Filmkommentaren

Ny Litauisk Film

Written 09-12-2019 13:21:15 by Tue Steen Mller

Ny Litauisk Film

Litauiske film bliver vist i Cinemateket i København fra i morgen. Her er et copypaste af beskrivelsen. To af filmene - de dokumentariske - har været anmeldt på filmkommentaren, links forneden:

Med filmen 'Frost' tager den litauiske instruktør Sarunas Bartas os med på en odyssé gennem Østeuropa og ind i hjertet af den tilsyneladende endeløse konflikt mellem Rusland og Ukraine. 'Motherland' foregår i 1992 – efter Sovjetunionens sammenbrud – og følger Viktorija, der samen med sin teenagesøn forsøger at vende tilbage til Litauen efter mange års fravær. I 'Invisible' giver Jonas sig ud for at være blind for at kunne deltage i en danseshow på tv, men han bliver forfulgt af spøgelser fra fortiden. 

'Acid Forest' og 'Animus Animalis (A Story About People, Animals and Things)' føjer sig fornemt ind i rækken af fremragende litauiske naturdokumentarer, jævnfør 'The Ancient Woods', som vi viste i maj under festivalen Baltic Frames. Disse film skildrer forholdet mellem mennesker og natur fra nye, øjenåbnende vinkler. 

Den litauiske serie åbner den 10. december med filmen 'Sasha Was Here' og besøg af instruktøren Ernestas Jankauskas. Efter filmen er du inviteret til et glas vin i Asta Bar.

Filmserien er arrangeret i samarbejde med Lithuanian Film Centre (Dovile Butnoriute) og Litauens Ambassade. 

Billetter: https://llk.dk/rqabce eller på tlf. 33 74 34 12.

Acid Forest: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4379/

Animus Animalis: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4476/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The IDA Awards

Written 08-12-2019 21:04:12 by Tue Steen Mller

The IDA Awards

More awards: From the International Documentary Association, under the leadership of Simon Kilmurry: Here is some more info on the winners of the IDA Documentary Awards:

BEST FEATURE

For Sama
Director/Producer: Waad al-Kateab
Director: Edward Watts

DIRECTOR

American Factory

Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Honeyland

Cinematographers: Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma

EDITING

Midnight Family

Editor: Luke Lorentzen. Co-Editor: Paloma López Carrillo

MUSIC

The Raft (photo)

Composer: Hans Appelqvist

WRITING

The Cave

Writer: Feras Fayyad

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/2019-ida-documentary-awards-winners-list-full-1258853/item/feature-documentary-ida-awards-winners-2019-1260549


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sundance Film Festival 2020

Written 05-12-2019 16:11:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Sundance Film Festival 2020

…announced yesterday: 118 feature-length films, representing 27 countries and 44 first-time feature filmmakers. Of the 65 directors in all four competition categories, comprising 56 films, 46% are women, 38% are people of color, and 12% are LGBTQ+. In the U.S. Dramatic Competition, 47% of the directors are women; 53% are people of color; 5% are LGBTQ+. In this year’s U.S. Documentary Competition, 45% are women; 23% are people of color; 23% are LGBTQ+.

44%, or 52, of all films announced today were directed by one or more women; 34%, or 40, were directed by one or more filmmaker of color; 15% or 18 by one or more people who are LGBTQ+. 23 films announced today were supported by Sundance Institute in development, whether through direct granting or residency Labs. 107 of the Festival’s feature films, or 91% of the lineup announced today, will be world premieres.

These films were selected from a record high of 15,100 submissions including 3,853 feature-length films. Of the feature film submissions, 1,698 were from the U.S. and 2,155 were international; 29% were directed by one or more women; 40% were directed by one or more filmmaker of color; 15% by one or more people who identify as LGBTQ+.

https://www.sundance.org/blogs/news/2020-sundance-features-announced


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Audience Award 2019

Written 30-11-2019 12:33:36 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Audience Award 2019

Of course it is something special to win an audience award. At IDFA, that is indeed (also) an audience festival apart from being the place, where documentary professionals meet every year. Here is how the award is decided, from the press release of the festival:

The winner of the VPRO IDFA Audience Award is determined by festival visitors who, after an IDFA film screening, rank their appreciation for the film by way of a voting card. Now in its fourth year, the VPRO IDFA Audience Award is made possible by VPRO...



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA: Love Child

Written 27-11-2019 20:11:17 by Allan Berg Nielsen

IDFA: Love Child

Eva Mulvads Love Child kan ses som et studium af det politiske systems produktion af ventetid ind i den enkelte families virkelighed, ind i det enkelte menneskes liv. Her har vi et barn, en mor og en far på flugt og landet i Istanbul og vi har tiden som går. Først mærker jeg det blot ved årstallene som skrives ind i billedet, i eftertanken tvinges jeg til at prøve at huske hvad jeg har set, for jeg må da have set efter, detaljerne, forskydningerne, dramaets tydeligheder.

Ja, de var der, de er der i Eva Mulvads nye værk, men alt dette er ligesom tonet ned i lavmælthed, ned i et smukt halvanden times billede af den menneskelige værdighed som er det politiske systems fjerne opgave, en opgave som vi ofte tror glemmes.

Jeg ser en almindelig familie. Barnet er i begyndelsen forstyrret og urimelig til det irriterende, forstår ikke rejsens karakter af flugt og uafvendelighed, faderen er angst for straffen, pisk på gaden, måske til døden, jeg ser en kort reportage af dette modbydelige på hans telefon, moderen er skrækslagen ved tanken om steningen som ville vente hende.

Deres forbrydelser er affæren, forelskelsen, kærlighedsforholdet, den dobbelte utroskab. Og de er begge mærkeligt skamfulde, for deres moral og deres handlinger er bundet i deres familiers syn på den slags og i deres samfunds, det iranske stats brutale lovgivning og grusomme straffe.

Men det afstår Eva Mulvad fra at lade sin film skildre og tage stilling til. Sammen med Adam Nielsen som har klippet og sin række af assisterende fotografer skildrer hun ventetiden, som FN flygtningeorganisationen producerer. Faderen forklarer og forsvarer over for moderen, manden over for kvinden: de har titusinder ansøgninger at tage stilling til.

Eva Mulvads Love Child er en vibrerende, fint sansende film om ventetid – og filmen er i sin tyste tankerigdom ganske meget mere…


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Categories: Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

IDFA: Life Achievement Award to Jrgen Leth

Written 27-11-2019 13:03:03 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA: Life Achievement Award to Jrgen Leth

… to be given tonight at the Amsterdam festival, where his new film, ”I Walk”, has its world premiere. In an interview on the IDFA website –

https://www.idfa.nl/en/article/130885/finding-a-new-balance

the director says:

“In observing life, I've always been very frank in dealing only with the things I'm interested in, not what anyone else told me was interesting. I always tell film students they should make personal films, and I've done that all my life. I've always been egocentric in that way—all my stories are my own stories. I've always been part poet and part journalist. I'm very interested in that connection. I don't much enjoy films that are just information, devoid of sensuality. Sensuality is the main thing; that's the driving force for me. There should always be a dialogue between the two. Journalism brings a framework of real curiosity, which is then treated with the sensuality of poetry.”

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2198/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA: I Walk

Written 24-11-2019 12:04:34 by Allan Berg Nielsen

IDFA: I Walk

Når det gælder Jørgen Leth er det altid, og i høj grad i denne meget store og aldeles vigtige film, umuligt at skille manden fra værket. Og jeg, som i min ungdom var opdraget i det autonome værks ånd, jeg som dog trods dette har læst biografier og selvbiografier med begejstring, men vist som underholdning, ikke som nøgler til værkerne, jeg anbringer nu tryg I Walk på hylden med verdenslitteratur, de uomgængelige film og bøger: Godards framinger (Asger Leths bemærkning et sted), Herzogs vilde bjergbestigning (synopsens association et sted), Rilkes elegier og Inger Christensens sonetter (mine private tanker undervejs i mit møde med Jørgen Leths nye storværk). 

LILLE FESTTALE

Kære Jørgen, hele tiden mens jeg ser din film og hører din ustandselige, smukke og kloge stemme tænker jeg på Rembrandts tror jeg nok sene selvportrætter, hensynsløst fortvivlede, og skridt for skridt dybere erkendende det som ikke bliver væk, dette vigtige, du skriver til sidst i din seneste bog:

Det bliver ikke væk jeg har skrevet det ned det bliver / ikke væk Jeg skriver det ned så det er der / Så står det der Det behøver ikke være en blank side / Det forsvinder hele tiden / Det skal bare puttes på plads / Det må ikke blive væk / Og det er vigtigt at huske / Tankerne er gode men de forsvinder / De skal indfanges under glas, ligesom insekter / Pilles fra hinanden ligesom insekter

Nej, Jørgen. Du har ret, det bliver ikke væk, for det ligger længere fremme og venter. Din digterkollega Lea Marie Løppenthin kommer dig nemlig til undsætning: "Det var først for nylig, at jeg undersøgte etymologien for det korte, skrappe ord ”væk”: Fra middelaldertysk wech, afledt af weg ’vej’, jævnfør norrønt á veg ’på vej, bort, væk’ beslægtet med vej.

Det lykkelige ved opdagelsen sidder stadig i mig – / Det der er væk, er altså bare nede ad vejen. / Det, der er væk, er bare et andet sted end her."

Løft højre fod og tag med din vilje et skridt frem og løft venstre fod og tag med vilje et skridt frem. Du Går…

I Walk har verdenspremiere i Amsterdam i aften, på IDFA festivalen. Det bliver din fest i aften. Tillykke Jørgen!


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Categories: Cinema, Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

IDFA: Talks. Advice. And a Film Called Faith!

Written 23-11-2019 15:18:25 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA: Talks. Advice. And a Film Called Faith!

After Thursday’s film-watching, friday was the day to meet documentary friends, catching up on what they are working on and saying sorry “can’t make it for your screening, I am back in Copenhagen at that time“. I said so several times. “Can I have a link”?

Had a good talk with Adriek van Nieuwenhuyzen, head of the IDFA Forum,



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IDFA: Y in Vyborg

Written 22-11-2019 09:09:27 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA: Y in Vyborg

Film History. And History. Vyborg, once Finnish, now Russian. Next time I am in St. Petersburg I must go to the city. Thanks to Patricio Guzman, who picked Pia Andell’s wonderful archive-based love story as one of his favourites to be screened at IDFA. It had only one screening, yesterday, but it must be possible to get to it online somewhere? I chose to watch it because of my interest in Russia and Pieter and found a documentary classic even if it is only 15 years old, so well mastered, to be enjoyed, what a life they had Y and Mirri. Here is the IDFA description:  

”In 1938, a young Finnish couple, both of them architects, bought an 8mm camera. A year after this purchase, Finland was attacked by the Soviet Union. The husband, given the name “Y,” was appointed as the architect of the city of Vyborg, and he worked closely together with his wife, nicknamed Mirri. The story is told from the perspective of their daughter, whose first memory was of marching soldiers. Her observations are voiced sometimes by a child and sometimes by an adult.

This creative documentary is constructed entirely from amateur films—some of them in color—shot by the couple between 1938 and 1949. Initially, the footage paints a picture of life as usual, with people swimming and new children being born. Increasingly, however, the war starts to intrude on their existence. Then comes the moment that Y gets separated from his family for a long period of time. The couple’s correspondence and the films of this period offer some intimate insight into the lives of normal citizens affected by the war, and the unique perspective of an architect who must rebuild his ruined city adds a telling layer.”

Pia Andell: Y in Vyborg, Finland, 2005, 51 mins.

www.idfa.nl


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IDFA: That Which Does Not Kill

Written 22-11-2019 08:25:27 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA: That Which Does Not Kill

The English title of this superbly staged French language documentary is a bit complicated, I prefer the simple original „Sans Frapper“. Below you find the IDFA website description ending with „listen carefully“; yes do so, the stories are amazing, but this is a Film that includes perfectly composed images: Woman after woman, young and younger, and a couple of men, filmed in their homes, most of them smoking cigarettes, talking to the director, who sometimes asks a question or two, „are you ok“ or words to that effect. The director makes it easy for the viewer to stay with the beauty that contrasts the stories the beautiful characters in the beautiful images tell us. This is an example of how to deal with a film with talking faces, how to make pauses, to let the image stand alone after a story. It is obvious that the director has rehearsed with the involved to have the stories come out with a strong intensity and precision. Reminds me of Pawel Lozinski’s „You Have No Idea How Much I Love You“.  

„He was someone she knew, and she didn’t resist. And then it happened twice more that week. Ada was 19. Her testimony is central to this film, but many share her history: people of all ages, black and white, men and women.

Director Alexe Poukine finds a sensitive way to make it possible to talk about the consequences of rape: the pain, the coping mechanisms, or indeed the lack of them. Ada’s story is interwoven with the experiences of others, from different perspectives, but in essence barely different. The result is a collective introspection that connects compellingly with us – which are the questions that come to our minds, and which are the ones that we forget to ask?

Although the narrative style often misleads us, it also creates space for the universality of the story. It's one that's neither simple to express nor easy to hear. The best you can do is listen carefully.”

Alexe Poukine: That Which Does Not Kill (Belgium/France, 2019, 85 mins.)

www.idfa.nl


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IDFA: Collective

Written 22-11-2019 07:47:03 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA: Collective

This is definitely a film that I want to watch again. A must-see film for busy IDFA visitors. And notice that on tuesday there will be a meeting with the director and protagonists. Would have loved to be there, maybe it will be recorded?

Shocking, touching, a Romanian Watergate-story with brave journalists (from a daily Sport’s newspaper!), balanced between the investigation and the digging out of terrible facts of corruption, cynicism and surviving victims and the suffering of relatives of victims, who did not survive. With a character focus on the journalists and – towards the end – a minister of Health who tries his best to change a rotten hospital system framed by an equal rotten political system. Romania! Here is, taken from the IDFA website, the story:

“On October 30, 2015, a serious fire broke out at the Colectiv nightclub in Bucharest. It was one of the worst disasters in recent Romanian history, with an initial 27 people killed and 180 injured. Within a few days, fierce protests erupted, leading to the resignation of the Social Democratic government.

Director Alexander Nanau follows a number of key figures in the aftermath of the disaster, from the point where we learn that 37 of the injured died of bacterial infections in local hospitals. We hear from newspaper journalists who discover that the hospitals use diluted disinfectants, the minister of health in the temporary technocratic government, and the victims of a corrupt health care system in a dysfunctional state.

Nanau avoids sensation and remains detached from the powerful emotions that surround the story, exposing the grim face of the corruption that plagues his country all the more.”

Alexander Nanau: Collective (Romania, 2019, 109 mins.)

www.idfa.nl


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IDFA Opening Night 2019

Written 21-11-2019 09:41:00 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Opening Night 2019

The opening night at the beautiful Royal Theatre in Amsterdam, Carré, was very well put together. As an homage to D.A. Pennebaker, who died this year, 94 years old, his five minutes long jazzy (Duke Ellington) ”Daybreak Express” from 1953 was shown. Lovely, reminded me of his colleague Richard Leacock’s ”Jazz Dance” that came out the year after. Both full of ambition, full of enthusiasm for their medium, full of desire to find their voice as documentary directors, curious, loving life. Pennebaker was 28, young, at the beginning of a long carreer. A founding father and an important filmmaker in the history of IDFA.

As said Orwa Nyrabia, the artistic director of the festival, who enters the



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Tips from Filmkommentaren

Written 14-11-2019 21:29:43 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Tips from Filmkommentaren

When 300+ films are to be screened, how do you decide where to go. This is the situation for those going to Amsterdam very soon. IDFA is a big festival and you/I need help. And help is given.

The festival does a lot to help editorially through making thematic sections like “Life in Europe”, “People and Planet”, “iWorld”, “It’s a Woman’s World”, “Profession Journalist”, “Believe me”… or “Best Of… Audience Favourites, “Must-Sees”, “Award-Winners” and broadcasters and newspapers get the chance to give advice.

I take the liberty to join the group of advisers on films that you could go and see. Some of them I have not seen myself yet, but as the Germans say,  vonhörensagen is also a way.

I pick 10 from the first 5 days, that’s enough on a blogpost:

Maryam Zaree: Born in Evin: Personal. Touching. Director was born in an Iranian prison… Saw it in Sarajevo.

Dina Naser: Tiny Souls: Was at DocsBarcelona. Syrian children in a refugee camp in Jordan. Followed over several years. Excellent.

Patricio Guzmán: The Cordillera of Dreams: IDFA’s Guest of Honour – his newest work. Must-see for me.

Andres Veiel: Black Box BRD: It’s from 2001, want to see it again. History. Germany. RAF.

Alan Berliner: Letter to the Editor: Berliner is one of the most original documentarians of today, here with a love letter to the newspaper.

Andrey Tarkovsky. A Cinema Prayer: The son about his father, it’s lovely and it’s for us many Tarkovsky fans. Clips from films, archive clips with him. Lot of Phatos!

