Filmkommentaren

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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.  


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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/


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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   


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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/


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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!


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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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Vurdering:

 
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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!

 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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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Categories: TV, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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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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.


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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.


Vurdering:

 
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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.


Vurdering:

 
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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/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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 


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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



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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


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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/


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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


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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/


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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



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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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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/


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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/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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

IDFA Forum Changes

Written 01-05-2019 08:52:06 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Forum Changes

… ”goes tailor-made, expands cross-media Market for 2019”, the festival announced yesterday, April 30, talking about pitch setups needed in a ”rapidly changing documentary industry”.

In the text, click below and read it all in details, it is stressed that the focus will be „more centered towards the specific needs of the pitching teams, paying attention to the uniqueness of each project and team, and inviting the teams to present their projects in the way that best suits their work and stage of development”. With feedback of course from financiers and THIS I LIKE VERY MUCH: ”to allow room for in-depth conversations about the artistic intentions and goals of the team.”

If I get it right there are three steps in the new pattern: Public pitch followed by feedback from a hand-picked panel and then individual meetings.

And, THIS I LIKE VERYMUCH AS WELL: ”… the Forum is adjusting to changing financing structures, while opening up to also include films with less clear-cut narratives and new ways of storytelling.” Meaning less boring formatted projects, more surprises, more experiments… hope I am right.

https://www.idfa.nl/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Frames 2019

Written 28-04-2019 08:37:01 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Frames 2019

Der er baltisk film på programmet i Cinemateket i København fra den 7. til den 19. maj. Under overskriften ”Baltic Frames” vises fem spillefilm og fire dokumentarer fra de baltiske lande. Arrangør er Det Danske Kulturinstitut i Estland, Letland og Litauen med Simon Holmberg Drewsen og hans team i Riga med økonomisk hjælp fra ambassaderne i Danmark – og undertegnede har haft en finger med ved udvælgelsen af dokumentarfilmene.

Det er en dokumentarist, lettiske Davis Simanis, som åbner den fine lille festival. Simanis, (links below to take you to texts about his documentaries), er til stede i København, hvor hans spillefilm ”The Mover” (foto) bliver vist – efter netop at have været vist ved Moskva Film Festival. Filmen introduceres på Cinematekets hjemmeside således: ”Ingen kunne have forudset, at Zanis Lipke ville redde lettiske jøder og blive en helt under 2. verdenskrig. For at kunne brødføde sin familie arbejdede han på de tyske militærbaser og supplerede sin løn ved at smugle flygtninge om natten. Filmen undersøger, hvorvidt Zanis’ mod stammer fra hans eventyrlyst, stædighed eller en følelse af ansvar over for mennesker i nød.”

Traditionen tro åbner ”Baltic Frames” med Herz Franks mesterstykke ”Ten Minutes Older” fra 1978 og Frank er også en af hovedpersonerne i hyldesten til den poetiske dokumentar, som den udfoldede sig i Sovjettiden i de baltiske lande. ”Bridges of Time” er lavet i et samarbejde mellem lettiske Kristine Briede og litauiske Audrius Stonys. Mindaugas Survila viser sin bemærkelsesværdige naturfilm ”The Ancient Woods”, som har solgt over 50.000 billetter i hjemlandet, estiske ”Rodeo – Taming a Wild Country” er et muntert og informativt tilbageblik på de første frie valg i Estland.

Instruktørerne er Kiur Aarma og Raimo Jöerand, som er i Cinemateket den 11. maj. Og så er der den lettiske ”Inga can Hear”, som lige nu er udvalgt til HotDocs festivalen i Toronto. Instruktør Kaspars Goba.

Læs mere om filmene på

https://www.dfi.dk/cinemateket/biograf/filmserier/serie/baltic-frames-0

Simanis, Escaping Riga, http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2937/

Simanis, Chronicles of the Last Temple, http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2851/

Simanis, Sounds of the Sun, http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1305/

Simanis, D is for Division, http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4207/


Categories: Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

How Big is the Galaxy?

Written 25-04-2019 19:43:01 by Tue Steen Mller

How Big is the Galaxy?

… is the title of the wonderful film by Ksenia Elyan, who won  the Best Feature Documentary Award at the Doker Festival in Moscow. I have seen it pitched on several occasions and the promises planted on these occasions were held. Charming boys, scenes full of energy and humour. Here is the synopsis:

“Zakhar lives among the vast Arctic spaces of Siberia, 100 miles away from human dwellings. He is 7, but he has his own reindeer and tundra for pasture. One day his nomad family is joined by a teacher, sent by the authorities to explain to the kids why why they need math and Putin. It’s the 1st grade for Zakhar and the 3rd for his brother Prokopy. The teacher is supposed to give them a standard set of knowledge, but Zakhar craves answers to millions questions about the world.” 

