she from Netflix series, me from documentaries), we watch the Fawlty Towers series with John Cleese. His wife Sybil does what she can to make the hotel owner Basil (Cleese) behave but he can not resist to humiliate German guests – ”don’t mention the war”, she says, but he does – and the French get their treatment as well, when one of them complain about the wine. Hilarious. Still wonderful even if 40 years old.

John Cleese (photo), master of silly walking, got the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Film Festival the other day. So well deserved for his long contribution to film and television.

But many others got awards as well – I focus on documentaries and documentarians:



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DokuFest 2017 Awards

Written 17-08-2017 15:45:03 by Tue Steen Mller

DokuFest 2017 Awards

Back from Sarajevo, now here comes important info that waited some days to be brought. Namely the information about who were the winners at the DokuFest in Prizren. I bring some of the categories with the jury motivations – always appreciate when festivals publish them. This is not that often I am afraid. But the great people down there in Kosovo do:

INT’L DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION/FEATURE DOX WINNER

EL MAR LA MAR by Joshua Bonnetta, J.P. Sniadecki.

Jury: Carmen Gray, Cíntia Gli, Melody Gilbert, Rodolfo Castillo-Morales, Wood LIN.

Statement: With 16mm film, the filmmakers gaze into time and the desert landscape at the border between U.S. and Mexico. Signs of human life are barely visible, but the empty desert along with the soundscape serves as a vivid metaphor of everything invisible, yet influential, to our daily lives. The geographical, ideological and political aspects are also illuminated through the narrative structure as the journey unfolds. El Mar La Mar is a beautiful poem and a highly political statement in the contemporary context with sincerity.

The same jury gave the “Special Mention” to 69 MINUTES OF 86 DAYS by Egil Håskjold Larsen.



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Film Activists Save Kittens

Written 16-08-2017 13:54:57 by Tue Steen Mller

Film Activists Save Kittens

The wonderful film couple Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova, Bulgarians, who with their fine films “Uncle Tony, Three Fools and the Secret Serviceand “The Beast is Still Alive” have raised discussions and anger in their home country, run a company called Activist 38. The other day they demonstrated their activism in quite another field. This is what Mileva wrote on her FB wall:

When entering Sarajevo for the CineLink Industry Days we found these brothers. We've had to rescue them from underneath a massive lorry. The ginger one was ready to be flattened curled up right under the huge tire. We're supposed to talk about "Cat in the wall" here but what to do with these two?

We had a drink with the two yesterday. Mina Mileva told us how she survives as an animation artist in London, Vesela Kazakova lives in Sofia, is an actress, has performed on theatre and in films and of course in “The Beast…”.

But they are almost never in their homes travelling as they do to festivals and markets raising money for the next project – or saving animals… Bravo! Below links to reviews of their two films:

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3672/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2747/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docu Rough Cut Boutique in Sarajevo

Written 16-08-2017 11:26:55 by Tue Steen Mller

Docu Rough Cut Boutique in Sarajevo

First a brief intro for those who don’t know about the excellent Rough Cut Boutique initiative, that is a joint programme created by the Sarajevo Film Festival and the Balkan Documentary Center, focused on documentary films from the region of South East Europe and Caucasus, films in post-production. 5 chosen projects are offered tailor made coaching by editors and other documentary experts.

After a session in Sofia (where the Balkan Documentary Center is placed, run by Martichka Bozhilova) the Boutique, that worked for days in a room in Hotel Europe, led by Rada Sesic, presented the 5 projects to documentary interested people at the Sarajevo Film Festival, including me.

Sorry to say, I was not really impressed by the quality. The simple question you put to yourself, when you attend a pitching/presentation like this: Woiuld I like to see that film when finished? Do the films have cinematic quality, do they play with many layers…

One did, one stood out – ”Srbenka” by Nebosja Slijejcevic from



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Sarajevo FF: True Stories Market

Written 15-08-2017 11:04:35 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF: True Stories Market

… was a public presentation of 9 stories by different organisations, which are Dealing with the Past. It took place yesterday at Hotel Europe, the centre for the Industry part of the Sarajevo Film Festival. The manager of the project Masa Markovic formulates “that the purpose is evident in its name. We believe that an open and honest discussion about our painful recent past is a prerequisite if we want to resolve the problems stemming from the wars in the former Yugoslavia that continue to be a burden on us…”

It would be wrong to say that it was a pleasure to attend the 90 minutes presentation – one horror story after the other – to an audience of – among others – filmmakers, who might be interested in turning the stories into films.

These are stories with many layers, said the moderator, Croatian



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Joshua Oppenheimer Masterclass

Written 13-08-2017 21:37:40 by Tue Steen Mller

Joshua Oppenheimer Masterclass

One hour is too little time, Joshua Oppenheimer said to me, when we met to prepare the masterclass with him here in Sarajevo, where a tribute was given to him in connection with the festival’s Dealing With the Past theme and program, organised by Masa Markovic.

I was to be the moderator, the easiest job I have had for a long time, as Oppenheimer is such a brilliant speaker – and we got almost 2 hours for the class, that followed just after the screening of The Look of Silence, described as the companion piece to ”Act of Killing” that was shown the day before. How can a man, who has met his audience hundreds of times in the decade he has been making these Indonesian films, keep on being so committed and enthusiastic and respectful to his audience. Amazing!

He talked a lot about the gentle, sympathetic Adi (photo), the protagonist of The Look of Silence, the alter ego of Oppenheimer, and the way he was able to make the perpetrators talk about the killings they performed in 1965, including the one on Adi’s brother. The film is full of intimate, long silent scenes with the camera on the beautiful face of Adi, and for me – having seen the film several times – especially the scenes with Adi and his mother and father are emotionally so strong. The father who at the end does not know where he is without knowing that Adi is his son.

About lies, boasting, why Anwar suffers every night from what he has done – that he shows in ”Act of Killing” – and much much more from the intelligent Oppenheimer. Read all the words we have written on these two masterpieces here:

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2729/

www.sff.ba


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo FF Friends Forever

Written 13-08-2017 20:53:59 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF  Friends Forever

There we are in the middle of the street that leads to cinemas and Festival Square in Sarajevo on a quiet sunday afternoon. A couple is waving at us from the pavement opposite us. We meet, it is dear friend Rada Sesic and her husband John. It’s my birthday, she says, we have to make a photo. John takes the picture, it is Rada in the middle, Ellen my wife to the left and me. Congratulations!