Feras Fayyad: The Cave: Saw it in Copenhagen! Shocking. Syria again. Main protagonist Dr Amani is a true hero with colleagues in the underground hospital in Ghouta. Masterly done.

Jørgen Leth: I Walk: Have of course been an admirer of our Danish icon since I met him and his films decades ago. He is a phenomen in Danish cultural life and internationally among cinéphiles. Again autobiographical… have not seen it yet… (PHOTO)

Andrés di Tella: Private Fiction: Argentina is close to my heart, I have had many fine moments with Andrés, and have enjoyed his original truly authored films, veeery curious about this new one, indeed!

Chris Marker: La Jetée (1962) & Pia Andell: V in Vyborg (2005): Two films picked by Patricio Guzman in his Top 10. The one of Marker is a classic that I can see again and again, the one of Andell I have heard about and now is the chance to see it…

For that and for all films mentioned, go to www.idfa.nl to find more. An Amazing program it is.


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Zelig Film School Film Festival

Written 10-11-2019 11:10:15 by Tue Steen Mller

Zelig Film School Film Festival

10 films were screened Friday and Saturday, November 8 and 9, at the Capitol cinema in Bolzano. The graduation films of the students, who had been studying at the Zelig School for Documentaries, Television and New Media. For three years, 2016-2019 with three lines: Direction, Camera and Editing.

The atmosphere was festive. Fellow students, friends, family and in some cases protagonists were there to celebrate – and there were Q&A sessions after each film. And diplomas and a rose were distributed to the now former students.

Contrary to (some) other film schools the films coming out of the Zelig are not made according to a pre-given format or theme; there is freedom for the students to find their own theme and style, of course under the supervision of filmmakers from the professional world, they are now to enter.

Themes – a quote from the Zelig invitation to the fest:

„From the snowy Scandinavian landscapes of the North of Europe to the heart of our Mother Earth in Central Africa; from the remote islands off the coast of Scotland to the Azores in the Atlantic, and – closer to us – in the Italian province and in the rest of Europe as well...“

Yes, the students have travelled and put all their energy into making creative documentaries. The overall quality is impressive and several of the films have already been to festivals, and even won awards. Like the one on the photo, „Theodor“, did at Festival dei Popoli.

Information about the 10 films can be found on, watch out for them, festival programmers:

https://film.zeligfilm.it/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig Makes a Summing Up

Written 07-11-2019 13:36:27 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Makes a Summing Up

... which by all means is positive. 48.000 spectators, many full houses as I heard and saw for myself, good atmosphere. In the newsletter the press department asks ”How have the media experienced DOK Leipzig?” and below they highlight the presence of Cineuropa, fine enough. As the press department apparently does not know that www.filmkommentaren.dk was present, I list what has been written from my side:

Reviews of

Space Dogs - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4651/

The Royal Train – http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4650/

Exemplary Behaviour – http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4648/

Reports about

Quay Brothers –

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4653/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4632/

The festival program/and the retrospective http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4643/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4636/

And here comes what the press department writes:

Vladan Petkovic was here this year, not only as a panellist, but also as the author of a number of reviews of our films for our media partner Cineuropa. Read more about THE FORUMNEVER WHISTLE ALONEand IT TAKES A FAMILY. Additionally, Cineuropa ran an interview with our festival director, Leena Pasanen.

Describing the film EXEMPLARY BEHAVIOUR, which received the Golden Dove in the International Competition Long Documentary, Petkovic wrote for Cineuropa: “It is a work of extraordinary poetics and aesthetics, and has numerous ambiguous layers that are impossible to penetrate with sheer common sense, requiring the viewer to let go and give in to the more oneiric side.”

Modern Times Review also saw and reviewed a lot of our films, including FAMILY RELATIONS and DEEP WATERS, and conducted an interview with the guest of our Homage, Tan Pin Pin.

Screen Daily picked up on the award-winning film EXEMPLARY BEHAVIOUR, and the International Documentary Association’s (IDA) Documentary Magazine ran an article about our programme DOK im Knast just in time for the festival.

https://www.dok-leipzig.de/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Quay Brothers at DOK Leipzig

Written 04-11-2019 18:48:59 by Tue Steen Mller

Quay Brothers at DOK Leipzig

It started at 7pm and ended at 10.30pm with half an hour break. 90 minutes talk with Stephen and Timothy Quay followed by the screening of their live action film (105 minutes) ”Institute Benjamenta”. (PHOTO)

It was an entertaining night with the two famous world artists – only 50 people came! You can do better than that Dok Leipzig! Was it because you



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DOK Leipzig - History

Written 04-11-2019 11:46:45 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig - History

With History two meanings, both of them personal related to film and film people. The first one came to me just after arriving to the Festival Centre Thursday late afternoon. I was waiting at the bar to be served and so was a man next to me. ”I think we have met before”, I said to him, ”mehrmals” he said, ”on Bornholm”, I asked, ”yes, I was there” said Jochen Wisotzki, with the film ”Komm in den Garten” that I made with Heinz Brinkmann… It must have been in 1991 that it was shown at the Balticum Film & TV Festival, and I still remember the film about three friends, ”artists in life”, outsiders in GDR. The film received the Silverne Taube in 1990. Later it came to my mind that Wisotzki was the one who invited Andreas Steinmann and me to a film gathering in Rügen. Or was it Eduard Schreiber?

I did not meet Wisotzki again during the few days in Leipzig. But I had a good talk with Heribert Schneiders, former MDR commissioner and always good in panels at pitch sessions. He was not – of course - happy with the political situation in the three Länder, where the Afd (Alternative für Deutschland) is having 25% support from the voters. ”Are they fascists”, I asked him, ”Yes, the party leaders say things that you can’t believe is true…”. His ”old” party, SPD, is doing bad, so now he goes for ”die Grüne” as many others, I guess.

Good friend, who by the way was at the above mentioned festival on Bornholm in the 90’es, when he was making films, Claas Danielsen, had the same opinion as Schneiders, yes the Afd includes people with fascist points of view.

Opposite the hotel where we were staying is the mural of optimism with slogans like ”Freiheit”, ”Wir sind das Volk”. No optimism these days… nach der Wende.

http://member.agdok.de/de_DE/members_detail/8314/vita


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Elsa Kremser & Levin Peter: Space Dogs

Written 04-11-2019 10:56:06 by Tue Steen Mller

Elsa Kremser & Levin Peter: Space Dogs

„Das ist Laika. Am 3. November 1957 wurde die sowjetische Straßenhündin in einem Sputnik in die Erdumlaufbahn geschossen und war damit das erste Lebewesen im Weltall. Überlebt hat sie diese Mission nicht. Doch es gibt die Legende, dass sie als Geist auf die Erde zurückgekehrt ist und seitdem durch die Straßen Moskaus streift.“

Yes, that is what the two filmmakers do: follow stray dogs, Laika is maybe one of them, in Moscow, their drifting around, their barking, their showing teeth and aggression towards each other, their acting with brutality but also with care and love... Lebewesen in a metropole behaving like us human beings?

The film is constructed masterly in sound and image and editing; I read that the filmmakers are born in 1985. They demonstrate an amazing maturity, mixing the following of the stray dogs with Soviet science archive material of the preparation of dogs for space trips as well as (touching) footage of the dogs (those who survive) coming back. Colour and black&white images in a film, which is not really fun to look at: what we do with the animals in the name of science, and what they do to each other, the dogs in the constant „survival of the fittest“ game. But as a tense film essay, remarkable! Indeed also because of the narration, a fine factual(!) fairytale-like text in Russian, matching images and sound perfectly.

Watch out for that Dogumentary!

Photo of Laika.

https://www.raumzeitfilm.com/film/en-spacedogs

Austria, Germany, 2019, 91 mins.


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Johannes Holzhausen: The Royal Train

Written 04-11-2019 09:38:41 by Tue Steen Mller

Johannes Holzhausen: The Royal Train

The daughter of King Michael 1 of Romania (who died in 2017), Princess Margareta, and her husband Radu, travel in the train of her father to meet the people and have them remember him and the good old monarchy that came to an end in 1947, when the communists took over. The train stops at small stations, where the local authorities are nervously preparing the royal welcome. Red carpet and all that. And the royal staff prepares equally how to arrive, a scenario is needed.

That’s the red thread of a film, that with humour and warmth takes the viewer to the venues of the couple in Bucharest introducing the staff that helps them to keep the memories of the monarchy and the King alive. The most important person in that respect is for me the young man, Adrian, who searches for documents and artefacts of interest for the Princess. He is a passionate monarchist searching/ hoping for the return to old times – you are a Don Quichote, an old lady says to him, if you need a Sancho Panza, I am there for you - he is the one, who visits the old ladies, who remember the King and the royalty with big love.

In scenes like that the director manages – with his flair for creative storytelling - to balance all the wonderful absurd scenes of royal protocol, like how to approach the Princess in a correct way. Three steps backwards, when you have got your diploma and then you can turn around… like if it had been the Danish queen. It’s still very much alive and popular. What is most interesting in this film is, when the old royalists remember the time, where they were not allowed to celebrate the monarchy during the time of Ceaușescu.

Austria, Germany, 2019, 90 mins.


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Mickevičius & Milerius: Exemplary Behaviour

Written 02-11-2019 22:56:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Mickevičius & Milerius: Exemplary Behaviour

I knew Audrius Mickevičius from several meetings in his wonderful Vilnius. As I remember it, he lived in the ”freetown” of the Lithuanian capital, Uzupis. He made in 2006 the film ”Man – Horse” that he pitched at Baltic Sea Forum with the most radical teaser I remember to have seen. And I knew very well this film project ”Exemplary Behaviour” from my time as a reader for Eurimages, where the detailed script written by Audrius Mickevičius and Nerijus Milerius was submitted and given funding because of its professional cinematic presentation, the fascinating approach to the subject and the multi-layered narration.

Yes, I write about Audrius Mickevičius in the past tense. He died in 2017 and



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Ji.hlava IDFF 2019 Conclusions

Written 30-10-2019 15:51:02 by Tue Steen Mller

Ji.hlava IDFF 2019 Conclusions

The 23rd edition of the annual Ji.hlava IDFF closed its doors yesterday. The festival programme showcased 277 films in nine screening halls, hosting almost two hundred discussion sessions. The overall attendance again exceeded 40,000 visitors; with 5,330 accredited visitors and guests.

“I am very proud of our quality festival programme, unveiling especially the face of the up-and-coming filmmaking generation raising new topics and techniques in the context of filmmaking. It is enriching to see this concentration of creative diversity at a single place. Our aim was to have this year’s Ji.hlava IDFF reflect the world around, provoke us to become active and open up a space for a dialogue. And we are pleased to see it happen”, says Festival Director Marek Hovorka.



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Awards at Ji.hlava Documentary FF

Written 28-10-2019 23:38:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Awards at Ji.hlava Documentary FF

Below a link to the awards that were given at the 23rd edition of the festival in Ji.hlava. There were many. I take the liberty to mention only a handful of them, films that I know about:

● Best Czech Documentary Film 2019:

Solo (Artemio Benki, Czech Republic, France, Argentina, Austria, 2019)PHOTO

Jury statement:

We appreciate the lightness, nonviolence and concentration used by the author to portray a strong human story of a suffering person and to get as close as possible without disturbing formal effects and pathos.

The winner will receive an award of 10,000 EUR

A brilliant film, read http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4542/

● Best Central and East European Documentary Film 2019:

TEACH (Alex Brendea, Romania, 2019)

Jury statement:

This is an essential film that needs to be seen around the world. A math teacher working on the fringes of a failing educational system becomes a transformative mentor for a group of young students. Through his dedicated tuition, these young people discover the most important lesson in life: you must fall "tragically in love with what you do". For its celebration of the unconventional, for its embrace of messiness, imagination and passion in teaching Between the Seas award goes to TEACH.

The winner will receive an award of 10,000 EUR

I met the film-to-be in Romania 4 years ago, when it was a project, at the One World Romania workshop. Here is what I wrote: „...The pitching ended with an award ceremony, where Ana Alexieva (co-tutor) went to the stage to invite Alex Brendea to take part in the Rough Cut Boutique at the Sarajevo Film Festival, where he can have his rough material evalutated. His ”Teach” about a charismatic, energetic excentric teacher of mathematics, who lives alone with cats and dogs, and does his teaching at this his home is very promising and the choice was very well received by colleagues at the ”Cooking a Doc”.“ Love that film that was also awarded at the Astra Film Festival recently.

CONTRIBUTION TO WORLD CINEMA AWARD

● Sergey Dvortsevoy

● Silver Eye Award feature length category:

Transnistra (Anna Eborn, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, 2019)

Jury statement:

Beautifully shot on 16mm, this is a powerful film that captures an in-between moment, at the end of adolescence, a play of youth and light located in a rural place, in an unrecognized country. A very loving view on a dynamic group focused around an unusual and unforgettable female character.

I agree, read http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4475/

● Special mention:

The Wind. A Documentary Thriller (Michal Bielawski, Poland, Slovakia, 2019)

Jury statement:

Through mystical images and enigmatic protagonists the filmmaker suggests an extreme connection between human faith and fortune, nature and the weather. Often Lynchian, the director's filmmaking achieves a true thriller as the title suggests.

Again I agree, read

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4555/

https://www.ji-hlava.com/novinky/23-ji-hlava-udelena-oceneni


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ArtDoc Fest Winners + One More

Written 27-10-2019 20:48:13 by Tue Steen Mller

ArtDoc Fest Winners + One More

Awards were given in Riga last night for the International FF and for the ArtDoc Fest. I mention the awards in the latter, which, as the name says, include documentaries plus a special mention to a documentary in the Feature Film Competition of the intl. festival, see below. Several have been reviewed/reported upon on this site, links are given:

Grand Prix
Immortal, dir. Ksenia Okhapkina (Photo)
http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4572/

Best Director
Maxim Shved, Pure Art

Jury award
School of Seduction, dir. Alina Rudnitskaya

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4485/

Special mention
Daymohk, dir. Masha Novikova

Special mention
State Funeral, dir. Sergei Loznitsa

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4642/

Special Mention in Feature Film Competition of the festival:

Animus Animalis (A story about people, animals and things), dir. Aistė egulytė

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4476/

https://rigaiff.lv/2019/lv/


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DOK Leipzig Starts Monday

Written 26-10-2019 17:04:03 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Starts Monday

… and will continue untill the 3rd of November. With films, many excellent industry activities, film talks here there and everywhere. The ticket counters are open, I am sure there will be full houses for many films and there will be a great atmosphere at the festival centre in the Museum of Fine Arts – the impressive Museum der bildenden Künste that hosts the film market and discussions and receptions BUT also has interesting exhibitions, right now „Point of No Return... Transformation and Revolution in East German Art“. I will for sure watch that – and films from thursday the 31st, where I will be at the festival. Press releases are coming from Leipzig these days. I have edited/shortened and copy-pasted some of them:



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Loznitsa opened the Astra Film Festival

Written 25-10-2019 10:53:33 by Tue Steen Mller

Loznitsa opened the Astra Film Festival

The fine Astra Film Festival in Sibiu in Romania placed Sergey Loznitsa’s “State Funeral” as the opening film. The Head of Programming Csilla Kató explains why in an interview with Cineuropa, below a link to the whole interview, made by  Stefan Dobroiu.

Cineuropa: The 26th edition of the Astra Film Festival has ended. What would you consider to be the strong points of this edition?
Csilla Kató:
 For example, the fact that we selected as our opening film Sergey Loznitsa’s State Funeral [+]. In my opinion, it is a sign of maturity, as at every festival, the opening film is chosen with great care – it is, after all, a statement about the festival’s spirit and agenda. A movie with a running time of 135 minutes, made entirely from archive footage, in which the soundtrack is the only intervention by the director, proved to be the right choice for us. In State Funeral, Loznitsa plays with both the conventions of cinema and the expectations of the audience: the audience is allowed to get lost among archive-footage sequences and is also left to interpret what they see according to their own background and personal perspective. This example of documentary cinema could not have been imagined by any screenwriter and would have been impossible to make within the conventions of fiction cinema. And the film worked well for the audience gathered to attend the opening of this edition.

https://cineuropa.org/en/index/


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IDFA Announces Competition Selection

Written 24-10-2019 12:50:07 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Announces Competition Selection

I missed the live streaming of the IDFA press conference yesterday afternoon, where artistic director Orwa Nyrabia was on stage to tell the documentary community, which films he and his programmers had chosen. But the website says it all – also that ”64% of the competition titles are by female filmmakers, with 47% in the total program”.