At the award ceremony in Moscow the director, asked the audience to stand up to honour Alexander Rastorguev, who was co-producer of the film – together with cameraman Kirill Radchenko and reporter Orhan Dzhemal he was killed while making a film in the Central African Republic on Russian mercenaries. It was a moving moment full of dignity. “Without him the film would never have been made”, she and Estonian producer Max Tuula said.

I saw the film at IDFA - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4411/

www.midff.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow Film Festival

Written 24-04-2019 09:36:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Krakow Film Festival

Let me leave the floor to this very inviting and good festival itself with this quote from the website: KFF is one of the oldest events in Europe dedicated to documentary, animated and short feature films. Its core consists of four competitions of equal rank: documentary film competition, short film competition, national competition and music documentary film competition DocFilmMusic. During the eight festival days, the viewers have a chance to watch about 250 films from Poland and from around the world. They are shown in competition sections and in special screenings. The festival is accompanied by exhibitions, concerts, open-air shows and meetings with artists. Every year, the festival is visited by approximately 700 Polish and international guests: directors, producers, festival programmers and numerous Krakow audience...



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona Festival

Written 23-04-2019 10:53:22 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona  Festival

In terms of number of films DocsBarcelona is a small festival. 30. Where other documentary festivals invite the audience to choose between 100 or even more films, we make it easier, as we have already made a strong selection among hundred of films to come to this point: “Here you have 30 films, make your choice, we are sure there is something for you”. “There is something for whatever taste you have, except for the bad…”

Yes, we use the buzz words of today: Diversity and Quality. The documentary has many rooms. Those days are gone, where the documentary was considered to be a boring visual lecture meant for the classroom, being the truth about a subject or a theme. Especially...



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CinDOC-Tbilisi Intl. Doc. Film Festival

Written 22-04-2019 18:51:48 by Tue Steen Mller

CinDOC-Tbilisi Intl. Doc. Film Festival

May 8 – 13 in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, the seventh edition of the documentary festival that I visited the first time at the opening edition as a juror , where the main awards were given to Lithuanian Lina Luzyte for « Igrushki » and Polish Pawel Kloc for « Phnom Penh Lullaby ». Last year the organisers, filmmakers Artchil Khetagouri and Ileana Stanculescu, showed, among many international quality documentaries « Infinite Football » by Romanian Corneliu Porumbolu accompanied by a football match, led by the main character of the film Laurentiu Ginghina, where I had the honour to be the referee ! An experience full of fun !



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Beldocs Belgrade

Written 21-04-2019 12:04:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Beldocs Belgrade

The documentary festival in Belgrade with more than 100 films, and a full-bodied industry program starts in 17 days. The website is not totally up and running – ”coming soon” it says many places – and a lot is in Serbian, that I ought to master after 15 years of the other Belgradian festival ”Magnificent7” festival, but as the organisers and people around them speak so good English…

100 films means many parallel screenings, hope that it does not mean that some screenings are ”cannibalised” by others – on the other hand Belgrade has a formidable audience, when it comes to documentaries.

There is a fine retrospective with the legendary Japanese director Kazuo Hara, Croat Goran Devic shows 9 of his often critical works, there is in collaboration with DocLisboa a series of Portuguese documentaries, there are great films like American ”Minding the Gap” by Bing Liu (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4473/) Norwegian ”Reconstructing Utøya” by Carl Javér, ”My Unknown Soldier” by Anna Kryvenko, (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4473/) who got a mention at the ZagrebDox, ”RBG” by Julie Cohen and Betsy West (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4464/), ”Summa” by Andrei Kutsila (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4410/), ”Doel” by Danish Frederik Sølberg, the dubious ”Meeting Gorbachev” by Herzog and André Singer (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4386/, ”To Be Continued” by Ivars Seleckis (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4075/) , ”The Trial” by Sergei Loznitsa (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4393/ ), and many others that have been noticed on this site.

The festival has an international and a national competition. In the latter there is a new film by Andrijana Stojkovic, “Gipsy Mafia” that has this description „Two brothers – Skill and Buddy – have been making hip-hop for over 10 years and releasing DIY albums. In their native Serbia, they belong to the disadvantaged Roma population and in Germany, where they live now, they are migrant workers with a temporary residence permit. In their songs, they fiercely criticize racism, segregation of Roma and neo-liberal capitalism. They’ve just released their third album and set off on an unusual European tour...“

Considering that her previous film, „Wongar“, was on its way for a decade, it is a sensation that this film is made so quickly, was it during less than a year, the director, a dear friend, told me.

... and after recently having won the main award at the Visions du Réel in Nyon, German master director Thomas Heise is at Beldocs with his “Heimat Is a Space in Time”, 218 mins., longing to watch that film!