Rada Sesic is here, there and everywhere during the festival. She is running, together with Martichka Bozhilova the Rough Cut sessions at the Hotel Europe and she has selected the documentary competition films, where she makes introductions and Q&A sessions. Semper ardens!

www.sff.ba


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo Film Festival Opens With Kaurismki

Written 12-08-2017 10:56:57 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo Film Festival Opens With Kaurismki

Look at the photo from last night’s opening of the 23rd festival in Sarajevo. Surrounded by appartment buildings, a huge screen, a red carpet and how many spectators – thousands? – to watch Aki Kaurismäki’s ”On the Other Side of Hope”, the right choice for an opening film: It is an excellent piece of work by the Finnish auteur, it is about the most pressing issue in today’s Europe, how do we welcome refugees, who want to live in our countries – in a superb mix of humour and seriousness, and for someone like me from the North: this is also Finland as it used to be, flavoured by wonderful music performances. How lucky we northeners are to have original directors as Roy Andersson and Aki Kaurismäki. Enjoyed to be there with people smoking on our row, with a technical fault that gave a break, with a brilliant atmosphere. Open air screening. My wife and I were back at the hotel at midnight.

Before that – with good friend from Bolzano Georg Zeller and his girl friend Azra Frchko, raised in Sarajevo – we had meze at a restaurant facing the National Library, destroyed in 1992 and now restored to be the Town Hall of Sarajevo, a beauty, currently with an exhibition of paintings by local master Mersad Berber.

The bridge to the theme ”Dealing with the Past”, a focus of the festival.

www.sff.ba


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo FF, Redgrave & Dealing With the Past

Written 11-08-2017 18:14:06 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF, Redgrave & Dealing With the Past

Arrived in Sarajevo this afternoon surviving a pretty windy flight from Vienna – I’ll never get used to flight turbulence! And it feels provocative when several people around me has fallen asleep ignoring the most bumpy moments.

But wonderful to be in Sarajevo again invited by Masa Markovic, industry coordinator and responsible for the programme Dealing with the Past”, that includes a well deserved (and so obvious) Tribute to Joshua Oppenheimer, who has, if anyone, dealt with the past in his two films ”Act of Killing” and ”The Look of Silence”. Happy also to see that Danish Lars Feldballe-Petersen’s fine ”The Unforgiven” (photo) is included as is Bosnian ”Restless Dreams” by Muris Beglerovic. I will get back to the exciting initiative ”Dealing with the Past” later.

One who is also dealing with the past is Vanessa Redgrave, who was meant to come to Sarajevo – with me as the one asking some questions after her debut as a film director with ”Sea Sorrow” – but cancelled. I had seen her film or maybe it is better to say her visual statement on the situation for the refugees. She makes a personal journey back to her childhood during WW2, she interviews Lord Dubs, a brilliant man who came to England as a refugee with the Kindertransport and she and he make parallels to the refugee children of today, who come without parents to end up in the Calais ”jungle”, that Dubs and Redgrave have visited. She talks about the Human Rights Declaration that was presented by Elinor Roosevelt in 1948, about the Geneva Convention, about the declaration for rights of children. Redgrave is passionate, but not a filmmaker, and she also includes Shahespeare in her statement for humanity.

www.sff.ba


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Message2Man Selection

Written 10-08-2017 16:10:46 by Tue Steen Mller

Message2Man Selection

The annual international film festival of documentary, short, animated and experimental films "Message to Man", which will be held from September 15 to 22, 2017 in St. Petersburg for the 27th time, has announced the competition programs.

We (Allan Berg and I) have seen five of the ten films in the full-length international competition. About A Modern Manwrote Allan (in Danish, here a clip, shortened, translated by me): Maybe she (Eva Mulvad, director) wants to build a new modern film style, where the characteristic is, that the film - freed from the literary progressive narration, and freed as well from the journalistic investigative drama – functions on old cinematographic conditions by putting scene by scene next to each other… Only Connect as said English director Lindsay Anderson

Cameraperson by Kirsten Johnson is also competing, one of the



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Rati Oneli: City of the Sun

Written 06-08-2017 16:12:46 by Tue Steen Mller

Rati Oneli: City of the Sun

One more good example from the wave of the new, well deserved, praised Georgian documentaries that offer an artistically formed interpretation of life and people in the country in the Caucacus. This time the location is Chiatura, a dying city that used to live from its mining industry. It is now falling apart, a future is difficult to see – and yet the population tries to find ways out of the misery.

A miner goes to perform in local amateur theatre, when he is not underground. A music teacher – apart from when he is teaching and performing local songs, and some he has composed himself – hammers to destroy abandoned buildings to set free metal that he can sell. Thirdly two young women run to stay fit.

These are the characters in a film that makes them represent the society falling apart. Their stories are intertwined and you follow



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Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Niewiera/Rosolowski: The Prince and the Dybbuk

Written 29-07-2017 11:39:35 by Tue Steen Mller

Niewiera/Rosolowski: The Prince and the Dybbuk

At the Krakow Film Festival I saw convincing clips from a film that I had heard about/seen pitched for a couple of years – and wrote this:

… If I was a festival programmer (and I am for Magnificent7 Belgrade and DocsBarcelona) I would keep an eye on…:  Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski, who made ”Domino Effect”, are working on ”The Prince and The Dybbuk”, which is announced to be ready this September. It is a fascinating story about Michal Waszynski, ”the son of a poor Jewish blacksmith from Ukraine, died in Madrid as Prince MW, Hollywood producer and exiled Polish aristocrat. The producer Malgorzata Zacharko showed wonderful material, including an archive clip where the Prince is smoking a cigarette in his palazzo in Rome. He could have played in a Visconti film with that appearance…

It was taken for premiere at the Venice International Film Festival, in the VENICE CLASSICS - Documentary on Cinema competition section.

Kasia Wilk brought the good news on Polish Docs, link below. A small quote outlines the film: "The Prince and the Dybbuk" is a cinematic journey on the trail of Michał Waszyński, filmmaker and human chameleon, who in flight from the spirit of intolerance continually changed his identity, rejecting his Jewish origins and hiding homosexuality.