Having mentioned this important point for festivals around the world, let’s go to the films. I will surf a bit on the lists of selection, where it is obvious that Nyrabia’s ambition of also showing films that are not from the US or from the UK, is fulfilled:



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DOC NYC

Written 22-10-2019 17:02:56 by Tue Steen Mller

DOC NYC

I was happy with the many positive reactions on Russian director Alina Rudnitskay, who was the one I praised in the post yesterday. Danish producer Sigrid Dyekjær told me that Rudnitskaya’s fine ”School of Seduction” was to be screened at DOC NYC, the festival in New York that runs November 6-15 (and at DocPoint in Helsinki January 2020). My knowledge of the New York festival is almost zero so I asked Dyekjær, who recommended it, and made me check the website:



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DOK Leipzig Retrospective BRDDR

Written 12-10-2019 16:15:54 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Retrospective BRDDR

There are films by Andrew Thorndike, Harun Farocki, Heynowski/Scheumann, Eduard Schreiber, Alexander Kluge, Thomas Heise, Thomas Harlan… among others.

The focus of the 10 programme retrospective is explained in this fine text from the festival:

“There’s nothing still standing and no one still alive”. The roof of Hitler’s bunker is detonated in August 1988. There’s no longer even a single stone in front of the Theatre of the Jewish Cultural Association either. Eduard Schreiber’s TRACES (1989) explores what remains of the Second World War, but first and foremost what no longer does.

With this year’s Retrospective, DOK Leipzig turns its attention to the four



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Jrgen Leth

Written 08-10-2019 12:54:09 by Tue Steen Mller

Jrgen Leth

The shortest but most eye-catching and heart-warming paragraph in a press release that came in some minutes ago goes like this:

”Lifetime Achievement Award: Jørgen Leth
From his influential short film The Perfect Human (1967) through to today, Jørgen Leth inspired generations of filmmakers with his strong auteur voice and fearless perspective on reality. Based in Denmark and Haiti, Leth was never hampered by concerns of veracity and fact. In celebration of his extraordinary filmmaking, IDFA is delighted to award the 83-year-old director with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the festival.”

And if you want to read (more) about Jørgen Leth, click here:

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2198/

articles in Danish (use google translate, works ok) and English


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DOK Leipzig: The Brothers Quay

Written 08-10-2019 12:24:23 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig: The Brothers Quay

Bravo DOK Leipzig! Having a special program with The Brothers Quay is a scoop. They come to the festival, they meet the audience to talk about their work and they have made three trailers for the festival, click below and you can watch them. Fascinating pieces of art they are. 30 seconds each, entitled CYCLOPS, MATHS and ZAMECZNIK, the latter must be a reference to the Polish artist with the first name Wojciech.

I am old enough to have seen the films of the Brothers on several occasions – when I was selecting films for the Odense Film Festival together with documentary director Jørgen Roos and journalist Mogens Damgaard Rasmussen, at the festival in Clermont Ferrand and when Cinemateket in Copenhagen 10 years ago had a retrospective of their works. On that occasion we wrote an article, that introduces the Brothers, link below. Here is a quote:   

Stephen and Timothy Quay, born in 1947 (good year to be born in…), ”Influenced by a tradition of Eastern European animation, the Quays display a passion for detail, a breathtaking command of color and texture, and an uncanny use of focus and camera movement that make their films unique and instantly recognizable…”

“During the Brothers Quay Night*footnotes event on 01 November at the Schaubühne Lindenfels, the artists will provide personal insights into their work. I will be there!”

Apart from the program of this night, the Brothers have selected 8 of their films and curated a special program of films, where you find films by Matthias Müller, Vera Chytilova, another great animation artist Polish Jerzy Kucia – and, surprise, Swedish Arne Sucksdorff’s 18 minutes long masterpiece (also from 1947) “Människor i Stad” (“Rhythm of a City”).

https://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/festival/festival-news/view/festival-trailers-2019

https://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/festival/sonderreihen/brothers-quay/brothers-quay

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/871/


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Patricio Guzmn on Arvo Prt

Written 04-10-2019 16:14:58 by Tue Steen Mller

Patricio Guzmn on Arvo Prt

IDFA has chosen Chilean director Patricio Guzmán as Guest of Honor. His films will be shown and he has been asked to make his Top Ten. At the link below you will find all 10 choices. To our pleasant choice he has chosen ”Arvo Pärt: 24 Preludes for a Fugue” that is a wonderful visit to the world of the world famous composer. Made by Dorian Supin in 2002, an Estonian as well, who is close to Pärt about whom many other documentaries have been made, in general superficial ”homages”. Guzmán writes this about Pärt:  

”This is one of many films that show the complex process of “artistic creation.” It’s a topic I often deal with in my film classes, because everyone wants to know the “secrets” of creation in general. And anyone who sees this documentary is fascinated. Arvo Pärt is a portrait of a mysterious man, who has the eyes and beard of a 12th-century prophet. The film follows Pärt over several years, during a particularly productive period of his life. He’s filmed while composing or practicing with the orchestra, and during various concerts, workshops and meetings. The director Dorian Supin has constructed the film in chapters that list the different nuances of the composer. He thus explores Pärt’s musical thoughts and inner world, and the way he conceives his music, trying to discover the secret of what makes it so captivating. Pärt was born in Estonia in 1935 but lives in Berlin. He has always sought to compose music steeped in a spirituality that seems to go back to the Middle Ages, without regard to contemporary trends. He has built a universe of sound outside of the present era. The film contains excerpts from masterpieces such as Tabula Rasa, Passio, Fratres, Orient et Occident, Cecilia, vergine romana and Como anhela la cierva.”

More Arvo Pärt is to be found in the film by Andy Sommer, Adams Passion, about the performance made by Robert Wilson and Arvo Pärt and  Günther Atteln’s The Lost Paradise, on the creation of this work. Colleague Allan Berg watched the films in 2016 and wrote three knowledgeable and enthusiastic blogposts in Danish. NB: Google Translate works fine from Danish to English.

Links to Guzmán’s Top Ten, to ”Adams Passion” and ”The Lost Paradise” and to the three texts by Allan Berg:   

https://www.idfa.nl/en/article/118859/my-selection-of-ten-films

http://www.adamspassion.de/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3495/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3504/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3508/


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IDFA: The Inheritance of War/ Thomas Heise

Written 02-10-2019 19:42:51 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA: The Inheritance of War/ Thomas Heise

News from Amsterdam: A focus program at IDFA is called “It Still Hurts”. It ”presents a selection of 17 films from the last 35 years that cinematically explore the psycho-social-economic-political fallout of two world wars in particular, and the more concentrated (and clandestine) ones occurring on every continent.”

A quote from the always brilliant Pamela Cohn, who has written about the program, that is put together by IDFA’s artistic director Orwa Nyrabia. Later I will write about the program and its films. The reason for now is that Cohn writes such a precise description of one of Thomas Heise’s many cinematic solutions:

”In Thomas Heise’s brilliant, monolithic film Heimat Is a Space in Time (2019), trains are the leitmotif throughout the fractured biography of Heise’s own Jewish intellectual heritage, starting with the expulsion of family members from Vienna in the late 1930s. Heise films train after train moving back and forth across the landscapes of his memories, the machines that moved millions of soldiers and prisoners to their deaths. Eventually, they morph into conveyances for modern industry, as trainloads of new automobiles take the place of human cargo, running on the very same tracks, the very same routes, relentlessly observing strict timetables of delivery and receipt…”

Two links below, one for the series and one for Cohn’s article, read it !

https://www.idfa.nl/en/selection/118587/focus-it-still-hurts

https://www.idfa.nl/en/search?page=1&type=all&q=pamela%20cohn%20inheritance


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Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 2

Written 24-09-2019 15:44:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 2

I met Kim Christiansen  from DR TV Sales before the Forum started its second day at Amiralen in Malmö. I asked him which film was his best sell recently. To my pleasant surprise he said ”Cold Case Hammarskjöld” by Mads Brügger, a film with a non-mainstream storytelling, controversial also in subject, indeed a very good film, that Christiansen has sold to both broadcast and theatrical release. Brügger is a documentary director, who is mixing journalism and cinema and who likes to play with the medium.

Christoffer Guldbrandsen was the excellent journalist behind the first project



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Ellen Fiske & Ellinor Hallin: Scheme Birds

Written 23-09-2019 22:38:45 by Tue Steen Mller

Ellen Fiske & Ellinor Hallin: Scheme Birds

Just came back from a screening of a wonderful film about Gemma from Motherwell in Scotland – and her friends and family who happen to live in a place, where ”there is nothing”; well once there was a steel industry but when that was closed during Thatcher nothing came instead and the young ones grow up without work in terrible skyscrapers that will be taken down. In these surroundings drug and alcohol abuse florish.

It is a sad and heartbreaking social story with Gemma as the one, who survives all the obstacles as the young mother of Liam, whose father does not see his child; well he did in the beginning but then he dropped out and Gemma kicked him out. Pat is the name of the father of Liam, JP is their friend who is one day attacked seriously, taken to hospital, lies in coma, comes out having a head operation, paralysed and now 24/7 taken care of by his mother. And there is Amy, JP’s girl friend, who does not think he will ever survive the attack, so she meets another guy and gets pregnant…

Gemma… it is first of all a film about Gemma, the girl with fear in her eyes, fragile but also strong and dedicated. She observes and analyses her own situation, cuts links to her family or rather is cut out by her family, i.e. her ”papa”, grandfather, who runs a small boxing club and whose passion is pigeons. He sets them free, he holds pigeon beauty contests, he is a warm and caring person. The one Gemma can lean on.

A social documentary made with warmth and no finger-pointing, skillfully told, totally emotional, had to take away tears from my eyes many times during the film. Ken Loach would have chosen fiction to tell this story, the Swedish female directors let reality write the dramatic and moving script.

Sweden, 2019, 90 mins.

https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/festival/festival-2019/docs-in-competition-2019/


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Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 1

Written 23-09-2019 21:30:45 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 1

”Karaoke is the best thing that has happened to Finland” was the point made in the humorous pitch that was the last one of this first pitching day at the Nordisk Panorama Forum in Malmö. The presentation had the show element that you are longing listening to 12 projects being pitched. You can’t avoid that some of the 15 minutes presentations become a bit boring and full of klichés, so the Finnish team from Napafilms (Marianne Mäkelä and Einari Paakkanen) gave the day a good ending with ”Mother Karaoke” about a handful of characters, who sing for different reasons. The team entered the room singing, “Stand by Me” of course, that dramaturgical take of the day was perfect.

It was the 26th edition of the Nordisk Forum in Malmö (the festival celebrates



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Nordisk Panorama: dok.incubator

Written 22-09-2019 17:26:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama: dok.incubator

Full house at 9.30 in the morning at Panora Cinema in Malmö. As in previous years dok.incubator offered the audience of festival people, sales agents, broadcasters and fellow filmmakers « an exclusive showcase of eight outstanding documentary features just before their premiere” as it is written at the site of ”the institution”. Because this is what Czech Andrea Prenghyova and her team has made the dok.incubator. An institution… that with help of excellent editors and developers help films to be finished. She proudly told the audience about what films participating in previous editions have achieved in terms of distribution all over the world. Amazing it is and no doubt that a film that has been at dok.incubator has good chances to get into IDFA to mention an example of a festival every young and new filmmaker wants to be at.

That does not mean that all was appreciated by this blogger. Andrea Prenghyova, with whom I worked for many years within the Ex Oriente



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Nordisk Panorama Sunday and a Look Back

Written 22-09-2019 08:14:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama Sunday and a Look Back

Checked in at Scandic Hotel last night, 16th floor, amazing look at Malmö, which is not the case this morning, where fog is covering the view. Today I am going to the DocIncubator presentation as usual. Always interesting to see what is coming up and there might be films that fit in the Magnificent7 or DocsBarcelona, the two festivals where I am part of the programming. And later – see post below – at the hotel there will be the archive one-hour seminar “Getting Creative with Archive”, with the two Finnish filmmakers Laura Horelli (Newstime) and Arthur Franck (The Hypnotist), accompanied by Swedish editor Hanna Lejonquist (I Called Him Morgan) and me as moderator. Join the discussion!

Nordisk Panorama (NP) celebrates its 30th anniversary! I am not sure how many of them I have attended but looking at the list of winners, brings good memories. Among the many awarded in 1990, the first edition, were the animated masterpiece by (late) Lejf Marcussen “The Public Voice”, built on a painting by Belgian surrealist Paul Delvaux – it was produced by DR (Danmarks Radio), Marcussen was employed and the broadcaster gave him time and salary to make this film. Later on, in the process of cutting down in finances that still goes on in DR, he was sacked. “Too expensive to have this luxury” were the words not expressed.

If you go to https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/festival/news/winners/ you will find the list of winners and if I continue the nostalgic look on 1990 there is also documentaries like Ulla Boje Rasmussen’s „1700 Metres from the Future” from the Faroese Islands and Sigve Endresen’s „For Your Life” about drug abuse, both of high quality. The two shared the main award.

NP gives you the chance to look back, go to festival centre and pick your VHS-cassette at the Nordisk Panorama Time Machine. Great idea, I will check it out.

https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/festival/programme-2019/

The festival started a couple of days ago, „my” festival starts today.  


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Elita Klavina: Zoryana Horobraya

Written 20-09-2019 16:10:38 by Tue Steen Mller

Elita Klavina: Zoryana Horobraya

When in Riga for the Baltic Sea Docs, producer Antra Gaile told me about a film that she and Liga Gaisa joined as co-producers, directed by actress Elita Klavina, whose diploma work from the Latvian film school it is. I received a link as I could not attend the Message2Man Festival in Saint Petersburg, where the film had its world premiere this week:

It is a fine piece of observational documentary. Through several seasons the director has returned to the house in the countryside, where Zoryana Horobraya lives with her husband, a boy, and later one more little boy, and her mother, who is the one, who built the house and set up a small paradise for herself and her family, the right place for children to grow up, close to nature with huge acres as their playground. But it is far away from the city and to bring up a family you need money, and money you earn in the city… A classic conflict, city-countryside, becomes in the film, where you are very close to the family, precisely a conflict in the family. Granny is not happy that the family - her daughter-the husband-the two small kids – moves to Riga.

You get very close to the family. The camera catches all the details of the house and the naked kids running around among cats and dogs and goats. The grandmother talks with passion about the freedom she enjoys away from the crowded, stressed city-life, she is proud of her place, and afraid, without saying so, to be left alone, actually quite bitter when they leave.

Here is the catalogue description from the festival M2M, that ends tomorrow : “Young Zoryana lives in the countryside with her husband Edgars and her mother. She does the housework, plays the piano, raises a child and works at a computer. This idyll has to end, though: the family wants to move to Riga, where her husband works at a fast food joint and urban conditions allow raising children “like everyone else.” Zoryana’s Russian mother dissuades her from living “in cages.” Zoryana is torn between the wishes of her husband and her mother…”.

The Russian festival also notes that the film unfolds the cultural differences, where the granny represents Russia and the daughter and her family the Latvia of today. Could be, but I don’t see that, I see a universal theme popping up.

Latvia, 2019, 61 mins.


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NP Talk: Two Finnish Directors and an Editor

Written 19-09-2019 12:01:43 by Tue Steen Mller

 NP Talk: Two Finnish Directors and an Editor

… invite you to the fascinating world of creative archive documentaries. Clips from their films will be shown, comments will be given and questions asked. I will be the moderator, looking forward to that, as I have been very much occupied by this sub-genre that flourishes thanks to many – Sergey Loznitsa and Asif Kapadia are two directors, who have recently demonstrated their creative skills with “State Funeral” and “Diego Maradona”. Those days are gone, where archive was “only” used to illustrate the words of a (most often) historical tv documentary.  

I have seen the two Finnish documentaries, which have been selected for the Nordisk Panorama competition programme, exactly for their surprising way of using archive to have the directors say something about a time and/or a phenomenon. Are there any limits, are there ethical questions to be raised… how was the process, the research, the editing. I am happy to have Swedish editor Hanna Lejonqvist to help put a perspective on the discussion – she worked on award-winning film as “Palme”, “The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975” and “I Called him Morgan”. From the latter, directed by Kasper Collin, a clip will be shown.

Here is the festival’s introduction to the talk:

 ”Using archival footage to create a story is no easy feat. Archival material reflects the perspective of the era in which it was shot, which can present storytelling challenges.

The directors Laura Horelli (Newstime) and Arthur Franck (The Hypnotist) created their films solely from archival material. Both films are in competition for the Best Nordic Documentary Award at this year’s festival. They will be in discussion with award-winning editor Hanna Lejonqvist (I Called Him Morgan, The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, Palme).”

”Getting Creative With Archive” takes place at Scandic Triangeln, the hotel, 3 minutes walk from the metro station.

Sunday September 22 at 15.00 – 16.00.

Everyone is welcome.

More about the films you can find on

https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/festival/festival-2019/docs-in-competition-2019/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Boris Benjamin Bertram: Krigsfotografen

Written 14-09-2019 13:39:27 by Tue Steen Mller

Boris Benjamin Bertram: Krigsfotografen

Jan Grarup er en fabelagtig fotograf. En billedkunstner som har rejst til verdens brændpunkter og er kommet hjem med billeder, som er både informative og fortolkende. Det er billeder, der huskes fra avisen, fra hans fotobøger og fra udstillinger som den jeg så i Riga for nogle år siden. Billeder der kan tåle at blive sat op i størrelse.

Og billeder der kan tåle at blive gengivet på film som her i Boris Bertrams imponerende og imponerede dokumentarfilm, hvor han har fulgt sin helt Grarup på job i Mosul i Irak og andre steder med død og ødelæggelse. Grarup i løb væk fra eventuelle snigskytter, Grarup på hug ved et gadehjørne i skudsikker vest og hjelm med op til flere kameraer om halsen, Grarup der tager sig en lille lur i en ruin mens bomberne drøner udenfor – ”ingoing or outgoing bombs”, seeren bliver klogere på sproget hvor krigen raser – Grarup der tager billeder af lig… Når hans billeder gengives i filmen, bliver de stående så man får tid til at orientere sig i dem. Tak for det. De er i det hele taget elegant klippet ind i de krigsscener, som fotografen Henrik Bohn Ipsen har filmet. Jeg skriver Ipsen for det er ham, som Grarup henvender sig til et par gange i filmen, når de er ude i helvede på jord. Der er flere fotografer.

Og alligevel er det historien om familiefaren og de fire børn, der stjæler billedet. Grarups tre børn flytter ind hos ham, da moren får en hjernetumor og er skidesyg, som Grarup siger det. En ny rolle som er beskrevet med megen omsorg og gennem små anekdotiske forløb (Grarup vasker en hvid jakke lyserød, far beder teenagepigen om at komme hjem i ordentlig tid, far laver lagkage, spiser med knægten mens de ser fodbold, ”de har fået for lidt…”, kartoflerne eller kødet osv. osv.)

Elias hedder han, knægten, som er til fodbold i Parken med far. Han rejser sig, går væk fra sin plads, forlader fodboldkampen, klip til et foto af drengen og hans syge mor, klip til Elias der flyder i en swimmingpool… klip til Grarup, der sætter ord på, hvordan familien prøver at komme over sorgen. Og så begravelsen. Den sekvens, de øjeblikke er de smukkeste i filmen, gribende fordi de er nænsomt filmisk sat sammen.

Og hvordan kommer man så videre i filmen, hvordan løser man op for den knugende sorg-stemning? Bertram lader Grarup og den ældste datter Olivia være sammen med kameraer ude ved en grusgrav – ”det skal squ da ikke være to tosser, der står og fotograferer hinanden”, siger hun. Et godt valg.

Det er også Olivia, der skal til eksamen i fotografi og billedkunst, og far er med i den første men ikke i billedkunst… ”Er jeg ikke…”, siger han, fortørnet eller overrasket, ”det var satans”.

Det er en rig film og den holder en intens atmosfære hele vejen. Fordi den er så godt lavet, helt ned i detaljen og jeg skal ikke glemme musikken, der spiller godt med på det rette tidspunkter, komponeret af Tobias Wilner.

Grarup… en tatoveret gadedreng, en gudsbenådet fotograf, en kærlig far, en hård negl, en dokumentarkunstner… i en, for at bruge fotografens egne ord, vildt fed film!

Danmark, 2019, 78 mins.

I biografer over hele landet fra den 19. september

International premiere: Nordisk Panorama, Malmø, den 20. september


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Pitching Some Thoughts After Baltic Sea Docs

Written 09-09-2019 17:03:23 by Tue Steen Mller

Pitching Some Thoughts After Baltic Sea Docs

Pitching … has come to stay. Many say that there are too many pitching sessions. And there are many! There should be less is a sentence ofte heard. But more and more are organised. Also on a national basis, where film funds and institutes invite filmmakers to present their ideas in a public forum. Before decisions on funding are being made.

I write this after the 23rd session of the Baltic Sea Docs... A succesful one, I think, I am biased as I am a proud part of a team and has been that from the beginning. Part of the furniture, some will say.

As one who has attended, I guess, almost a hundred of pitching sessions, I also sometimes feel a fatigue but always end up, like in Riga,  having a positive reaction: GOOD. When an old cat like me, who experienced the first big IDFA Forum in Amsterdam and have been responsible for the set up of sessions all over, during my time at the EDN and elsewhere: the moment when I see filmmakers express passion and ambition, I am hooked. They agree to try to present their project within the internationalised time standard of public pitching – 7 minutes for the presenter/the filmmaker(s) with the same time for the reactions from broadcasters, sales agents and distributors.

That’s how it was in Riga last friday and saturday with a panel of 19 men and women to respond, coming from quite different parts of the world. From Tokyo and Qatar, from Helsinki and London, from Vilnius and Amsterdam. Some of the people at the table had experience, some were there for the first time. Some were able to express their opinion within the limited time, ask questions, give advice – others had problems in doing so. That’s how it is.

Pitching: Of course it is absurd – how can you present a film project, that you have worked on for many months or even years, in 7 minutes! Therefore the pitches are normally followed by individual meetings, where more deep conversations can take place. And I think that everyone will agree, that no financing come up immediately after the pitch has been made. It is a dialogue that you start between the filmmakers and their eventual funders. Where you expect respect from both sides – the funders towards the filmmakers and  vice versa.

Except for one or two all 24 film projects, that were on stage in Riga at the Baltic Sea Docs, had attended a couple of days of discussion with colleagues and trainers to be ready to do their presentations. During these days trailers and teasers had been worked on. To follow the words from (in most cases) director and producer. For many of the projects from this Eastern European pitch session, the filmmakers had been at other workshops, for instance at the B2B (https://www.b2bdoc.se/news) or at festivals like Cinédoc (http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/) and DocuDays UA (http://docudays.ua/eng/). And several will for sure bring their "babies" to other events. It's about creating interest, finding partners, networking. The colleagual atmosphere at events like the one in Riga is wonderful to experience. Thank you filmmakers, broadcasters and sales agents for this approach.

http://balticseadocs.lv   


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs Pitching

Written 08-09-2019 09:04:09 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs Pitching

Yesterday where the news broke that Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov is free and back in Kiev, the pitching of the 23rd Baltic Sea Docs ended. The photo (taken by Latvian producer Guntis Trekteris) shows three smiling Ukrainian filmmakers around the time, where the information went viral; at lunch time when they had finished their succesful project presentation. From left the director Olga Zhurba of ”Roma” and one of her producers Darya Bassel and to the right the producer of ”Roses. Film Cabaret”, Oleksandra Kravchenko. Both film projects were met with applause by the panel and I am sure with contacts to broadcasters and sales agents that can further the development of the films.

I knew both film projects from March this year, where the „Ukrainian Doc Preview“ took place at the DocuDays in Kiev, http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4492/; Olga Zhurba did yesterday the most touching presentation of the two days of pitching talking



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Baltic Sea Docs 2019

Written 04-09-2019 18:28:59 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs 2019

Two days into the workshop and mini-festival in Riga - the 23rd edition of a forum that starts with preparation of 24 documentary projects for pitching Friday and Saturday with a parallel screening of films. September 1st the BSD opened in the cinema K-Suns with the film « The Greenaway Alphabet”, directed by his partner, artist Saskia Boddeke, and with his teenage daughter as the one who asks the 75 year old father questions, that, as the film goes forward, more and more deals with death. Greenaway is, as film critic and professor Viktors Freibergs said before the film, surprisingly frank and less self-centered than in his latest films, obviously because of the daughter, who knows how to « tackle » him...



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Tarkovsky on Tarkovsky

Written 02-09-2019 11:12:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Tarkovsky on Tarkovsky

The always up-to-date Cineuropa brought yesterday a review of «Andrey Tarkovsky. A Cinema Prayer, written by Marta Bałaga. Here is the intro, a quote, click below and read the whole review plus an interview with the director, the son:

Andrei A Tarkovsky, as in the son of a certain Andrey Tarkovsky, as in the son of a certain Arseny Alexandrovich Tarkovsky, as in I promise to stop now, arrived on the Lido with a curious little documentary this year. In "Andrey Tarkovsky. A Cinema Prayer" [+], shown in Venice Classics at the Venice Film Festival, he doesn’t do “talking heads”, nor does he invite an endless parade of experts and aficionados to talk about his father’s films. Instead, he just allows him to speak for himself, courtesy of hours and hours of recordings in which he analyses his own work. So thoroughly does he do this, that it would undoubtedly bring any college student to tears and numerous dissertations on the subject to an untimely, violent end…

https://cineuropa.org/en/film/376940/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Emil Langballe: Qs Barbershop Vollsmose Forever

Written 01-09-2019 14:29:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Emil Langballe: Qs Barbershop  Vollsmose Forever

I had only seen one of Emil Langballe’s previous films, his 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.

His film from Vollsmose – quote from Wikipedia – ”… Its (Vollmose’s) many social issues cause it to be officially classified as a ghetto by Danish authorities…” – is full of warmth and joy and humour in its description of the barbershop, where Somalian Qasim is the one, who meets kids and youngsters and grown-up’s from the Somalian community, who come to have the hair cut and to have a talk with the smiling, mild man, who gives advice on how to behave and also talks about – alas – how we Danes meet him with scepticism and prejudices. Many of that kind of stories are brought to the barbershop by his clients, who are met by him as if they belong to one big family.

It’s – like the one mentioned above – a well balanced film, you can’t help love Q for his human qualities, he is a role model as one of the clients say, who is far away from his roots – I would love to go back and live by the sea, he says. The Danish approach to ”the ghetto” is conveyed through the radio, that communicates that buildings in Vollsmose are to be taken down. But the director refrains from involving the film and its characters directly in that discussion, he gives no answers but raises indirectly questions to the ongoing discussion about the Danish immigration policy…

The film was recently shown on Danish television and is the opening film of Nordisk Panorama in Malmö mid September. A good choice!


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MakeDox Awards

Written 30-08-2019 21:32:38 by Tue Steen Mller

MakeDox Awards

At the 10th edition of the MakeDox festival in Skopje in North Macedonia the awards were given in a non-competitive festive atmosphere as you have been able to witness through the huge photo coverage the festival has given its FB friends, including me, who was at the festival a couple of years ago, and it IS like that: warm in temperature and hospitality, and focused on bringing the best of the best to the audience. That is from my point of view conveyed perfectly in the jury choices:



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Kaspars Goba: Inga Can Hear

Written 28-08-2019 17:31:30 by Tue Steen Mller

Kaspars Goba: Inga Can Hear

Jeg har kendt Kaspars Goba i mere end et årti. Måske før, måske mødte vi, da hans fremragende ”Seda. People of the Marsh ”(2004) kom ud. Senere havde jeg fornøjelsen at følge “Homo @ lv” fra 2015, hvor hans partner Ieva Goba var producent.

Fra hjemmesiden:… Kaspars Goba arbejdede på denne film i fem år. De omfattende optagelser, der er indsamlet gennem årene, giver tilskuerne mulighed for at få en ekstraordinær dyb indsigt i individers meninger og livshistorier på både 'Pride' og 'NoPride' fronterne. Den forbløffende afsløring af stolthed i Riga som vist i Kaspars Gobas arbejde, der startede fra starten i 2005 og frem til meddelelsen om, at Pride ikke blev afholdt i Riga i 2010, gør det muligt for seeren at overveje disse begivenheder fra et andet perspektiv. Det får en til at overveje den rolle, politikerne spiller i at manipulere folks idealer, og spørge: hvad er prisen for demokrati i Letland? ... Ikke "kun" en dokumentar, men lige så meget en dokumentation af et kontroversielt emne i det baltiske land.

Jeg mødte Ieva Goba i sidste uge i Sarajevo, og vi talte om det kommende

 



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European Film Academy Documentary Shortlist

Written 27-08-2019 11:51:24 by Tue Steen Mller

European Film Academy Documentary Shortlist

… was announced today with 12 candidates to compete for the final 5 seats, from where the winner of the Documentary Award will be chosen and published on December 7.

“Aquarela” (Viktor Kossakovsky) is there, “Honeyland” (Tamara Kotevska & Ljubomir Stefanov), “Putin’s Witnesses” (Vitaly Mansky), “Advocate” (Rachel Leah Jones, Philippe Bellaiche), “Push” (Fredrik Gertten), “The Disappearence of My Mother” (Beniamino Barrese) – all films that have been noted/reviewed on this site.

“Heimat is a Space in Time” by Thomas Heise and “For Sama” by Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts will be watched and reviewed in the near future – I have always been fond of Thomas Heise’s work, I am extremely curious to see his almost four hour long film, that have gained several awards already.

The ones I have never heard about are “Delphine and Carole” (Callisto Mc Nulty), ”M” (Yolande Zauberman), ”Scheme Birds” (Ellen Fiske, Ellinor Hallin) and “Selfie” (Agostino Ferrente).

https://europeanfilmawards.eu/en_EN/selection-documentation-current?fbclid=IwAR2zDaly00tgUb56pPJgkvtldvxL6WdH9l11fIyVzI-tHEqsV472bCWPCs0

Photo from “Advocate” - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4553/



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Message2Man Festival in Saint Petersburg

Written 26-08-2019 22:14:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Message2Man Festival in Saint Petersburg

By this time, end of August, I am always pleasantly bombarded on FB with Messages from the (sorry!) Message2Man festival (September 14-21) in Saint Petersburg, a festival that I have attended so many times, enjoying the city and the rich programme. This year it is the edition number 29 and the FB information bombardment is a daily professionally presented – title by title – presentation of the films in the International Competititon of full-length documentaries, the short documentaries, short fiction, short animation, the National Competition of documentary films and the unique „In Silico Experimental Short Film Competition“. Contrary to much other communication through Google Translate, or do the Russians use better translation tools?, maybe translators?, the English text that follows the Russian is ok and the Danish thereafter is understandable contrary to the google translate’s often nonsense translation.

The three curators of the programme, all people with a strong film knowledge, also of what happens outside the big country are Alexei Medvedev, Mikhail Zheleznikov and Eugenia Marchenko.

To mention some films I know from the Intl.section, again again „Honeyland“ by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, lovely „Los Reyes“ by Chilean directors Bettina Perut and Iván Osnovikoff and impressive Polish The Wind. A Documentary Thriller by Michał Bielawski.

… and two films in the National section, both of them I saw at IDFA in Amsterdam: „The Potato Eaters“ by Dina Barinova, a tough social document and „How Big Is the Galaxy?“ by director Ksenia Yelyan, a charming film on kids in Arctic Siberia. There are twelve films in this section, I count on friends at the festival to tell me if there are titles I should watch.

The President of the festival is director Alexei Uchitel, the founder is wonderful “Misha”, Mikhail Litvyakov, who of course is always at the festival, although not totally involved but enthusiastic and warm in his approach to cinema and people of cinema.

I have many fine memories from the festival, I will not be there this year but as before: Respect and good luck!

https://message2man.com/en/news/xxix-kinofestival-poslanie-k-cheloveku-objavil-konkursnuju-programmu/

Photo from one of the opening ceremonies of M2M at the Winter Palace!

 


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SFF Awards for Documentaries

Written 26-08-2019 15:33:10 by Tue Steen Mller

SFF Awards for Documentaries

A CopyPaste from the website of the Sarajevo Film Festival, click the titles of the winners and you will get the description/synopsis:

HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM

WHEN THE PERSIMMONS GREW / XURMALAR YETIŞƏN VAXT

Azerbaijan, Austria

Director: Hilal Baydarov

Award in the amount of 3,000 €, sponsored by Government of Switzerland.

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE

STACK OF MATERIAL / GOMILA MATERIJALA

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Director: Sajra Subašić

Financial award in the amount of 2,500 €.

HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD



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Top Docs to be Screened in Riga

Written 22-08-2019 19:40:54 by Tue Steen Mller

Top Docs to be Screened in Riga

Or you could say the best of the best of current international documentaries will be screened in the mini-festival that per tradition runs parallel to the Baltic Sea Docs development and pitching workshop.

8 films, Riga, Cinema K-Suns, from September 3-8.

The ones I have already seen and written above are Dutch master Heddy Honigmann’s ”Buddy” that for sure must appeal to dog lovers in the Latvian capital. Far from that in style is Danish journalist and documentarian Mads



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Sarajevo FF: True Stories

Written 20-08-2019 19:04:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF: True Stories

Here we are after the presentation of 4 stories that take its start in the past: From Left Nataša Damnjanovic (tutor and editor of visuals), Ishak Jalimam (organiser), me (tutor), the four storytellers Mirna Buljugic, Senija Jakupovic, Iva Radic and Aleksandar Zolja, Robert Zuber (tutor and moderator). Staša Bajac (tutor) and the mother of the Dealing with the Past project at the festival Maša Markovic were missing.

After… 90 minutes of emotionally strong stories presented in a full house Atrium in Hotel Europe: festival participants, filmmakers, who might be interested in picking up the stories and develop them into films.