Photo: Waszynski with Sophia Loren.

http://polishdocs.pl/en/news/3628/the_prince_and_the_dybbuk_at_the_venice_international_film_festival


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Dixie Land Wins in Odessa

Written 28-07-2017 10:55:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Dixie Land Wins in Odessa

Had to bring this red-carpet-photo of producer Ilona Bicevska with protagonist Polina with the most amazing hat, and her parents, who are also in the film, the winning film, Dixie Land, Best Ukranian film, at the Odessa International Film Festival some days ago.

A well deserved award to those on the photo, and to the makers, Roman Bondarchuk and Darya Averchenko.

I attended the Ukranian premiere in Kiev at the festival DocuDays earlier this year and wrote:

…The film about jazz music performed by kids in a band in Kherson Ukraine, led by their old teacher, who founded the band just after WW2, picking up homeless children to give them the chance to develop their skills, gave them a life, simply - is a warm, so well made - Bondarchuk has indeed a documentary-eye - interpretation of a happy childhood, where kids have a good time developing their creative skills. As it is written in the catalogue: We all live once in Dixie Land – the country where politics, money and death do not exist at all…

The film will late August be at the MakeDox Festival in Skopje, Macedonia – and hopefully at many other festivals to come.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Joshua Oppenheimer

Written 23-07-2017 05:15:58 by Tue Steen Mller

Joshua Oppenheimer

…there's never been a deeper or more diverse time for documentary cinema… That’s how IndieWire introduces its article about the 25 documentaries four critics have found the best in the still young 21st century. And it is an impressive list of films that are to be found. Mostly American and English language films. That can be discussed of course, but what is indisputable – the two films of Joshua Oppenheimer are there, “The Look of Silence” as number 4, “The Act of Killing” as number 1.

Which leads me to turn to the upcoming Sarajevo Film Festival (starts August 11), where “A Tribute to Joshua Oppenheimer” is part of the programme with a masterclass with the director, a so-called career interview that I have been asked to lead. With great pleasure! On the website of the festival Oppenheimer’s two films are presented like this:

Born in 1974, USA, two-time Oscar® nominee Joshua Oppenheimer’s debut feature film, THE ACT OF KILLING (2014 Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary), was named Film of the Year in the 2013 by the Guardian and the Sight and Sound Film Poll, and won 72 international awards, including a European Film Award, a BAFTA, an Asia Pacific Screen Award, a Berlinale Audience Award, and the Guardian Film Award for Best Film.

His second film, THE LOOK OF SILENCE (2016 Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary), premiered at the 71st Venice Film Festival, where it won five awards, including the Grand Jury Prize, the international critics award (Prix FIPRESCI) and the European film critics award (FEDEORA Prize). Since then, THE LOOK OF SILENCE has received 72 international awards, including an Independent Spirit Award, an IDA Award for Best Documentary, a Gotham Award for Best Documentary, and three Cinema Eye Honors, including Best Film and Best Director.

I wonder how many people have seen the two films. Does he know that, I will ask him in Sarajevo…

http://www.sff.ba/en/news/10562/tribute-to-joshua-oppenheimer

http://www.indiewire.com/2017/07/best-documentaries-21st-century-1201857688/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo Documentary Competition

Written 19-07-2017 11:26:14 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo Documentary Competition

14 films, “important stories, new voices, relevant debates”, that is how Rada Sesic, the programmer, presents the documentary competition at the upcoming Sarajevo Film Festival, August 11-18. New films from the region, 4 of them world premieres.

I have seen 4 of them, to recommend with pleasure, the Arash Brothers “Kinders”, “Ultra” by Hungarian Balazs Simonyi (…Year after year, runners from around the world participate in one of the most prestigious and challenging of races, the Spartathlon – 246km from Athens to Sparta in under 36 hours… a film that is much more than a sport film), the wonderful ”Planeta Petrila” (PHOTO) by Andrei Dascalescu that I reviewed on this site, here is a clip ” a film about creativity and… a beautiful homage to a dangerous industry and those who worked there or ”died for the coal”, Macedonian Ilija Cvetkovski’s sweet ”Avec l’amour”, written together with Atanas Georgiev about the teacher and his passion for cars.

For the rest – because I have heard about them – I look forward to seeing the Georgian ”City of the Sun” by Rati Oneli, not to forget ”In Praise of Nothing” by Boris Mitic, who has talked about the film for years. I have high expectations to what this talented director comes up with.

http://www.sff.ba/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Golden Apricot Festival Cancels Program

Written 13-07-2017 07:55:33 by Tue Steen Mller

Golden Apricot Festival Cancels Program

Shameful conduct at the Golden Apricot Film Festival in Yerevan that ends July 16…

“We want to inform you that the ARMENIANS: INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL VIEWS non-competition program is completely cancelled. We apologize for any inconveniences.” This was the content of an email that was sent to the filmmakers, whose films had been selected. Around 40 there were. The films were to be screened in a theatre that belongs to the Cinematographers’ Union of Armenia. The former director of the theatre Rouben Gevorgyants passed away June 23 and the new temporary director, when he discovered that there were two LGBT related films in the program, demanded to the festival to take them out. The festival would not do so and thus the whole program was cancelled.

Which naturally created a lot of protests from filmmakers, critics, rights activists et al., who wrote an official complaint including this: … “We condemn the actions



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Polish Doc Promotion

Written 11-07-2017 11:38:06 by Tue Steen Mller

Polish Doc Promotion

What is the best country in documentaries right now? I have for decades tried to answer that question based on what I have seen at festivals and online. When I was working at EDN at the beginning of the 2000´s I always said Finland, a country with a documentary culture that has a good financial support. Now I am not so sure that the artistic quality is the same as then, I might be wrong, whereas I can only salute what comes from Poland of original work from experienced directors and new talents. The Danes reading this will say that ”we” are also doing well, look at the amount of good films that travel to festivals, yes yes, and let me also include Norway as a country that delivers important documentaries these years.