For four days we were together talking about the stories and about how to



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Sarajevo FF: Pawlikowski and Documentaries

Written 19-08-2019 08:58:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF: Pawlikowski and Documentaries

It’s not every day that one Oscar-winner takes a photo of another Oscar-winner. It happened the other day, where my friend, photographer and filmmaker Georg Zeller sat behind Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman, The Revenant), who was in the first row in a totally packed Meeting Point cinema in Sarajevo, where the audience had enjoyed the four documentaries Pawel Pawlikowski made in the 1990’es: FROM MOSCOW TO PIETUSHKI: A JOURNEY WITH BENEDICT YEROFEYEV (1990), DOSTOEVSKY’S TRAVELS (1991), SERBIAN EPICS (1992) and TRIPPING WITH ZHIRINOVSKY (1995). I was the lucky one to be the moderator of the 40 minutes long Q&A in a room full of energy and interest. There was no fatigue even if the audience had been there for four hours watching the programme!

The four films were made for BBC, Pawlikowski praised the commissioning editor Nigel Williams, who gave him free hands to make the films within the strand “Bookmark” – so the films had to deal with literature one way or the other. The documentary about Benedict Yerofeyev, the first he made, is fabulous, I had never heard about the writer before - Pawlikowski had, sharing his novel with his father, a film made with no script, “I made these films by observing, filming (on 16mm), going to the editing room seeing what I was missing, and then back to filming”. For the two last films, the director had the renowned Polish cinematographer, Bogdan Dziworski, to help him.

Of course there were several questions to “Serbian Epics” that was, at that time, during the war, accused of being propaganda for Serbian nationalism, which people in the audience said they could not see today. On the question on how he felt filming Karadzic up in the mountains during the bombing of Sarajevo, the director answered that these were terrible moments in his life that he will never be able to forget.

“For you, what are the characteristics of a good documentary”, the moderator asked the director… “I have no idea”… but mentioning our common hero, Russian Sergey Dvortsevoy, he responded anyway, did he not?

https://www.sff.ba/novost/11156/honorary-heart-of-sarajevo-award-to-pawel-pawlikowski


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Current Time TV Also at Sarajevo Film Festival

Written 17-08-2019 16:39:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Current Time TV  Also at Sarajevo Film Festival

Note the little ”also”… because when it comes to Current Time TV, they have been here, there and everywhere in Central and Eastern Europe, a great new player in the documentary community, in pitching panels, active and enthusiastic. I have met them in Riga, in Tbilisi, in Kiev, in Prague and now they are also here in Sarajevo being part of the Docu Talent presentation that takes place tomorrow at Sarajevo’s Hotel Europe, quote from the organisers, the Jihlava Film Festival:



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Sarajevo: Docs Go Big!

Written 17-08-2019 09:43:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo: Docs Go Big!

Documentaries at the Sarajevo FF is Rada Sesic. She selects the competition program, she runs the Docu Rough Boutique (together with Martichka Bozhilova), the DocuCorner, running from place to place… And she is semper ardens as you can read in the special catalogue/poster, she has made for the documentaries in order to avoid the genre to be hidden in all the feature films that fill the catalogues here.

Full of superlatives she presents the films under the headline ”Women Shine on the Documentary Scene in Our Region ». She explains that ”out of 16 films (in the competition section), 10 are directed or co-directed by women. Hooray for the strong talented She directors from the region”. Voila!

The competition program opens today with – of course – ”Honeyland” by Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska, the Bosnian premiere of a film that also opened Magnificent7 in Belgrade, CinéDoc in Georgia and won man yawards including the main award at DocsBarcelona. Definitely – together with Kossakovsky’s ”Aquarela” – the documentary of 2019.

Also I want to mention the wonderful Greek film by Marianna Economou, ”When Tomatoes Met Wagner” and the 13 minutes long ”In Between” by Samir Karahoda from Kosovo. To be mentioned for sure is Rada Sesic passion for the short film.

The majority of the jury for the competition, however, is male: Nenad Puhovski, ZagrebDox & Orwa Nyrabia, IDFA together with Emilie Bujes from Visions du Réel in Nyon.

Lots to watch, lost of magical documentary moments.

www.sff.ba


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Sarajevo Mon Amour

Written 16-08-2019 18:29:07 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo Mon Amour

Well, I have not yet been through all the catalogues to find out, why the festival speaks French! But indeed it sounds and looks nice!

I am here again at the big festival for features and documentaries and shorts with a very strong industry section. It opens tonight and goes on until August 23. Competition programmes, a Human Rights Day, Honorary Hearts to Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, Isabelle Huppert and Pawel Pawlikowski.

For the latter I have been asked to moderate a Q&A with the Polish director, who in the 90’es lived in England and made films for the BBC. At a time where the broadcaster apparently still were open to non-formatted documentaries. To be prepared I enjoyed the four documentary films that will be screened here in Sarajevo tomorrow Saturday: Dostoevsky’s Travels, From Moscow to Pietushi: A Journey with Benedict Yerofeyev, Tripping With Zhirinovski, and Serbian Epics. Films that are still interesting to watch today because of their humour, the often satirical approach and playfulness. Far away from the fictional masterpieces the director made in Poland, Ida and Cold War, that will also be screened at the festival as well as other feature films by the director.

The Pawlikowski documentaries are part of the ”Dealing With the Past” program that also includes films like ”Meeting Gorbachev” by André Singer and Werner Herzog and ”Privacy of Wounds” by Dalia Kury. AND a section, the True Stories Market, where a handful of stories from the Yugoslav Wars will be presented to filmmakers, who are invited ”to execute a project inspired by one of the selected stories”, as Maša Markovic, the manager of the program says in the catalogue. I have been invited to take part in the project preparation for preparation, we had the first meeting today, amazing stories – I will tell you about them later but my first impression is like the one I had last year:

” Back in Copenhagen. Thinking of the many documentary adventures I take with me from the Sarajevo Film Festival. To be part of the training team of representatives from ngo’s and human rights organizations was the experience for me. Engaged, committed people who every day deal with human beings who suffer from the consequences of the wars in the 1990’es – and try to help them. Respect!”. Written in August 2018.

Will report more from this inviting and well organised festival.

www.sff.ba


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DokuFest Winners Announced

Written 15-08-2019 11:02:39 by Tue Steen Mller

DokuFest Winners Announced

Prizren, Kosovo. The 18th edition of a documentary festival (it ended four days ago) that filmkommentaren has covered since 2010. Always with words of praise and in persona  in 2016, where I was invited to be a juror in the Human Rights Section, where the extraordinary 5 hour long “Homeland, Iraq Year Zero” got the award; director is Abbas Fahdel, who I had the pleasure to meet on that occasion and who is one of those (too few) who constantly brings photos and texts from film history to the FB pages. But that’s another story!

This year the Human Rights Dox winning film was Dina Nasser’s “Tiny Souls”,



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Makedox Number 10

Written 14-08-2019 00:33:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Makedox Number 10

It’s in Skopje end of August (21-28) and it’s organised by Petra Seliskar and her family. Those who have been to the festival will agree with my impression: The hospitality is second to none, the atmosphere is relaxed, there is all the time to talk long and deep, and there are outdoor screenings late at night as being outside during the day is not a good idea because of the heat. Screenings of the best of the best!

It’s number 10 and a bit to my surprise, Seliskar has introduced a Forum, i.e. a commercial element to a festival that is non-commercial in its heart. Anyhow, the purpose is simple and fine: Better Regional Co-Production of Documentary Films. Invited are film projects from the Balkan countries, who will meet representatives from 11 regional funds (are there really that many), 3 Scandinavian funds and 2 major televisions… Wishing the festival all the best luck with this first initiative, new for the festival.

But film art is also represented, indeed, ”Aquarela” by Viktor Kossakovsky will be screened and the director will be present to give a masterclass. Knowing him, he will love to come to North Macedonia, and if the audience does not like the film, it’s their own fault!  

http://makedox.mk/mk/en/


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CinDOC Summer School Talent Development

Written 03-08-2019 10:11:24 by Tue Steen Mller

CinDOC Summer School  Talent Development

They have just left the room, the nine students and filmmakers, who have been sharing their projects, their ideas, their visuals, five of them are from Konrad Wolf Filmuniversität, taken here by teacher and cameraperson Merle Jothe, who talked to us yesterday about two films that she has been working on, the second one the award-winning ”Berg Fidel – A School for All”, directed by Hella Wenders, wonderful kids, fine situations, would love to watch the whole film.

It’s been (so far) 4 full days, 3 more to go, and now the participants want to



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

In the Cinema in Gori Georgia

Written 01-08-2019 21:39:07 by Tue Steen Mller

In the Cinema in Gori Georgia

... Well, actually there is no cinema in Gori so the Cinédoc-Gori Mini Festival takes place in the big theatre that was built in 1937-38 to honour Josip Stalin, who was born in Gori… he never visited the theatre, it is being said.

BUT I did this afternoon to attend the screening of one of my darlings from the last years, Ukrainian Roman Bondarchuk’s “Dixieland”, written by Dar’ya Averchenko and produced by Latvian Ilona Bicevska. The film was screened as part of the CinéDOC MiniFestival for documentaries, this one in the section for young people. A clip from a previous post about the film written at its premiere in Kiev at the DocuDays:

“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. But over time this country is disappearing… yes, we are in Ukraine of today.”

I introduced the film and asked the young audience to give me comments after the film that I can forward to the Ukrainian/Latvian team.

Indeed the seven-eight commentators liked the film. They found it wonderful to see a film about real people, happy people one said, much more happy than we are here in Georgia! Others also praised the film saying that it was realistic and emotional. And one wanted to know what the director had done, I mentioned „Ukrainian Sheriffs“ and „Volcano“. It was great to feel that the audience appreciated the initiative to screen documentaries that they normally don’t have a chance to access.

I asked Anuka from the organising CinéDOC team to address a sweet looking girl to ask her if she plays an instrument. No, she said. Would you like to? Yes. Which instruments? Piano... and violin. Oh, yes, films can inspire, also when you are seven year old.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CinDOC Summer School in Gori

Written 31-07-2019 16:11:13 by Tue Steen Mller

CinDOC Summer School in Gori

It's too hot to be outside during the day, and the organisers of the CinéDOC Summer School know that. The brilliant team from CinéDOC has made the 15 participants (10 from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbadjan plus 5 students from Konrad Wolf Filmuniversität in Babelsberg Germany) meet 4 tutors (editors Albert Elings (Holland) and Dana Bunescu (Romania), cameraperson Merle Jothe (Germany) and myself from morning till evening, where we all go to the cinema, where the Cinédoc-Gori Mini Festival takes place. It opened last night with the sweet and charming "Transparent World" by Vakhtang Kuntsev-Gabashvili was shown. It won the Caucasus award at CinéDOC two years ago. I wrote an enthusiastic note on the film on that occasion - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4226/ and I enjoyed to watch the film again, Beka and his father making a film. Lovely!

The film programme also includes films for children - like "Dixieland" from Ukraine - and this year's winner at CinéDOC in Tbilisi, "The Disappearance of My Mother". Read more about it on

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/?lang=ge

And again a salute to the CinéDOC people, who organise regional screenings all over Georgia, very well organised with regional coordinators, it's film cultural policy!


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergei Loznitsa: State Funeral

Written 26-07-2019 21:30:29 by Tue Steen Mller

Sergei Loznitsa: State Funeral

There he goes again, the master of dealing creatively with archive, Sergei Loznitsa. His new film, to be premiered at the Venice International Film Festival (August 28 – September 7), entitled ”State Funeral” is – I have copy-pasted from Screen Daily, link below for the whole article -

… about the “grandiose, terrifying and grotesque” spectacle of the funeral of Joseph Stalin.

It will be the latest of Loznitsa’s montage films based on archive footage following Blockade, Revue, The Event and The Trial…

“I have been working with footage which was shot between March 5-8, 1953 for a film called The Great Farewell by directors including Sergei Gerasimov and Ilya Kopalin,” Loznitsa explains. “But the film was banned after people in the Soviet government saw it and so it was never released. The film only appeared during the period of perestroika in the 1990s.”

Berlin-based Loznitsa worked with 100 reels of material he found in the Russian state archive, which includes footage of the four-day event in Berlin, Warsaw and Prague as well as the major Soviet cities.

“The film will follow the chronology of the four days – from the announcement of Stalin’s death to the funeral in the Red Square,“ Loznitsa explained. “I want to present audiences with the opportunity to be inside that time and feel it.

“My generation can now start to talk about this time because for previous generations like that of my parents, there are still the painful memories,“

https://www.screendaily.com/searchresults?qkeyword=loznitsa

Review of «The Trial»: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4393/

Review of “The Event”: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4148/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Luke Moody Leaves Sheffield Doc/Fest

Written 25-07-2019 19:03:51 by Tue Steen Mller

Luke Moody Leaves Sheffield Doc/Fest

In a very interesting article, written by Nick Bradshaw, in Sight & Sound, the head programmer of the Sheffield Doc/Fest Luke Moody reveals why he decided to leave the festival after 20 months as director of programming. Bradshaw writes about films shown in the programme films that are far away from the British television tradition, many films from Latin America…

Two years ago, on this site, in another interview, Moody explained what his vision was for the festival, link below. And now he says goodbye.

A couple of quotes from the article indicate why «… Such visions are hardly British broadcast television fare, and for Moody that’s reason to question the dominance on the Doc/Fest board of the British factual TV departments, who since the festival’s founding have increasingly retreated from international film co-production and turned to formatted entertainment. (The BFI also has one seat on the board; Moody counted it as an exception to his complaint.) “The only thing I hear from them is self-interest: ‘Where’s my commission?’,” he said when we met this year. “They’re not performing a job to take the festival forward and accept new partnerships or grow the festival, or support a programme that is progressive. They’re from a tradition that is a dinosaur – the likes of Netflix, Amazon, HBO and Hulu are far more progressive and will take their audiences…”

Quite som criticism… and he continues « … the day after the festival ended, Moody resigned from his role. “This festival needs to find a new vision and I’ve tried to bring that – for the programme to be international, and representative of a broader spectrum of what documentary and nonfiction can be,” he wrote to me. “But their anchor is the festival as it was 10, 20 years ago – putting forward colonial forms of filmmaking, annually offering and pressuring to include content only relevant to a domestic market and directed by white men over 40. The chimney needs sweeping before a fire can be lit…”

Colonial forms of filmmaking…!

Read the whole article, link below.

https://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/comment/festivals/sheffield-doc-fest-2019-film-programme-latin-american-outreach-luke-moody-resignation

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3951/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival/2

Written 21-07-2019 17:22:01 by Tue Steen Mller

IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival/2

From FB I copy who were the winners of the new documentary festival in Iceland:

In our closing screening we didn't only see a wonderful documentary, The Human Shelter (by Danish director Boris Bertram, ed.), but also gave awards to the winners of the festival. Here are the winners:

Shorts competition: All Inclusive (dir. Corina Schwingruber Ilić)
Mid-length competition: Haunted (dir. Christian Einshøj)
Main competition: Bruce Lee & the Outlaw (dir. Joost Vandebrug)
Mainland Special Mention: Honeyland (dir. Tamara Kotevska & Ljubo Stefanov)

Congratulations to all the winners - your films were simply stunning!

PHOTO from The Human Shelter, colleague Allan Berg reviewed it: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4223/ in Danish.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival

Written 21-07-2019 12:12:14 by Tue Steen Mller

IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival

This is how the organisers introduce the festival:

Welcome to IceDocs!

“The first ever edition of Iceland Documentary Film Festival takes place in Akranes on 17th-21st of July 2019. Our mission is to introduce quality documentaries to local audience and visitors alike as well as connecting filmmakers and industry people from all over the world. The event will take place in the small and quaint industry town of Akranes, just 45 minutes outside of Reykjavik.”

According to good friend, Italian Claudia Tosi, whose film “I Had a Dream” was in the program, the festival was (from FB) ”an amazing experience”, that ends today with many sections and according to the films being there absolutely ”quality documentaries”.

44 films, at the festival, the following have been reviewed/written about on this site:

Animus Animalis - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4476/

Aquarela - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4408/

Home Games - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4258/

Honeyland - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4449/ (Photo)

How Big is the Galaxy - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4523/

I Had a Dream - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4389/

In Praise of Nothing - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4102/

http://icedocs.is


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Yamagata

Written 12-07-2019 17:54:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Yamagata

… in Japan hosts a bi-annual documentary film festival of high quality. I have previously – see http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1684/ – praised the festival for its modest pr activity and seriousness. Old-fashioned some might say, I would say refreshing that in the middle of festivals with colourful promotion and many times repeat of ”we are the best” or ”we want to be the best”, there is a festival that stands out by taking a different low-key way, check for yourself, click the website below.

In the selection for the festival taking place October 10-17, you wil find films by Wang Bing, Frederick Wiseman and Anand Patwardhan, all big names but it warms my heart to see that the festival has fallen for “Cachada – The Opportunity”, the film by Marlén Viñayo from El Salvador, her first film, that won an award at DocsBarcelona and has earned many positive words from critics, including the one, who writes these words, link below.