Back to Poland and Polish documentaries. Yesterday a newsletter came in from KFF Sales and Promotion which is ”… a new branch of the Krakow Film Foundation, so far devoted to the festival promotion of Polish films under the brands of Polish Docs, Polish Shorts and Polish Animations. Starting in 2016, film promotion is also accompanied by sales, which seems to be a natural development of the Foundation’s former activities. KFF Sales & Promotion is the only selling agency of documentary films in Poland and the first one dealing with promotion of Polish documentary cinema on such a large scale. Every year, in the database of films represented by KFF abroad, there are over 70 films.”

The main emphasis in the newsletter is put on the success of Piotr Stasik’s masterpiece “21xNew York” that travels to numerous festivals in Italy, Estonia, South Africa, Macedonia, Lithuania. The film was reviewed on this site in connection with last year’s Krakow Film Festival - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3578/ - I was at a critics panel, where the film was number one but the jury decided not to give it the main award it deserved.

For more info on Polish documentaries, check this site or go to

http://polishdocs.pl/en/news/3610/21xnew_york_on_world_tour


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DokuFest Kosovo/ Competitions

Written 10-07-2017 16:33:34 by Tue Steen Mller

DokuFest Kosovo/ Competitions

Many tweets fill the world of today… One for us film freaks came earlier to day: DokuFest XVI announces the full slate of films in competitions, featuring an outstanding body of work!

Yes the organisers can be proud of their work in selecting the films for the competitions which are divided into the sections ”Balkan Dox”, ”International Dox”, ”Human Rights Dox”, ”Green Dox”, International Shorts” and ”National”, the latter meaning films from Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia – mostly short films.

Let me mention some of the films, that I have seen and eventually also written about on this site:

Machines” by Rahul Jain, ”A Hole in the Head” by Robert Kirchhoff, ”Mogadishu Soldier” by Torstein Grude and Niels Pagh Andersen, ”Nowhere to Hide” (PHOTO) by Zaradasht Ahmed, ”The War Show” by Andreas Dalsgaard, Obaidah Zytoon and ”Woman and the Glacier” by Audrius Stonys.

http://dokufest.com/ 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Dokufest Kosovo 2017

Written 10-07-2017 10:23:14 by Tue Steen Mller

Dokufest Kosovo 2017

I was in Prizren last year and loved it. This year my August trips to the region go to Sarajevo and Skopje. But I will follow Dokufest on this site and start with a copy-paste from the announcements coming from the organisers:

The theme of FUTURE will be highlighted in the upcoming edition of DokuFest, running from August 04-12 in Prizren, Kosovo. We will take a daring look into future’s uncertainties, challenges and hopes through a fusion of a carefully curated film strand, visual exhibitions, various master classes and talks, collaborative workshops, diversified music performances, as well as platforms for use of new media and new technologies.

The seeds for this edition’s theme arose from the recent years’ growing move of citizens striving to have a stronger say in their own future. Our program will be a glimpse between dystopias and utopias, borders and openness, fear and love.

Competitions will be announced on July 10 on festival’s website, link below.

”North Korea seems interesting to almost everyone these days but few would imagine a concert of legendary Slovenian rock band Laibach in Pyongyang in celebration of countries national holiday. That’s exactly what happens in Morten Traavik’s and Ugis Olte’s wry and humorous film Liberation Day, a first such concert for a western rock band.” The film is one of 7 films in the music category, already announced.

”…a retrospective of British filmmaker John Smith’s work, by showing 21 of his films and hosting a master-class with the filmmaker. John Smith (photo) has been a pioneer in the British avant-garde film scene for over three decades. His films are known for their ingenuity, inflammatory wit, and unorthodox storytelling.”

http://dokufest.com/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Peter Kerekes: Censor

Written 07-07-2017 13:42:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Peter Kerekes: Censor

High expectations. What else can you have with a project from Peter Kerekes, who won a big award at the Karlovy Vary festival the other day. Let me remind you of the many entertaining and thought-provoking films by the Slovak director, who refrains from making observational documentaries, has developed his own style, as you can see for yourself in the short film “Second Chance” from 2014, “Cooking History” (2009), “66 Scenes” (2003) and “Velvet Terrorists” that he made with colleagues, among them Ivan Ostrochovsky, who is the script writer of “Censor”. Here is a quote from Variety about the film and the award:

““Censor” directed and produced by Peter Kerekes, and written by Ivan Ostrochovsky, has won the 14th edition of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival’s Works in Progress competition, which is open to projects from Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Turkey, Greece and former Soviet territories.

The jury… awarded the prize to the Slovak film for “its original and vivid human portrait of a lonely woman.” The film centers on Irina, who works as a censor in a prison in Odessa, Ukraine. She spends eight hours a day in her office reading love letters. “Through her, we follow various love affairs that only she can observe,” according to a statement. “Although she sees how women being used, and how the relationships end in disaster for them, she cannot take any action. She is a single woman and after 12 years of reading love letters full of the lies men tell, she is not capable of any relationship. If a guy on a date says, ‘You are special,’ she feels sick. But, of course, even she dreams of love.”

http://kerekesfilm.com/?lang=en 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nordisk Panorama 2017

Written 29-06-2017 16:35:49 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama 2017

A press release came in this morning from Nordisk Panorama. The film program for the festival is already made, selection has been done. Here is an edited clip from the text and mention of some of the titles for the Documentary section:

”Nordisk Panorama Film Festival takes place between 21-26 September in Malmö Sweden. Out of 562 submitted titles, 55 films have now been selected as nominees to Nordisk Panorama Awards 2017.

There are three competitive sections: Best Nordisk Documentary, Best Nordic Short Film and Best New Nordic Voice, a fourth catagory is the Audience Award, sponsored by the city of Malmö.”

Already well known and awarded Nordic documentaries at international festivals compete: Elvira Lind’s ”Bobbi Jene”, Feras Fayyad’s ”Last Men in Aleppo”, Morten Traavik’s musical documentary ”Liberation Day”, ”Nowhere to Hide” (PHOTO) by Zaradasht Ahmed, ”The War Show” by Andreas Møl Dalsgaard and Obaidah Zytoon… and many other that I look forward to see like John Webster’s ”Little Yellow Boots” and ”Death of a Child” by Frida Matilda Barkfors & Lasse Barkfors.