The same goes for Anna Eborn’s “Transnistra”, also a young female director, who now takes big steps on the international scene. The film, shot on 16mm film, is a true auteur film, if you like, click below and read words that include the name Truffaut.

https://www.yidff.jp/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4540/ (Cachada)

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4475/ (Transnistra)


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DokuFest Announces Its Program

Written 08-07-2019 11:46:37 by Tue Steen Mller

DokuFest Announces Its Program

”More than 100 wonderful documentary films as well as a great array of short fictions and experimental cinema representing 40 countries, is what characterizes the film competition…”, are words from the press release sent out a couple of days ago by the festival in Prizren Kosovo, that takes place August 2-10. The artistic director of the festival, Veton Nurkollari, is a happy man:

“Bold and innovative, timely and important, is how I’d identify many of the films from this year’s competitions. “DokuFest continues its mission to bringing the best and the brightest in contemporary filmmaking to Kosovo and we are thrilled to welcome a number of first-time directors as well as many returning ones to the festival.”

There are no less than six competition sections: Balkan Dox, Intl. Dox and Feature & Shorts, Intl. Shorts, Human Rights Dox, Green Dox, National Competition.

Several of the films have been highlighted on this site, let me mention five of them:

Artemio Benki: Solo - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4542/

Reetta Huhtanen: Gods of Molenbeek - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4454/

Rachel Leah Jones & Philippe Bellaiche : Advocate http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4553/

Dina Naser: Tiny Souls - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4543/

Viktor Kossakovsky: Aquarela - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4408/

As usual, the festival in Prizren offers high quality – and I can add that the festival atmosphere is friendly and relaxed with much time to digest and discuss what you have seen.

https://dokufest.com/2019/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ksenia Okhapkina: Immortal

Written 05-07-2019 16:11:50 by Tue Steen Mller

Ksenia Okhapkina: Immortal

This film had its world premiere at the Karlovy Vary Festival that ends tomorrow, July 6. It has had three screenings, and let me start this review of a film, that will conclude with the highest marks on this site by quoting the catalogue text of the festival:

” How do the mechanisms of political power directly influence the lives of a country’s inhabitants? In seeking an answer to this difficult question, this cinematic essay looks at everyday life in a small Russian industrial city, uncovering along the way how dangerous and furtive an all-permeating ideology can be.”

… saying that there is nothing wrong in the text, it is also about indoctrination and building up patriotism, but not about everyday life, the text is a simplification that makes you think that here comes another social documentary from Russia, one of the many that fills festival programs all over. No, this is Cinema far away from information and much closer to interpretation of human life through sound and image and editing and point of view. It is seldom that I see a film that so precisely invites you into a world conveyed via symbols and sequences that has a flow of scary beauty that hits your eyes. Russian Sergey Dvortsevoy once said that for him every image, every sequence must have energy – in Ksenia Okhapkina’s film this is the case. The film is a composition, you are linked to the film with your eyes and ears, it is brilliant.

It takes place in the area, where there used to be Gulag camps and where there now live people, where coal is transported in containers attached to trains in an Arctic landscape, where the ice is burnt away from the pavement and where kids are trained to use rifles, girls are doing ballet and march – 1,2,3,4 – and where a golden tree stands with appartment buildings in the background. Where pilot training is talked about in a museum of heroes, who died for the Fatherland. You have a focus on kids listening and watching a propaganda film, where we the audience hear the sentence “the path to immortality”. Hence the title. Where people are filmed like shadows from behind, they are anonymous individuals, who have given up… no let me refrain from my interpretations to avoid simplifications… in a film that has the total ambition to let the images and the sound speak for what you take from it. Don’t say it, show it! And yet the lonely snow-covered dog barking represents of course, what the director and her excellent crew of camerapersons and editors and sound people and composers want to tell the audience, bringing with extraordinary cinematic skills a tone and a point of view the film to a thematically existential level. As did Pirjo Honkasalo years ago with her “Three Rooms of Melancholy”. It’s in that category, wrote the overwhelmed Danish reviewer.

Estonia/Latvia, 2019, 60 mins.


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Laila Pakalnina: Spoon

Written 29-06-2019 18:23:05 by Tue Steen Mller

Laila Pakalnina: Spoon

… her 65 minutes long documentary has its premiere in Karlovy Vary tonight. The play- and colourful Latvian director is very busy on Facebook, where she for a long time has posted great photos, the last couple of days also from Karlovy Vary, where she is with her cinematographer. She is one of few veteran directors, who is always able to surprise the audience.

In an interview before the premiere at the festival’s documentary competition, the director said to ScreenDaily’s Laurence Boyce : « The first important thing to understand was not where to film but with whom to film. It was a very important decision to work with cinematographer Gints Berzins with whom I’d studied with at Moscow Film School (VGIK). We had created our common understanding about what film is and made many films together. »

… a guarantee for something special, which she already promised us at the Baltic Sea Docs pitch in 2017, where she showed stunning images created by Berzins and by the way also, as the show-woman she can be, threw plastic spoons to the panelists at the table. Berzins has also made several films with another Latvian director, Viesturs Kairiss, where the camerawork is far from mainstream.

« (the dialogue-free film is) a deceptively simple affair in which Pakalnina charts the creation of a meagre plastic spoon. But within this simplicity lies a nuanced commentary on both the wastefulness of human society and the magnificent spectacle of human endeavour. »

Looking forward to see the film on a big screen somewhere at a festival or in Riga in September ?


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ex Oriente First Session 2019

Written 24-06-2019 21:56:05 by Tue Steen Mller

Ex Oriente First Session 2019

… with the subtitle ”Find Your Way – Vision – Space and Storytelling” here in Banská Stiavnoca in Slovakia – is going to its end. Two more program points, exiting both of them, and then a summing up tomorrow. First one: I have just listened to Bosnian director Alen Drljevic talk about his "Men don't Cry" that we saw yesterday, a fiction film with a documentary background on a group therapy session with former soldiers in the different armies during the Yugoslav war.  

I am writing this in the cinema, where I am to watch ”Forman vs. Forman”, a private screening for the Ex Oriente participants of the film by Jakub Hejna and Helena Trestikova, the film about Milos Forman that premiered in Cannes and has its Czech premiere at the upcoming Karlovy Vary Film Festival. I just saw a clip of the master, he will be on screen in half an hour...



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Orwa Nyrabia Talks about IDFA Changes

Written 20-06-2019 11:49:23 by Tue Steen Mller

Orwa Nyrabia Talks about IDFA Changes

Readers of filmkommentaren will know that I am very happy with Syrian Orwa Nyrabia being the artistic director of IDFA. Step by step he is changing the festiwal together with his competent Staff. This post aims at making you read the fine interview with Nyrabia, for cineuropa made by Vladan Petkovic. Here is a clip:

… The strong presence of films made by northern filmmakers about the rest of the world is not enough any more. This is interesting: it's not necessarily a bad thing, but being limited to it is certainly a relic of the past. We know today that we can't just be watching films about the Balkan war, about the Syrian war or about the Congo, without giving a serious platform and due respect to filmmakers from these societies who are telling us their stories in their own way. This way may not exactly be designed to triumph at box offices in the West, but they are there to add to our own cultural awareness and to the development of our understanding of the world, as well as to challenge our own prejudices. This is, to me, the core of this job and of documentary festivals in general, not only IDFA…

https://cineuropa.org/en/interview/373908/


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Yuriy Shylov: Projectionist

Written 14-06-2019 21:13:37 by Tue Steen Mller

Yuriy Shylov: Projectionist

I have met Valentin, the projectionist, on screen, at several workshops and presentations, and I have seen how fragments, all these clips, of his life slowly have become a film that now – bravo – is to have its premiere in the competition at the festival in Karlovy Vary beginning of July. Ukrainian producer Gennady Kofman was so kind to send me a link so I could see the final result of a work on its way for some years.

Sometimes you get disappointed, when you see a final result, after numerous pitches and presentations. In this case no; On the contrary I enjoyed to see how the director has succeeded to let the viewer into the projection room of a cinema, a place that has been Valentin’s second home for more than 40 years. In his private home he takes care of the mother, who is in bed and close to the end of her life. As the cinema is also close to have THE END. A fire helped it go that way and now the cinema is hosting events, light shows and other modern activities. Seen from Valentin’s point of view. With the director’s fine sense of creating atmosphere.

Long live the art of cinematography he says to his friend and collaborator in the cinema, Volodymyr. With vodka in the glass and irony in the voice. You can’t help love Valentin for his appetite on life – more enigmatic is Volodymyr, the side character, who takes the last word and a little dancing step in the film, addressing the director/cameraman in a very moving way. I won´t say more, but what I can say is that Valentin survives an illness and enjoys the stay in the sanatorium at the sea, where he is recovering to end up good looking, dancing with the women.

There are many Valentins in the world. And Volodymyrs. Who live a life behind the scene with their passion for film and the place for films to be seen, the cinema. As Herz Frank says in the Baltic „Bridges of Time“, when they are no longer among us, they are still alive on film, like this one. That is luckily wonderfully unpretentious.

Ukraine, Poland, 2019, 72 mins.


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Kristof Bilsen: Mother

Written 08-06-2019 17:29:55 by Tue Steen Mller

Kristof Bilsen: Mother

”Me No Worry, Me No Care, Me Go Marry a Millionaire, If He Dies Me No Cry, Me Go Marry Another Guy”… are the words Pomm uses to wake up Elisabeth, who reacts with a smile. Pomm calls Elisabeth mother or granny, she is her caregiver in the centre in Thailand, where Western alzheimer patients stay and are given care by Thai women like Pomm.

Who is the central character of the film. And who has been given a camera by the director to make video diaries that are included in a film that deals with a theme of importance to all of us. Before the mentioned warm and touching scene, up front in the film, before the title credits, Pomm has filmed her house and the youngest of three children, Nadia, with words of sadness: I gave birth to three children but I can not take care of them. She has to earn money away from home to support them… Alas, the eternal story of rich and poor, the lack of equality in the world we live in.

Yes, Pomm, the young woman on the photo, is a MOTHER. The old woman



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Michal Bielawski: The Wind. A Documentary Thriller

Written 04-06-2019 20:25:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Michal Bielawski: The Wind. A Documentary Thriller

The Halny? Shocking film! Says someone coming from a flat country after having watched a film about the power of the wind in a mountain area.

I had never heard about the halny before so I made a visit to Wikipedia and got this answer:

Halny is a warm windstorm that blows through the valleys. It is often disastrous; ripping off roofs, causing avalanches and, according to some people, can have some influence on mental states.

Precisely what this film shows.…”The Wind. A Documentary Thriller” is an interpretation of our situation : when nature in this form takes action, we have no chance. We have to face the consequences of the catastrophies that we create ourselves, some say, others refer to destiny, God´s will…

Nevertheless the people living in the Tatra mountains fight to survive. They try to stabilise their houses, when the wind is coming, they cut up the trees that have fallen on the roads, blocking the traffic, including the ambulances that hurry to help people with serious problems, some of them suicidal.

My hero in the film is the woman, who writes poems that are celebrating the forest. Like Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, known all over the world for his fairy tales, wrote in one of his books, she does like him, embracing a tree in one of the best scenes of a film that in a fragmented, powerful style conveys an overall drama with several fine parallel stories, and a soundscore that with the wind justifies the characterisation, “a documentary thriller”.

Fear, life and death, father and daughter: His house burns down, he has breathing problems, he goes to the doctor, he continues the lost battle against the evil power. She, the poetess, wants to buy a piece of forest, it’s beautiful to watch her emotions, as it is to watch the young ambulance nurse taking care of the victims.

Michal Bielawski’s film reminds me, with its own competence in content and cinematic skills, about current films about man and nature – Kossakovsky’s “Aquarela”, “The Earth” by Nikolaus Geyerhalter. Hate the word but films like these seem to be trendy – and yes, documentaries are raising the crucial questions our planet is facing, they do so in different styles, with different voices, make us think when we are given a visual statement and a visual artistic comment to the time.

Poland, 2019, 74 mins.


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Sheffield Doc/Fest Opens With Maradona

Written 03-06-2019 12:56:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Sheffield Doc/Fest Opens With Maradona

... the new film by Asif Kapadia („Amy“ and „Senna”), one of the masters in archive based documentaries, „The movie melds personal recordings with omnipresent reportage to portray the turbulent years of a gifted footballer burning brightly in late 1980’s Napoli“, the festival website says. Gosh, I am looking forward to that film about legendary „Diego Maradona“, the title of the film that was shown in Cannes.

The festival in Sheffield runs from June 6 – 11 with films from 47 countries and with 57% of the competition titles directed or co-directed by female filmmakers.

Competition titles, the festival has several categories, where films are nominated. There is a Grand Jury Award, where the film on Maradona is listed, as well as the highlighted „For Sama“ by Edward Watts. There is an Art Award, where I find the film by Susana de Sousa Dias „Fordlandia Malaise“ – the website has a fine list of trailers, look at the one by Susana. There is the Tim Hetherington Award, where I find the excellent „Dark Suns“ from Mexico, by Julien Elie. There is the International Award, where „Earth“ by Geyerhalter is as well Belgian Kristof Bilsen’s „Mother“, executive produced by Kirsten Johnson... and a couple of more award sections.

„Ways of Seeing“, good selection as I see it from festival director Luke Moody and his team.

https://sheffdocfest.com/


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Krakow Film Festival - And the Winners Were

Written 01-06-2019 23:34:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Krakow Film Festival - And the Winners Were

- a copy paste from the festival's FB page:

Having watched all the competitive films the International Documentary Jury of the 59th Krakow Film Festival consisting of: Jacek Petrycki – chairman (Poland), Talal Derki (Germany), Marja Pallassalo (Finland), Shane Smith (Canada), Ágnes Sós (Hungary) has decided to award the following prizes:

THE GOLDEN HORN for the director of the best film – Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche for Advocate (Israel, Canada, Switzerland)

THE SILVER HORN for the director of the best medium-length documentary film - David Ofek and Tal Michael for Around the Bed of a Dying Collaborator (Israel)

THE SILVER HORN for the director of the best feature-length documentary film – Àlex Lora and Adán Aliaga for The Fourth Kingdom (Spain, USA, Mexico)

The FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Jury consisting of: Irena Kotelovich (Belarus), Nino Kovačić (Croatia), Nachum Mochiach (Israel) has decided to award the International Film Critics Prize to Àlex Lora and Adán Aliaga for The Fourth Kingdom (Spain, USA, Mexico)


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow Film Festival - Who Will Win

Written 01-06-2019 19:24:07 by Tue Steen Mller

Krakow Film Festival - Who Will Win

I was not in Krakow for the festival this year, but I saw the films in the main international competition and gave my points together with other film journalists - and made 4 texts for the Daily Newspaper, which is edited by kind and competent Anna E. Dziedzic from the festival. My last text delivered yesterday was my overall impression of the films in the category mentioned. Here it comes and when the awards are given later this evening, I will make a post and you can see if my impressions match those of a jury. Here is my text:

Comments to our time. Interpretation of subjects that touch world-wide. Creative documentaries. Character driven… it’s all there in the 2019 selection for Krakow Film Festival, the international section with 16 titles. Diversity, also in quality, from my point of view, take a look at the critic’s mark system, where some get high and some low marks.

Were there any extra-ordinary films. Any that stood out ? In terms of subject and cinematic interpretation? “Of Animals and Men” did for me. The film by Łukasz Czajka, 56 mins., touched me because of the shocking story about how the German invasion and occupation during WW2 destroyed the life of the Warsaw Zoo. For men and animals – telling at the same time about the bravery of the couple Antonina and Jan Żabińskis, who let Jews hide in the empty zoo, where the animals had stayed, or at their own home. As the brutality of the Germans increased, the risk of being captured became bigger for those hiding. Jan helped providing documents for the Jews, getting many out from the ghetto, Antonina likewise, and she was the one, who played Offenbach on the piano when dangerous situations came up, and Chopin when the Germans had left again. The film is well made mixing archive, interviews and a fine voice-over based on Antonina’s memoirs. And no, I have not seen the fiction film based on this amazing story.

Dutch “But Now is Perfect” (Photo) by Carin Goeijers also impressed me. The fate of a refugee... nothing new, unfortunately, in that, but the director has made an aesthetical choice that makes content and style match each other perfectly. You move around in the Calabrian town that has set up a good model for having refugees integrated in its life in a story that is told backwards. With a Nigerian woman as the lead character, full of life, charismatic, hoping…

From Italian Calabria to New York, to follow the life of another refugee, René from Mexico, in “The Fourth Dimension”. He lives in a small community, “Sure We Can”, where, under the supervision of Ana, formerly UN employed, homeless and alchoholics (like René who is now sober) end up and can calm down, away from the rough life outside the metal curtain, that is taken down every night. The film has several layers, the fine social initiative is one but the inner life of René, his yearning for another life, his interest in aliens from other planets, his dreams and hopes, his quiet life with cats, kittens and chicken is conveyed in a cinematically skilled tone by the two Spanish directors Àlex Lora Cercós and Adán Aliga.