List of films for the other sections are to be found on the site, link below and Nordisk Panorama does also include a Forum and masterclasses and much more.

http://nordiskpanorama.com/en/industry/festival/docs-in-competition-2017/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Moscow IFF Documentaries

Written 24-06-2017 21:13:41 by Tue Steen Mller

Moscow IFF Documentaries

The documentary film competition at the Moscow International Film Festival (June 22-29) includes 6 films:

”A Hellish Chaos” by Sergey Debizhev, that refers to ” the 100th Anniversary of the revolution in Russia. Film researches the reasons of the “Russian revolution”, First World War, external and internal conspiracies, which led to the collapse of the monarchy and traditional world order. Narration is build of quotes, memoirs and inferences of eyewitnesses. The facts are told based on the views of the authors of the film…” Curious to see how this historical period in interpreted by Russians of today.

”Devil’s Freedom” by Mexican Everado Gonzalez, is an investigation into ”the phenomenon of violence (that) has emerged



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docu Talents in Karlovy Vary

Written 22-06-2017 10:21:57 by Tue Steen Mller

Docu Talents in Karlovy Vary

It’s such a fine idea and it works: Docu Talents from the East, the 13th edition, to take place during the festival in Karlovy Vary, July 4 14.00-16.00, organised by the always innovative people from the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival that I have had the pleasure of visiting a couple of times.

The concept is well-known: Director/producer behind 12 selected projects get 8 minutes to present their projects, all of them to have premiere late 2017 or in the first half of 2018. In other words a great opportunity for festival representatives, sales agents, broadcasters etc. to check out what is coming up from Eastern and Central Europe.

There are films from Kazakhstan, several from Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Slovakia, Serbia, Ukraine/Luxembourg/Estonia, Lithuania.

I know of some of them so these are the ones I will mention, read about all of them on the site, link below.

”D is for Division”, in post-production, is directed by Davis Simanis



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Celebrating Syria a Festival of Arts and Culture

Written 18-06-2017 09:30:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Celebrating Syria  a Festival of Arts and Culture

… in Manchester, July 10-23, organised by Rethink Rebuild Society: ”A fortnight of exhibition, films, theatre, live music, talks by writers, panel discussions and interactive art workshops exploring Syrian arts and culture before and after 2011.The first of its kind in the UK, this festival is a celebration of a hopeful, inspiring and imaginative face of Syria and the Syrian people and their rich contribution to the collective history of human expression.”

And it is indeed an inspiring program that is offered. CHECK THE WEBSITE, LINK BELOW. When it comes to films there are three works to be screened:



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Vit Klusk: The White World According to Daliborek

Written 17-06-2017 10:09:13 by Tue Steen Mller

Vit Klusk: The White World According to Daliborek

It is a great film that will evoke a lot of reactions and maybe legal questions: Are you in Czech Republic allowed to express, in public, racism as he does?

… Dalibor’s view on the world is bad - at the same time as he is (no irony) a poor guy who lives at home with mum and her boyfriend, who are also racists. Dalibor wants to get out of his boring life, so he puts himself into some roles, singing, recording… and he does not seem to have luck with the girlfriend, to say the least!

These were my short email-comments from months ago when I was asked whether there are festivals for this strong, pretty controversial documentary, Vit Klusák’s “The White World According to Daliborek”, that will have its world premiere at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival that takes place June 30-July 8.



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

FolkeBio Allinge /LRDAG

Written 15-06-2017 07:05:54 by Allan Berg Nielsen

FolkeBio Allinge /LRDAG

FILM & DEBAT

Det Danske Filminstitut inviterer i samarbejde med Politiken til film og debat under Folkemødet 2017 i Allinge. Se programmet for FolkeBios tredje dag her med Filmkommentarens anbefalinger føjet til:

LØRDAG DEN 17. JUNI

10:30 | MON DE KOMMER OM NATTEN?

Instruktør: Emil Langballe. For år tilbage flygtede 14-årige Rokhsar og hendes familie fra Afghanistan. De bor nu i en lille jysk provinsby, hvor Rokhsar går i skole og til fodbold. Familien venter på den endelige afgørelse om asyl, men ventetiden har forvandlet Rokhsar for altid. // Marina Janell Søndergaard, forkvinde i bestyrelsen for Dansk Flygtningehjælp Ungdom DFUNK, introducerer filmen.

FILMKOMMENTAREN

Vi har ikke set Mon de kommer om natten endnu, men vi glæder os. Tue Steen Müller har i sit arbejde ved internationale festivaler været opmærksom på instruktøren Emil Langballes tidlige arbejde: ”… Velican theatre (St. Petersburg) where we watched young Danish Emil Langballe’s graduation film from the National Film School in England, ”Beach Boy”, a well balanced, cinematic non-moralistic portrait of a young black man and his relationship to a middle-aged British woman in Kenya. The young man makes a phone call to his girl friend, who is pregnant but is aware of his profession. The film is light and pretty much less demonstrative than the feature of Ulrich Seidl.” http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2857/

og i Kalovy Vary ”… Best documentary film under 30 minutes was “Beach Boy” by Emil Langballe, 27 mins., a film from the National Film School in England.” http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2423/



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Categories: Cinema, Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

FolkeBio Allinge /FREDAG

Written 14-06-2017 08:20:58 by Allan Berg Nielsen

FolkeBio Allinge /FREDAG

FILM & DEBAT

Det Danske Filminstitut inviterer i samarbejde med Politiken til film og debat under Folkemødet 2017 i Allinge. Se programmet for FolkeBios første dag her med Filmkommentarens anbefalinger føjet til:

FREDAG DEN 16. JUNI

10:30 | BIG TIME

Instruktør: Kaspar Astrup Schröder. Få indblik i de kreative processer hos den verdenskendte og innovative arkitekt Bjarke Ingels, mens han kæmper for at fuldføre sit største projekt til dato. Vi følger arbejdet og de mange kompromiser, det kræver, og vi er med, når privatlivet presser sig på.

FILMKOMMENTARENS ANBEFALING

Bjarke Ingels er sjov at være sammen med. Han er, når han taler dansk, den 40 årige uhøjtidelige drengerøv som elsker sit fede job, ”vil gøre en forskel”, er visionær og får den internationale anerkendelse som han fortjener, når man ser de mange bygninger, han har lagt navn til i Danmark and all over. Hans drømme er gået i opfyldelse.