Krakow Film Festival has always had Israeli documentaries in its program, this year is no exception. I was touched by the silent drama of the dying old Palestinian man in “Around the Bed of a Dying Collaborator” by David Ofek and Tal Michael. “Forgive me”, he says to his sons, for working for the Israelis, having sold Palestinian land to Jews making the family’s life a true hell. AND the big international coproduction “The Advocate” by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche about the Israeli hero lawyer Lea Tsemel, who for decades have taken lost cases for Palestinians, who have committed murder or other criminal attacks to be punished by the Israeli state. Bellaiche, also the cameraman, again shows, like in the films he did for Avi Mograbi, his talent for bringing the audience close to subject and character.

Will any of these films be awarded, or will „The Wind. A Documentary Thriller“, that I wrote about in the first daily, or «Wongar“ or „Pariah Dog“, mentioned in the second newspaper.

A jury will decide.

https://www.krakowfilmfestival.pl/en/59th-kff/festival-newspaper


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocAviv Awards to Honeyland and Advocate

Written 30-05-2019 20:23:32 by Tue Steen Mller

DocAviv Awards to Honeyland and Advocate

A lot of awards were distributed last night in Tel Aviv at the 21st edition of DocAviv. Let me mention the two main awards and give you the link – below – to the festival website.

Winner of Israeli Competition

Advocate by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Ballaiche

Jury Motivation:

The Best Israeli Documentary Film is a thought-provoking project that combines an important issue with high quality cinematic skills, particularly an innovative and clever use of animation. Just as importantly, the film profiles an unforgettable, powerful, and inspiring woman of deep conviction in all her complexity. For their ability to capture this exceptional figure, who sees hope where others find only futility, the Best Israeli Documentary Film Award goes to the film Advocate by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Ballaiche.

Best International Film Award

Honeyland by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov

Jury Motivation:

The Best Israeli Documentary Film is a thought-provoking project that combines an important issue with high quality cinematic skills, particularly an innovative and clever use of animation. Just as importantly, the film profiles an unforgettable, powerful, and inspiring woman of deep conviction in all her complexity. For their ability to capture this exceptional figure, who sees hope where others find only futility, the Best Israeli Documentary Film Award goes to the film Advocate by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Ballaiche.

www.docaviv.co.il/2019-en 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona The Baltic Way

Written 27-05-2019 10:37:50 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona The Baltic Way

He said many clever things, Audrius Stonys, at DocsBarcelona, where his film ”Bridges of Time”, directed with Latvian Kristine Briede, at two screenings had a good audience as had the masterclass with the Lithuanian director.

Festival director Joan Gonzalez, whose knowledge about Stonys until then was very little, asked Viktor Kossakovsky if the Lithuanian is good, ”oh yes”, the Russian director had said – and Kossakovsky is not known to give away many compliments. Gonzalez picked up what Stonys, a brilliant talker and inspirator, had said after the first screening of ”Bridges of Time”. ”I saw my film again today and when I saw the woman, who had watched the film she took part in as a child, hearing her say that she was so happy to see her mother again, alive in the film… I thought this is why we make documentaries, to keep people alive. In other words: Life After Death.

Gonzalez quoted Stonys at the closing ceremony, much appreciated, as it was



Read more / Ls mere

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona Botero

Written 24-05-2019 10:32:07 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona Botero

Fernando Botero... all art interested people know him from his paintings and sculptures. I have been reminded of him again and again when arriving to the airport in Barcelona, where his horse sculpture is a meeting point. Don Millar, the director of the film "Botero" was at DocsBarcelona last night with the daughter Lina and the son Fernando to show the film and talk to the audience at the European premiere at the Aribau cinema. A very generous film biography full of information about the life of an artist, his artistical development, his going against the mainstream, his artistic comments to what is going on in this world, his personal tragedy, when his fourth child Pedro was killed in a car accident, his getting through that trauma by making art, him being the patriarch of a family that gathers once a year in Pietrasanta in Italy, the opposition he has met from art critics (for me that takes too much time in the film), his generosity to donate his art collection, and a lot of his own works to his native Colombia, where you can find it in museums in Bogota and Medellin.

The film equals the volumen of Botero's work with a strong music side and the archive - still photos, interviews - is very interesting with the three children, the two mentioned plus Juan Carlos, talk so passionate about their father taking care of his enormous work. And he talks with a fine portion of humour.

Photo: Botero on Abu Ghraib.

www.docsbarcelona.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

EDN Bylaws Violated . Action Needed/ 3

Written 23-05-2019 23:30:20 by Tue Steen Mller

Cecilia Lidin, member of EDN and former director of the association from 2009-2011, now film consultant at the Danish Film Institute writes today on FB :

Calling all EDN Members! Tomorrow the EDN office will be moved from Copenhagen to Amsterdam. It might seem insignificant where a pan-european association resides, but the facts remain the same: EDN is in practical and legal terms a Danish association - can the self-installed management please explain how this move is possible?? And equally important: according to the by-laws, the association can only be moved after it has been brought to a vote by the members. We are dealing with a management that are working in total disregard to rules and regulations - with the sole argument, that if they had not acted, EDN would not have survived. If EDN cannot survive following the by-laws on which it was founded - then it should die.

And a reaction from Orwa Nyrabia, IDFA’s artistic director:

It seems that the new management and board of EDN ignored all public critique and are still moving forward with steps that violate by-laws and the core of it being a members association. Violating by-laws, taking decisions that require members voting, not calling for an exceptional GA, is unacceptable.

Former posts on this subject :

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4537/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4530/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona Public Pitch

Written 23-05-2019 14:25:03 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona Public Pitch

Let me remind you that when DocsBarcelona started 22 years ago all pitching sessions were public. When the EDN launched the workshops in The South of Europe, with the support of the EU Media Programme, the first one took place in Granada. Joan Gonzalez, director of DocsBarcelona, was there, he pitched (not really a success!) and took the event to Barcelona. 10 years later a festival was started after years of screenings and meetings with filmmakers, that is what today is called masterclasses.

After years of speed meetings between filmmakers and decision makers the public pitch is back - in a combination with speed meetings. This morning - professionally moderated by Catherine Olsen and in a fine set up with 25 panelists sitting at tables and an (not that big) audience attending, creating atmosphere by supporting those who present their fllm projects on stage. There were 9 of them - 6 more will perform tomorrow - and should I highlight, from my biased seat in the audience, a couple, it would be "They Call me Torero" directed by Inma de Reyes and produced by Aimara Reques, the first one a student from Edinburgh with Emma Davie as teacher, the second "the mother" of Viktor Kossakovsky's marvellous "Aquarela", that opened the DocsBarcelona more than a week ago. AND the Brazilian "Samuel and the Light" by Vinicius Girnys, the director's first film about kids at a place, where electricity arrives. Poetic touch in the trailer. The Public Pitch started with a safe card, Peter Torbiörnsson's "Ninosca" from Nicaragua produced by another veteran, Stina Gardell. Swedish Torbiörnsson has charisma, he does not pitch the usual way, he adresses the audience in a personal way. That film about the troubled life a woman growing up in a macho culture will definitely be good.

The panel... some with good comments, some just said "thank you for the pitch, we can talk later...". That was the same 22 years ago!

www.docsbarcelona.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona - Jordi Cuixart

Written 22-05-2019 09:58:51 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona - Jordi Cuixart

DocsBarcelona is making a political statement. The festival showed "Avec un Sourire, la Revolution" by Canadian Alexandre Chartrand, on the 19th to an audience of around 700 people, who gave the film and its message a standing ovation. AND the festival chose to use a photo of one of the emprisoned politicians, actually the one who is not a politician. I take a text from wikipedia on: 

Jordi Cuixart i Navarro (Santa Perpètua de Mogoda, province of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, 1975) is a Catalan businessman and political and cultural activist. He is the president of Òmnium Cultural,[1] a non-profit cultural organisation founded in 1961 with more than 160,000 members and 40 local branches in Catalonia.[2] As part of his role in the pro-independence demonstrations prior to the Catalan independence referendum of 2017, he has been imprisoned since October 2017 under charges of sedition and violent rebellion brought by the Spanish prosecutor's office. Amnesty International believes his detention constitutes a disproportionate restriction on his rights to free speech and peaceful assembly, and urges Spain to free him.

http://www.docsbarcelona.com/en/doc/avec-un-sourire-la-revolution/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Audrius Stonys at DocsBarcelona

Written 21-05-2019 14:42:06 by Tue Steen Mller

Audrius Stonys at DocsBarcelona

I have made a copy paste of the fine text from the DocsBarcelona website, presenting the presence of Lithuanian documentary master director Audrius Stonys:

7 SHOTS 7 is the annual proposal of DocsBarcelona to a personality in the audiovisual world. This year, due to the premiere in Barcelona of Audrius Stonys’ latest and acclaimed documentary Bridges of Time (thursday at 18.15, Aribau 4), winner of the Best Documentary Award at Latvian National Film Award in Latvia and Special Mention of the Jury of Batumi International Art -house FF in Georgia, the Lithuanian filmmaker will reflect on the language of cinema with 7 shots or sequences specially chosen for the occasion.

Audrius Stonys is visiting DocsBarcelona again after presenting here in 2017, his film Woman and the Glacier, ​​a poetic story about a solitary woman and an everlasting glacier, and receiving the ex-aequo What the Doc Award. The festival audience will be able to enjoy the screening of his latest work, Bridges of Time and the presence of the director, who will take part in post-screening discussions.

We have invited him to talk about his films in a master class format through a very personal selection of fragments and sequences. A unique opportunity to get to know the cinematography of one of the most internationally-renowned documentary makers. Through this selection of seven shots, we will discover what inspires him to make films, what stories and characters have captivated him throughout his life, what motivates him to create new documentaries and how he manages to take his ideas to the big screen. The master class (CCCB at 19) will be moderated by DocsBarcelona’s head of programming, ​​Tue Steen Müller.

Audrius Stonys, Lithuanian film director and producer with a long career, has won numerous international awards. He studied Film Direction at the Jonas Mekas Anthology Film Archive in New York. His documentary Earth of the Blind was recognized by the European Film Academy as the best documentary of the year and also won the Félix Award. His documentary Ramin, created in collaboration with VFS Films, received the Lithuanian nomination for the Oscars in 2012. He has given conferences and lectures around the world.

www.docsbarcelona.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona & Len Siminiani

Written 21-05-2019 08:19:50 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona & Len Siminiani

At the DocsBarcelona today, at a special session the first episode of a new Netflix original documentary series will be screened. Normally I would say, all right and so what, but as the director is León Siminiani I am interested. Siminiani was at the festival in 2013, where he pitched ”Mapa”, a film that I have praised, link below – and a film with a trailer that I have used again and again at workshops because of its crazy and personal anti-trailer presentation of a film, that held its promise and became a film by a true auteur. Curious to see how he has brought his talent into a Netflix documentary that has the following content:

El caso Alcàsser is a documentary series composed of 5 episodes that analyse and investigate one of the most controversial cases in the Spanish history. The triple assassination of three teenagers in 1992 shook the foundations of the Spanish society, trespassing limits not only due to its harshness but also because of its impacting mediatic retransmission. 25 years after, the resolution of the case and its consequences still cause controversy.

At the CCCBh at 19.00 with the presence of the director. Language: Spanish.

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2250/

www.docsbarcelona.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona Many Full Houses & Tiny Souls

Written 20-05-2019 08:56:20 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona Many Full Houses & Tiny Souls

Joan Gonzalez, director of the festival this morning, in Catalan: Bon dia! Ahir amb mes de 2100 espectadors va ser el dia amb mes afluència de públic de totes les edicions del @DocsBarcelona No podem començar millor la segona setmana del festival. Moltes gràcies!

Did you get it: Sunday, the best day in terms of audience in the history of DocsBarcelona... a happy man, who loves statistics, and of course it is good news, when the audience responds positively to the programming we did, we meaning Pol Roig Turró, Martina Rogers, Dani Jariod, Diego Mas Trelles, Joan Gonzalez with me at the head of the table.

I was in the Aribau cinema, where there were full houses for "Aquarela" and "The Ancient Woods"... and of course for "Avec un sourire, la revolution" by Canadian Alexandre Chartrand, synopsis "What happened on October 1st? An unprecedented look at the self-determination process from the director’s subjective point of view brings us to the forefront of the fight. Grass-roots activists, street protesters, Catalan leaders and spontaneous mobilizations are the testimonies of a cinematographic portrait depicting civil disobedience in Catalonia, where repression is fought with a smile.

My personal experience, however, was to be at the screening to introduce and moderate the extended Q&A of "Tiny Souls" by Palestinian/Jordanian Dina Naser. 50-60 spectators watched a film with a warm heart and a dedicated director, who followed three siblings - Marwa, Aya and Mahmoud - and their life in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. For four years the director was in contact with the family and what we spectators got was a beautiful film with several layers: this is how it looks in a refugee camp, this is what kids from Syria talk about, when their country is at war, this is childhood, this is how children act everywhere BUT the background is sooo different from that of my grandchildren back in Copenhagen. Marwa is the central character growing up from being the little child to being the girl, who has boyfriend(s) with whom she secretly talks on the cell phone. Dina Naser gave the kids a camera, they filmed, it increased the authenticity of the film. Marwa and her family are now back in Syria, the director has lost contact with her. With a fine voice-over Dina Naser refers to what her father told her about 1948 and his staying in refugee camps in Palestine. Great film that had its premiere at CPH:Dox but was rejected by IDFA, whose Bertha Fund supported the film!

A sad film of course but full of life, wishing the best for Marwa and her family!

http://www.docsbarcelona.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Artemio Benki: Solo

Written 19-05-2019 14:51:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Artemio Benki: Solo

Towards the end of the film, Martìn Perino is in a school class with his friend, the dancer Solé. He talks to the students: ”Solé and I would like you to write down, what you feel or think, when you listen to the music, I am going to play. Please put your words down on a piece of paper”.

They do so. Now it is my turn to put down, what I feel and think after having watched ”Solo” – for the second time. I feel that I have been given the gift of getting very close to a man with an extraordinary musical talent. For playing and composing. A very generous move from a fragile man, who spent 3 years at el Borda, the psychiatric hospital in Buenos Aires, gets out from there but is still under treatment. He lets me suffer with him, be happy and enjoy, when he is at the piano. And a very – towards him – respectful and compassionate



Read more / Ls mere

Vurdering:

 
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DocsBarcelona is Green..

Written 19-05-2019 10:02:21 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona is Green..

The wonderful photo above from the opening of DocsBarcelona some days ago does not represent the whole truth. Green should have been more dominant. At least according to my experience yesterday, where I was in the cinema for 6 hours attending three screenings, where two of them were with "a green message": Mindaugas Survila's magnificent visual poem, "The Ancient Woods" and the equally magnificent "Honeyland by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubo Stefanov. If you add - ok same superlative - "Aquarela" by Viktor Kossakovsky and Greek Marianna Economou's "When Tomatoes Met Wagner" you have a collection of advocates for "we have to do something for our planet before it's too late...". From different angles.

This sounds very political correct but first and foremost the selection of films for DocsBarcelona has been done from cinematic criteria. And they were appreciated by the audience, I can confirm from being in the cinema hall. Colleague of Mindaugas Survila, the director of "The Ancient Woods", Gintė ulytė from Lithuania, made a fine introduction to the film and answered questions about the patience it takes to film animals - waiting for the moose to appear - how the sound design was constructed for a film without words, how she (Ginté) had helped with the script writing as the film has a dramaturgy like any other film. The film sold around 55.000 cinema tickets in Lithuania and a good part of that income is saved for buying ancient woods to keep it for the animals and to keep us humans away... That message made the audience applaud.

As it did after the screening of "Honeyland", where cameraman Samir Ljuma and director Tamara Kotevska charmed the audience talking about wonderful Hatidze and her life in the mountains of Macedonia. "Honeyland" has been praised on this site so no more words about its qualities, but click the link below and support what the filmmakers and Hatidze are doing... Honey with the right taste, original, as many of the spectators experience last night at the Aribau cinema at DocsBarcelona...

... where I also attended the premiere of Èric Motjer's "Beirut - la vie en Rose", a visit to the tormented capital of Lebanon, where the - as John Lennon would have said it - filthy rich rattle their jewels. The director has found some interesting characters, who take him to glorious parties in music video style sequences contrasted to a sympathetic Englishman, who talks about the past accompanied by his mother: those were the days. The son has not given up, he has plans for the future, and Mauricio, a super rich man sets up a shopping mall: The war in Syria is good for business in Lebanon. Oh yes!

The three screenings gave (almost) full house so I walked home to the hotel with a smile on my face. DocsBarcelona in full swing, indeed!

https://honeyland.earth

http://www.docsbarcelona.com/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona in Full Swing

Written 18-05-2019 10:19:53 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona in Full Swing

Indeed, that was a lovely Friday at the cinema – in Barcelona on the second day of full program. As one of the programmers of the DocsBarcelona festival, it is a pleasure to sit with the audience to see how it reacts to what we have selected. There were 8 screenings yesterday, I was at two and a half… no I did not walk out from one but screening schedules overlap.

Sooo… lovely it was to watch and enjoy Marlén Viñayo’s „Cachada” with a numerous enthusiastic audience, that was totally seduced by the women, who take part in a theatre workshop, where they live out their traumas from childhood, the domestic violence and abuse they have experienced. Girls, they call themselves, the wonderful passionate big women with humour and the wish to share their feelings, to open their wounds to each other and the audience to whom they convey their stories in a theatrical version. Yes, films are appealing to your emotions and the old documentary addict, who is writing this text, was in tears at the end of the film, as were many in the CCCB theatre.

Marlén Viñayo, whose first film it is, was at the DocsBarcelona rough cut session two years ago, and from a film point of view it was great to see how the young director has managed to find her way of storytelling, her dramaturgy. The film has its European premiere at DocsBarcelona. It will travel!

Premiere – the same goes for ”Operation Globus” by another young female director Ariadna Seuba Serra, produced by Guillermo F. Flórez with the local broadcaster TV3 as partner. I popped in to watch the beginning of a film, that was also at the DocsBarcelona rough cut session – and afterwards I had the pleasure to look at several versions of a film about men from my generation, who wanted to explore the world, 40 years ago. Great archive material, a looking back on an adventure and a friendship from the young years. They were all there, the protagonists, it is always interesting to see those, who took their time to be in a film… will catch up on their reactions as I had to hurry for

… ”Privacy of Wounds”, which is a Norwegian production with Palestinian/Jordanian Dalia al-Kury as the director being present. ”I am happy if there are a bit more than 20 spectators”, she said to me – there was three times 20, if I am not mistaken, who in total silence and concentration was watching and listening to three Syrian men, who in a cell in Oslo, made for the film, with the director as the prison guard (!), with 3 days of shooting, convey how it was to be in a detention centre in Syria. The film is excellent, with an amazingly intelligent approach that works, an aesthetic choice she had made to give us horrible stories that touches the heart and makes you think… how long is this going to continue. Oufff!

www.docsbarcelona.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Viktor Kossakovsky at His Best

Written 17-05-2019 10:34:13 by Tue Steen Mller

Viktor Kossakovsky at His Best

… and when that is the case, like last night at DocsBarcelona, the participants get a memorable treat at a masterclass from a master, who has a lot to say about filmmaking. And who is a performer, who knows how to entertain.

I was the moderator of the almost two hour session, an easy job. I started reminding Kossakovsky about Bornholm, the Danish island in the Baltic Sea, where in 1997 he showed «Wednesday» at the Balticum Film & TV Festival, the film where he finds people born in Leningrad on the same day and the same year as himself: 1961. He remembered it and he also remembered that I was hesitant to say if I liked the film or not... right he was, it is not my favourite film from Kossakovsky. But what a memory he has!

And it was on Bornholm that «Aquarela» was born. The director was editing „Pavel and Lalya“ there, the film about one of his heroes, director Pavel Kogan, and his wife, shot in Tel Aviv, where they lived at a moment, where Pavel was about to leave this world. The editing took place in Svaneke, where the Baltic Media Centre was situated at that time, the organisation behind the festival and workshops for Baltic and Russian filmmakers and journalists.

Kossakovsky told us last night that in Svaneke he was looking at the Baltic sea from his window, fascinated by the waves and the changing colours of the sea. He told BBC’s  Nick Fraser, who was helping him a lot at that time, about it – Fraser said that noone will watch a film like that! I would probably have said the same...

Viktor Kossakovsky went home to Saint Petersburg looking out another window, the one from his flat, which became the film «Tishe!».

From these flashbacks Viktor Kossakovsky, with the help of several questions, went to «Aquarela» and the many stories he could tell about how he «read» the nature. The speed of the icebergs, how to film them, how to stabilise the cameras on board the boat in stormy weather, and a long talk about the cars on the ice and the one, who falls into the water, gets up and is helped by the director’s first assistant, who was on stage at the opening night, Ainara Vera. Very moving.

He also talked about the sequence with the waterfall – and shocking to me and others, he said that the editing of the film, which he had «learned by doing» at his time at film school and by helping Russian director Sokurov – the editing of «Aquarela» took 2 weeks! Whereas the sound & music editing took half a year!

It was great to hear the director talk warmly about his team, carefully «casted» for the job, their professionalism and dedication – and how they had to cheat a bit the producer to make more risky things out their in the wilderness, the beautiful planet that we are so good in destroying.

There are two more screenings of “Aquarela” at the festival, check this

http://www.docsbarcelona.com/en/doc/aquarela/

... and the film goes on a cinema in the USA, starting in August – and a Danish premiere, sorry for being “red & white”, will take place in September.


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Viktor Kossakovsky Opens DocsBarcelona

Written 16-05-2019 08:51:14 by Tue Steen Mller

Viktor Kossakovsky Opens DocsBarcelona

Full house, of course, for the opening screening of "Aquarela" by Viktor Kossakovsky, who was there on stage answering a few questions, asking his first assistant director and editor on the film, Ainara Vera, to come to the stage and receive an applause for her contribution to the film, a fine gesture from the side of the Russian director.

The director of the festival Joan Gonzalez welcomed Kossakovsky with some Russian phrases and Roger de Gràcia, toastmaster for DocsBarcelona opening and closing ceremonies, created a fine atmosphere in the cinema playing with the colours of the festival: Green for Nature (many films), Yellow for Politics (several films) and Red for Women (many female directors and films about women). Political correct, yes, but conveyed in an unpretentious manner.

Back to Kossakovsky, who has been closely followed on this site. Colleague Allan Berg has made "Collected Posts on Viktor Kossakovsky":

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4425/

and if you want to read the review of "Aquarela": http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4408/

http://www.docsbarcelona.com/en/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

EDN Bylaws Violated - Action Needed/2

Written 15-05-2019 23:09:18 by Tue Steen Mller

First there was this one - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4530/ - "EDN Bylaws Violated..."

Then there was a letter from the (self-appointed) interim director Flore Deroose sent to EDN members via EDN Admin System, if you did not get it, ask her on flore@edn.network

Then there was this response to what the interim director wrote from my former EDN colleague at the time, where EDN was built up, Cecilia Lidin:

In response to the email sent by interim director Flore Deroose (that incidentally unfortunately did not reach all EDN members) the following issues were not correctly explained: It was not one member that stepped down, it was the whole board. Jan Riemen’s election as Chair was an interim measure, the rest of the new board was not appointed by the former board.

Jan Rofekamp was not in the former board (and not in the first board after the old board stepped down) and is therefore not a ‘remaining member’.
The wording in §7 ‘If a member of the Board during a term decides to step down, the remaining members of the Board may continue with a minimum of three members to act as a transitional until the next General Assembly’ is therefore no valid.

Furthermore the following issues were not addressed :

For a period there were only two board members.

‘The board may appoint an Executive director from outside the board’ §8, so Flore Deroose cannot be part of the board.

Three out of four members of the board needs to come from different countries.

Moving the office is against §1.

The termination of the old staff members contracts was executed by Paul Pauwels but while Jan Riemens was head of the board. As far as we know only one from the previous staff has a new contract with EDN, and this is one that is not working with content.

The main argument seems to be that an extreme situation called for extreme measures. But this is unacceptable. With a management (and I maintain that they are self-installed) that acts in total disrespect to the associations by-laws, how on earth can we trust that they work in the best interest of the paying members? And besides, what they are doing is basically against the law...


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona Festival

Written 15-05-2019 12:05:37 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona  Festival

Yes, it is tonight that DocsBarcelona opens with the screening of "Aquarela" by Viktor Kossakovsky, a dear friend of the festival and a true master of cinema. The festival runs until the 25th with films in the CCCB, cultural centre, and in the Aribau Cinema. After being in airplanes for six hours travelling from Tbilisi in Georgia, I reached Barcelona last night ready to introduce and talk with some of the 25 directors, who will be attending. First nice challenge is to have a talk with Kossakovsky tomorrow at the CCCB Theatre at 19.30.

As you have seen on the FB link, I had a haircut and a shave in Tbilisi for CinéDoc festival and DocsBarcelona.

Click below to see the good programme we have put together.

www.docsbarcelona.com


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Winners of CinDOC-Tbilisi 2019

Written 15-05-2019 11:17:24 by Tue Steen Mller

Winners of CinDOC-Tbilisi 2019

International Competition

Best Film –The Disappearance of My Mother (Photo) - by Beniamino Barrese

Jury statement - “This film openly talks about respect, dignity, beauty and honesty. The film makes us think about how we treat privacy and who has the right to use it, which is a very important question for any documentary film. An emotional insight into a relationship between mother and son.”

Beniamino Barrese, Director of The Disappearance of My Mother - “A million times thank you for this great uplifting warming cinematic and human experience. It was so great! Looking forward to meet you all again and hopefully share more cinematic and human experience... We are full of the beauty of the last days, travelling to Poland. I haven't seen my mum so happy for a while and I'm so thankful of that to you all.”

Current Time TV Award - My father is My Mother’s Bother” by Vadim Ilkov

Kenan Alyiev, Executive Editor of Current Times TV – “The award goes to My Father is My Mother's Brother by Vadim Ilkov. In this touching and intimate documentary the director shows the fragility of parental bonds, and the mystery that imbues the relationship between a child and an underground artist in a family struggling for happiness and normality. With this award we recognize the power of the director to speak about current realities with an artistic approach, and the deep understanding he brings to the characters.”

Special Jury Mention – Honeyland by Lubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska

Jury Statement–“Exceptional images in a simple story that opens many



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Arthur Sukiasyan: Wound

Written 14-05-2019 05:52:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Arthur Sukiasyan: Wound

Csilla Kato, member of the Caucasus Jury at Cinédoc Tbilisi wrote this longer version of motivation for the winner:

Earthquake shakes our basic security feeling and the basic assumption, belief, that we can accommodate comfortable life on a supporting and peaceful earth.

Wound brings us into a human world where the Armenian earthquake stricken town people integrated this experience of living with open wounds of earthquake tragedy for a long run.

It is a state of being that can be spiritually rewarding, as one of the protagonists states, referring to the example of Job from Bible.The film builds up a special time world, with the slowly changing rhythm of the sequences, long takes with still images, as well as the rhythm of the movement of the people in the film. The jury appreciated the craft of minimalist cinema used by Arthur Sukiasyan, through which he succeeds to evoke the state of being of people on the edge of existence.

Armenia, 2019, 25 mins.

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/


Vurdering:

 
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Civil Pitch Tbilisi 2019

Written 13-05-2019 09:55:01 by Tue Steen Mller

Civil Pitch Tbilisi 2019

10 projects were part of the Civil Pitch in Tbilisi, one of the activities of the Industry section of Cinédoc Tbilisi festival in the capital of Georgia.

After a couple of days of training led by Daniel Abma and Brigid O’Shea, both from the DOKLeipzig, the NGO representatives and filmmakers were ready to present their projects to a panel including representatives from IDFA Bertha Fund, Baltic Sea Docs, Current Time TV, Golden Apricot Festival in Jerevan, One World Festival in Prague, DOK Leipzig…

The idea of the Civil Pitch is great: The NGO’s bring the subjects, the filmmakers the film skills. More or less, because many of the filmmakers were quite young and unexperienced – learning by doing.

They all did a good presentation, verbally, with passion and enthusiasm, more difficult with the visuals – the trailers/teasers – as many of the projects were very young as the filmmakers. What impressed me was the quality of language skills and that the NGO’s and filmmakers matched each other in a way that I sometimes had difficulties in understanding, who is who.

For me, who had the pleasure of moderating the session, the Civil Pitch gives me a fine inside to the troubles of the country, the issues needed to be discussed – like transgender, to be a young activist, to have lost a son in the war, people with disabilities, hate groups, pollution (yes, it’s terrible on the Rustaveli Boulevard) and North Ossetia that is a melting point of different cultures, the Ossetian, the Georgian and the Russian. Not to forget a project about a silent monk worshipped by thousands of people outside the official religious circles.

The venue – as previous years – was at the Open Society Georgia Foundation. Great hosts.

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/


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Nicolas Philibert in Tbilisi

Written 10-05-2019 06:28:42 by Tue Steen Mller

Nicolas Philibert in Tbilisi

After the screening of a beautiful 2018 restored copy of “Etre et Avoir”, the film by Nicolas Philibert, that he made in 2001 to be premiered in 2002, to be an amazing audience success in cinemas in France, 2 mio. spectators (!) and elsewhere – a conversation (see photo taken by Georgian film director Nino Orjonikidze) took place at the Cinédoc festival in Tbilisi between Philibert and me. One hour of talk with a master about the film just shown and about filmmaking as Philibert sees it after having been making documentaries since the mid of the 1970’es.

He is such a generous and thoughtful cinéaste which is easy to see if you know (some of) his films, let me just mention wonderful films like ”Nénette” (the orangutang who is soon celebrating her 50th birthday!), ”Every Little Thing”, ”La Maison de la Radio”, ”In the Land of the Deaf”, ”Louvre City”…

The conversation was recorded and will later be found on the site of the festival.

When my wife and I saw the film the first time, in 2003 I think is was, we were talking about the film and the method, the pedagogics of the teacher, now 15 years later we were talking mostly about the children in the film, who enter the school for the first time as do “our” grandchildren back in Copenhagen. Oh, childhood… and thanks for conveying all these magic and poetic moments of curiosity and innocence to us, monsieur Philibert!

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/ 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CinDOC-Tbilisi Opened Last Night

Written 09-05-2019 13:54:50 by Tue Steen Mller

CinDOC-Tbilisi Opened Last Night

... in the Capital of Georgia. It was an unpretentious presentation with two skilled presenters and - unlike many international festivals - it happened in both Georgian and English language. With clips from all competitive sections (for the young, the Caucasus and the international competition) and from the Red Soul section that includes films by Vitaly Mansky, Dziga Vertov, Werner Herzog and others. A small section consequently includes a Red Soul Party with vodka, beer and Soviet food! Tonight. I am happy, see the photo, to be in the Caucasus jury, with Kenan Aliyev and Csilla Kato. Aliyev works with Current Time TV, that is sponsoring 3 awards at the festival (Intl. competition, Civil Doc and New Talent presentation), the channel is truly supporting new film people here and in other parts of Eastern Europe, bravo for that. Csilla Kato is from the reputed Astra Film festival in Sibiu in Romania. Which has been written about several times on this site - here is one of the links: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4372/

The opening film was "Honeyland", full house in the cinema for this masterpiece from North Macedonia. If you want to know more about that film, use the "search" and you will get there. Has been praised numerous times on this site.

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Time Trial as Doc of the Month

Written 05-05-2019 20:18:49 by Tue Steen Mller

Time Trial as Doc of the Month

DocsBarcelona starts in 10 days. I have written about the upcoming festival, link below.

But DocsBarcelona has many other rooms. One of them is the Documentary of the Month that includes one film being shown at 75 venues in Spain and later on in countries in Latin America. In cinemas, in culture houses, in libraries… check the link below.

It is an amazing film cultural initiative.

In the month of May, it is the Scottish director Finlay Pretsell’s “Time Trial” that is offered to the audience. Here is what the site says about the film:



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Laila Pakalnina in Paris

Written 03-05-2019 11:07:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Laila Pakalnina in Paris

So well deserved an honour – Latvian Laila Pakalnina has a big retrospective of her mostly short documentaries at Centre Pompidou in Paris, to be more precise, organised by La Cinématheque du Documentaire at the Bibliothéque Publique d’Information. 20 films will be shown. 2 weeks starting tonight.

Entitled ”Laila Pakalnina, Drôle de Réel”, ” La première rétrospective consacrée à cette cinéaste lettone en France, en sa présence..."

"Si le cinéma n’existait pas, je serais devenue marchande de glace (le premier métier dont j’ai rêvé). Mais le cinéma, c’est mieux que les glaces !" On peut d'abord se féliciter du choix de carrière de Laila Pakalnina, mais aussi tenter de définir son art à partir de son propos farceur… »

I know the films of Pakalnina since the 1990’es, where her b/w - with no words – short films like The Ferry, The Postman came out. Pakalnina’s films later on are very different, one from the other but always with her own special signature and always surprising and many times full of humour. She has indeed this « drôle » look at life.

For our French reading filmkommentaren visitors there is a long fine article on the site of the Cinématheque, link below. Here is a small quote from an article on this site, caption « Fishing in the River of Time » :

– Every film for me means risk. I am not craftsman; I am not delivering certain product. I am making film and that means breathtaking balancing between shit and art. I hope for art of course. And I admire this risk. As for me this is the only way how to make film… – I call my method of work “Fishing in the river of time”. As life is extremely talented, we just put camera, set composition and wait. And life happens. So film happens. Sometimes immediately, sometimes in hours and even days…

https://www.facebook.com/events/452694762202174/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4318/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2435/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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