Og han er den fremragende fortæller, når han på engelsk ved det hvide papir tegner og fortæller – om tankerne bag forbrændingsanstalten og dens skibakke og om arbejdet i New York med at omforme verdens mest berømte skyline. For at bruge hans eget udtryk, på dansk, er det sindssygt spændende at se arkitekten med en tuschpen ved det hvide papir, filmet en face eller fra oven. Her træder filmens instruktør ind og arrangerer for tilskueren. Visualiserer hvad det er arkitekten kan og gør. Det er medlevende og oplysende… Læs hele Tue Steen Müllers anmeldelse her: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3908/



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Categories: Cinema, Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Folkebio Allinge Shows Docs

Written 13-06-2017 19:38:13 by Tue Steen Mller

Folkebio Allinge Shows Docs

And then you should know what that means. Allan Berg introduces the films that will be shown in Allinge on the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, where Folkemødet, Denmark’s Political Festival on Bornholm takes place June 15.-18. 2017. The idea behind the Folkemødet is a meeting of people and politicians, where Bornholm provides the venue for Danish politicians to debate current political issues. All events are free and within walking distance of each other. Each political party represented in Folketinget has the opportunity to hold a major speech…

And there are films, selected by the Danish Film Institute and the newspaper Politiken. The first ones to be shown on thursday are Lise Birk Pedersen’s Italian based ”Tutti à Casa”, followed by Danish photographer activist Jabob Holdt and the film about him, and Pernille Rose Grønkjær’s portrait of stand up comedian Anders Matthesen, ”The Other Side” – of the artist.

Follow Allan Berg and his recommendations on this site.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

FolkeBio Allinge /TORSDAG

Written 13-06-2017 11:13:41 by Allan Berg Nielsen

FolkeBio Allinge /TORSDAG

FILM & DEBAT

Det Danske Filminstitut inviterer i samarbejde med Politiken til film og debat under Folkemødet 2017 i Allinge. Se programmet for FolkeBios første dag her med Filmkommentarens anbefalinger føjet til:

TORSDAG DEN 15. JUNI

14:00 | "TUTTI A CASA

– Al Magt til Folket?". Instruktør: Lise Birk Pedersen. Filmen følger det italienske protestparti Movimento fra outsider til magtfaktor i det italienske parlament og skildrer dermed en generel udvikling inden for de vestlige demokratier.// Populisme og politikerlede er temaet for den efterfølgende debat, hvor instruktøren fortæller om sin kommende film "Demokratiløftet". Mød Lise Birk Pedersen, Victor Boysen, RU, Lasse Quvang Rasmussen, DSU, og Tobias Weische, DFU.

FILMKOMMENTARENS ANBEFALING

Vi er 83 minutter inde i filmen, her er det dramatiske højdepunkt, i billedet ser vi de egentlige medvirkende bortset fra en. Kvinden i midten er Paola, manden til højre er Alberto, manden til venstre er Mario. Den fjerde hovedperson er fraværende, det er den på det tidspunkt i filmens forløb ekskluderede Luis. Scenen sammenfatter filmens to vigtigste dramatiske forløb, den pludselige vækst, men så også uenighederne og eksklusionerne i det nye parti i Italien, Movimento 5 Stelle og nedturen for den tidligere regerende partikoalition og især den dominerende Silvio Berlusconi… Læs hele min anmeldelse her: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3793/



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Categories: Cinema, Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Peace Award Comeback at DOKLeipzig

Written 13-06-2017 11:13:15 by Tue Steen Mller

Peace Award Comeback at DOKLeipzig

At the 60th edition of DOKLeipzig (October 30 – November 5) the so-called Leipziger Ring Film Prize returns to the festival after having been away for one year due to lack of funding. It comes back in a new form, here are quotes from the press release that reached us this morning:

”After a one-year break, the Stiftung Friedliche Revolution (the Peaceful Revolution Foundation in Leipzig) will once again be awarding the Leipziger Ring film prize at DOK Leipzig. The 2,500 euro prize will honour a documentary film about human rights, democracy and civic action. From 2010 to 2015, the prize was awarded annually but the foundation had to break with this tradition last year because of a lack of funds. The response of dismay encouraged the foundation and DOK Leipzig to re-launch the prize. In its new form, the festival audience will decide on the winning film instead of a jury of experts.

"Thanks to the overwhelming reactions of Leipzig citizens, the international audience and the resolve of the Stiftung Friedliche Revolution, this significant prize has returned to DOK Leipzig," says festival director Leena Pasanen. "The response showed how important this award is for the city in which the Peaceful Revolution began. The prize is also extremely necessary at a time when political developments indicate that democracy and human rights are at stake all over the world."

… DOK Leipzig will nominate five documentary films (at least 25 minutes long) from its Official Selection for the award, which will reward artistic documentary films that focus on the civic action of people all over the world and explore the non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights and participation in societal processes. The prize might also honour the achievement of directors who make films in a courageous way and with great personal commitment against the odds and despite a lack of freedom of speech and press.”

http://www.dok-leipzig.de


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017/2

Written 12-06-2017 16:17:34 by Tue Steen Mller

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017/2

Carol Nahra, one of many fine contributors to the late DOX Magazine, made late May a fine interview with the new Sheffield Doc/Fest festival director Luke Moody (photo) on her ”Docs on Screen”. The whole interview – link below – is recommended as Moody not only talk about films from the festival but comes up with interesting comments and reflections on the documentary of today, like these ones:

Question: I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about how documentary storytelling is evolving creatively and expanding and overlapping with drama?

There are two directions, or trends that I’ve seen in particular. There’s a renewed interest and passion for verité storytelling. Really strong observational films produced over three or four or six years in some cases, that are just like really close and warm narratives. The majority of those are family stories, things like The Cage Fighter, or Quest, which is a really outstanding debut by a filmmaker who was a photographer… Mama Colonel is another one of those,  by Congolese filmmaker Dieudo Hamadi,  which is like a Kim Longinotto film. So there has just been this – I guess it’s not a reemergence of that style of storytelling, because a lot of them are made over a long period of time –  but perhaps it’s a reaction to the presence of fake news these days. People are wanting to return to very much the nitty gritty of factual storytelling and observation and just being very embedded within a community that they’re trying to portray. So that they get some sort of shared truth within that development. And I think the majority are films which have not been initially funded. They are things that have evolved from other projects…

… (the other) has this really strong conceptual approach to filmmaking and the way that we interpret reality to storytelling. Ghost Hunting is one of the most powerful. A really reflexive piece that explores the power between direction of a filmmaker and those portrayed on the camera, to the point where the tide turns and they start to question what he’s trying to achieve with the film. And he has to then become open and become vulnerable as a director to be part of that shared experience of change within the film…

https://docsonscreens.com/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Poetics

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017

Written 10-06-2017 20:44:30 by Tue Steen Mller

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017

… is running right now. The industry part has for years now proved to be the place to go to pitch in the first half of the year with the IDFA Forum being the one at the second half. The list of tv editors visiting is impressive and producers want to go there it seems; the list of projects to be pitched at the so-called Meetmarket is looong.

But what about the festival part of Sheffield Doc/Fest that I have previously criticized for being totally UK/USA orientated with tv documentaries as the dominant genre. Going through the program on the website it still looks like that and yet behind the many titles that I don’t know so let me take a quote from an interview in Screen Daily:

“Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Luke Moody is looking to expand the creative scope of the festival and welcome more experimental works.

This year’s edition of the UK festival, which runs from 9 to 14 June, marks Moody’s first turn as director of film programming, having moved to Doc/Fest after six years at non-profit organisation Britdoc, where he was most recently head of film.

“There’s an increasing hunger for artful films, and a growing confidence for filmmakers to make long-form docs that are playing with form,” he said.



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow FF Winners International Comp.

Written 04-06-2017 11:41:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Krakow FF Winners International Comp.

Voila, now it happened. I wrote this when at DOKLeipzig last year : ”Dum Spiro Spero” (photo) by author Pero Kvesic, a man who suffers behind the camera from reduced lung capacity. It’s a wonderful simple film, it has a tone, he talks so well behind the camera going around in his house, where wife and sister-in-law and son do also live, not to forget the two dogs. One could hope for one of the many awards be given to this film, produced by Nenad Puhovski.

A very pleasant surprising decision taken by the jury presided by Pawel Lozinski. Pero Kvesic was on stage saying that he had enjoyed days in Zagreb, had gone home – 900 km to Zagreb – to wake up saturday morning being asked to come back. Into the car and 900 km together with wife and friend.

The two other titles awarded was in my list of favourites from yesterday: Silver Horn for Medium lenght documentary ”Woman and the Glacier” by Audrius Stonys (who also won the Fipresci critic award and drove 11 hours with his wife from Vilnius to receive the awards) and Lissette Oroczo got Silver Horn for feature length for her courageous ”Adriana’s Pact”. The young director has made a film that keeps your attention from start till end. She wants to find out if her aunt was involved in torturing the opponents to the Pinochet régime, for which she was working in the secret police. The aunt was young and beautiful, the generals liked her, did she take part in the atrocities? It sounds like a journalistic story, an investigation, it is that in a way but the film is built like a psychological study of the two, their relationship, the love and doubt and anger. It is one of those films where you sometimes feel embarrased to watch, but it is a film that trancends the private to become personal.

Special mention – out of politeness? – to Marcin Borchardt for „The Beksinskis“ and Piotr Stasik for „Opera About Poland“.

www.krakowfilmfestival.pl

 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow FF National Competition Winners

Written 04-06-2017 11:07:06 by Tue Steen Mller

Krakow FF National Competition Winners

I saw only a few of the Polish films from the national competition but two of them I saw got awards from the jury headed by Dariusz Jablonski, who is also the head of the Polish Film Academy. In that capacity Jablonski asked the audience to hold up a paper with the text ”Release Oleg Sentsov”, the Ukrainian filmmaker and writer, who was arrested by the Russians in March 2014 in Crimea and sentenced to 20 years in jail on suspicion of “plotting terrorist acts”. Respect!

The winner of the main prize, the so-called Golden Hobby-Horse, for the best film was ”The Ugliest Car” by Grzegorz Szczepaniak, a funny and moving film about mother and son travelling in a Wartburg car, which is more than 50 year old. Bogdan… shouts the 94 year old mother when he gets too far away from her to talk with other people about the award-winning car, that is on its way to Germany to see the camp where the mother was in 1943. The son, who is physically disabled, is sooo much caring for the mother and they have beautiful conversations in the pensions that they stay in on the way. Hilarious. Sweet. There is a long international festival career waiting for this film.

The same could happen for the Silver Hobby-Horse winner, ”Stranger on my Couch” by Grzegorz Brzozowski, who manages to bring fine moments to the screen, when foreign couchsurfers with a Vietnamese or Korean or German background come to visit and end up sitting on the couch having deep conversations with the hosts about life and love. Well in one case you almost think – or hope – that the Vietnamese who lives in Germany would stay with the single moter and her son. Or the middle aged engineer who makes a messy room ready for a heavy metal musician and go to the street to play with a toy helicopter.

Photo: The winning director Grzegorz Szczepaniak (red trousers) on stage.

The national competition also includes animation and fiction films. Go to the website  and check:

www.krakowfilmfestival.pl


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow FF: Docs to Go!

Written 03-06-2017 13:07:39 by Tue Steen Mller

Krakow FF: Docs to Go!

Below, in a previous post, some positive words about Doc Lab Poland and its Docs to Start, and now I repeat myself by talking about Docs to Go!, the presentation of 8 projects hosted by always enthusiastic and professional Rada Sesic. To Go means that the films are in post production to be released later this year or in 2018. As with Docs to Start there was a good audience, a supportive atmosphere and interesting material to be watched on the big screen in MOS1 at the Festival Centre.

If I was a festival programmer (and I am for Magnificent7 Belgrade and DocsBarcelona) I would keep an eye on two of the eight film projects presented. Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski, who made ”Domino Effect”, are working on ”The Prince and The Dybbuk”, which is announced to be ready this September. It is a fascinating story about Michal Waszynski, ”the son of a poor Jewish blacksmith from Ukraine, died in Madrid as Prince MW, Hollywood producer and exiled Polish aristocrat. The producer Malgorzata Zacharko showed wonderful material, including an archive clip where the Prince is smoking a cigarette in his palazzo in Rome. He could have played in a Visconti film with that appearance.

The other one that for me stood out was ”The Wind. A Documentary Thriller” with Michal Bielawski as director and Maciej Kubicki as producer. ”A multi-layered story about the clash between people and the forces of nature”, in the form of a documentary thriller. Location is Southern Poland/Slovakia in the Carpathian mountains. There more than strong winds can  destroy not only houses, forests, creating avalanches but can also create mental changes… the material shown with people and nature was great and surprising. Let the final film surprise us, don’t go classical, break the story-telling rules.

It was brave of the filmmakers to come with their unfinished material, trailers and raw scenes and show that to an audience. It is obvious that the Doc Lab Poland organisers Adam and Katarzyna Slesicki has the film background needed to run the development programs in a professional way. To develop new talent with respect and inspiration.

Photo: Waszynski and Sophia Loren

www.doclab.pl

 

 

 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow FF DocLab & My Favourites

Written 03-06-2017 08:31:18 by Tue Steen Mller

Krakow FF DocLab & My Favourites

Text that I wrote for the Daily newspaper of the festival: I started the wednesday morning at the Festival Centre moderating the „Docs to Start“ session, that is part of the impressive and super-professionally run DocLab Poland. 9 projects were pitched to be followed by individual meetings with producers, festival representatives and broadcasters after a lunch. 100 people sat in the audience, the pitching filmmakers did very well, having been for a couple of days in good tutor-hands of Danish producer Lise Lense-Møller, EDN director Paul Pauwels and DOK Leipzig’s Head of Industry Brigid O’Shea.

Let me pick three projects that I think will become good films. To exemplify the good quality: Maciej Cuske, a skilled director who is always chasing Russian stories, has a strong one in the pipeline from Chukchi Peninsula, where indigenous people live from hunting, which is a profession that is disappearing, title: „The Whale from Lorino“. And „War Watchers“ by Vita Drygas about



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow FF Content is King or...

Written 02-06-2017 08:00:25 by Tue Steen Mller

Krakow FF Content is King or...

Content is King, we are often taught, the issue/theme is the most important, the form is only the carrier. Mostly those ”teaching” are television people, who I have often heard saying at diverse pitching sessions: ”This film is too artistic for me!”

I wonder what happens with Sergey Loznitsa’s artistic masterpiece ”Austerlitz” in terms of broadcast. Will it happen? Will it end up on television? The film which is shown in the ”German Films” section is based on Form. The director has made a clear aesthetical choice for watching the tourists, who are visiting the former concentration camps. How they walk, how they talk, how they dress, how they take pictures with their smartphones, there are (almost) no words but a strongly manufactured sound score that in the long sequences are nerve-wracking. I suffered when I saw that film.

Form, another fine director, French/Czech Stan Neumann, has said, is the face of the film, the way the content appears to the



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow FF Main Competition

Written 01-06-2017 08:54:31 by Tue Steen Mller

Krakow FF Main Competition

A first glance at the main competition of the festival makes me say Diversity. In terms of countries represented, in terms of duration with several films that have the television length of around 52 minutes and films which are around 80 minutes, probably targeting a theatrical distribution… and a couple which are 100 minutes or more.

When it comes to characterise the kind of films listed in this program of 17 titles, the word diversity is even more evident. I am happy that I am not a jury member, who is to compare Audrius Stonys visually stunning ”Woman and the Glacier”, a film that breaks the rules of classical dramaturgy leaving the portrait of the glaciolog to go wild into the ice making images that are like abstract paintings with Vitaly Mansky’s personal ”Rodnye. Close Relations”, a first person film with the director in the picture visiting his family in Lviv, Odessa, Donbass, Sevastopol on Crimea. A personal very timely comment from the acclaimed director. Or with the Croatian minimalistic ”Dum Spiro Spero” shot and directed by Pero Kvesic. Or with the charming feature by David Rane and Neasa Ni Chianáin, ”School Life” is the title listed, when at the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade, it was ”In loco Parentis” (Photo), but when American distribution company Magnolia took over the distribution, the title changed!   

At a time where festival after festival take stands/express opinions through their selection for the side programs, Krakow keeps the official selection, the one for the main competition, as the one where ”the best of the best” should be. Which does not mean that the films taken are free of statements or opinions. When films are taken for a festival both form and content count in the decisions being considered. And history – I am looking forward to watch ”Adriana’s Pact” by Lisette Orozco, that deals with the life of the director’s aunt during the dictatorship of Pinochet in Chile. As well as ”The General and Me” by Tiana Alexandra Silliphant that goes like this in the description ” Over the period of 25 years the director met General Võ Nguyên Giáp, a legendary hero of Vietnam’s independence wars, a number of times. She was the first American who entered the home of the “Red Napoleon”. The fruit of this friendship is a film, personal and politically involved at the same time...“. It is typical that documentaries, contrary to the more mainstream tv-documentaries, dare narrate history in first person.

I was in the jury – main competition – in 2011. It was a pleasure for many reasons. One was that we were able to honour Wojciech Staron for his masterpiece „Argentinian Lesson“, and for his cinematography, and we also had Pawel Kloc on the award list for hisPhnom Penh Lullaby” – two very strong Polish documentaries. I still remember festival director Krzysztof Gierat’s happy smile, when we told him the result, „really...“ he said, two Polish films on the top! Another reason for the joy of being in the jury was that fellow juror Marcin Koszałka gave me tasting lessons in the many different Polish vodkas! Yes, a festival is a feast for art and the good life!


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Rahul Jains Speech in Barcelona

Written 30-05-2017 23:45:45 by Tue Steen Mller

Rahul Jains Speech in Barcelona

Indian director Rahul Jain said the following to the audience sunday night at the closing ceremony of DocsBarcelona, where he got the Amnesty Award:

Thank you to DocsBarcelona and the Amnesty International Jury. In my youthful idealism I’d like to think that we make art about the things that we don’t like about the world. We as filmmakers deal in the business of empathy, And empathy knows no geopolitical boundaries. In a documentary film festival, all of us here are fascinated and intrigued by the human condition. And as predictable and granted one can and should take human rights to be, every time even the simplest and most logical of notions have had to be fought for. It is certainly a privilege to be known to the world for the things you believe in. And have believed in your whole life.

A review of the film can be found on http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3772/

www.docsbarcelona.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona 2017: The Winners

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

DocsBarcelona 2017: The Winners

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

www.docsbarcelona.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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