Photo from wonderful "Los Reyes" Bettina Perut and Iván Osnovikoff, featuring Chola and Football! Go and see that, dear dog lovers in Belgrade!

https://beldocs.rs/en/filmovi/#


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Hot Docs Canadian Intl. Doc Festival

Written 20-04-2019 12:19:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Hot Docs Canadian Intl. Doc Festival

Gosh, it’s big, the upcoming festival in Toronto. This is what is said on the website: “Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, offers an outstanding selection of over 200 films from Canada and around the world to Toronto audiences of more than 200,000.” On another place of the site, it is more precise: 232 films from April 25 to May 5.

It is a complicated website to navigate, with many sections, I went from one to the other ending up finding the solution: download the schedule, scroll down and it will be easier to see what is being screened. Link below. Let me also mention that there is a big industry section.

All right, let me mention some of the films I was happy to find in different



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Categories: Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Documentaries at Moscow Film Festival

Written 19-04-2019 20:24:23 by Tue Steen Mller

Documentaries at Moscow Film Festival

Ten days after the Doker International Documentary Festival (https://www.midff.com) ended, there are more documentaries to enjoy for the Moscow audience. Where the Doker festival is sailing under the flag of being independent, the official Moscow Film Festival operates (quoted from website)

“with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Moscow Government and the Department of Culture of the City of Moscow.” The festival has existed for 41 years, “for many years the President of the MIFF has been the Russian director and actor Nikita Mikhalkov”, it is a Red Carpet festival, that for the seventh year has included documentaries in a



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nikolaus Geyerhalters Earth Closes M7

Written 16-04-2019 10:56:47 by Tue Steen Mller

Nikolaus Geyerhalters Earth Closes M7

Of course it was a scoop for us at the Magnificent7 Festival to have Nikolaus Geyerhalter’s masterpiece as the closing film of the festival. A couple of months after its premiere at the Berlinale. A fine gesture from the director, who knows and loves the festival. It is magnificent in form and it touches strongly on what we are doing to our planet. Contrary to some of his previous films that also has a grandeur in its aesthetical choice, like ”Homo Sapiens”, he in this film includes people working on the locations, he has chosen – in California, in Germany, in Italy… - to talk about what they do and what they think about what they do. When people ask me, what is my job, I answer ”I move mountains”, a big American worker says to Geyerhalter, who is behind the camera asking questions.

His own description of the film taken from its site - http://erde-film.at/english/themovie goes like this:

”Several billion tons of earth are moved annually by humans - with shovels, excavators or dynamite. An observation of people, in mines, quarries and at large construction sites, engaged in a constant struggle to take possession of the planet.”

Yes, to take possession of the planet, most of the workers are not happy about this but we need space and money to survive, to change nature into something profitable.

It is an amazing, mind blowing film that sits in your stomach and makes you think at the same time as you enjoy the images llike the photo above that comes from a sequence where machines perform their killing of the nature in a ballet kind of dance. A film from our planet with images that looks like taken from another planet.

http://www.magnificent7festival.org/en/zemlja.php


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Atos i Amin

Written 15-04-2019 10:23:18 by Tue Steen Mller

Atos i Amin

… is the title that festival directors Svetlana and Zoran Popovic use, much better they say than the English title “Gods of Molenbeek”, right they are, but the film is the same beautiful piece of poetry by first time feature duration director, Finnish Reetta Huhtanen, who was here at the Magnificent7 Festival and will go to HotDocs and DokFest München and CinéDoc Tbilisi. So well deserved. Huhtanen had a fine Q&A, well attended, after the screening last night.

Here are some clips of what we – meaning Svetlana and Zoran Popovic and me – have written about the film:

…The enchanting magic of childhood; the infinite contemplation over a leaf, a frog, a dark hole; accidental encounters that become the most significant ones in the world; the games which are the funniest and the most serious thing; curiosity, laughter, tiers, the unimaginable existence of honesty… (Popovic).

…We are the strongest in the world, they shout in one of their games, indeed they are, Aatos and Amine, who in the end split up, as Aatos is moving to Finland. It gave me a tear in the eye but I trust that a friendship like this will last. Tear in the eye, I had that many times, watching the boys and their happy faces wanting to discover the world. For me here is another tribute to childhood and imagination following – to mention two masterpieces –  films like Marcel Lozinski’s «Anything Can Happen» where the director’s son is running around in a park asking old people questions about God and Life and Death, and JoJo from Nicolas Philibert’s «Etre et Avoir».Please God, be good to Aatos and Amine!... (Müller)

The picture is taken in Helsinki, where I had the privilege to award the film as the best Finnish documentary of the year during the DocPoint festival. Aatos, 9 years, his mother and his little sister.

http://www.magnificent7festival.org/en/index.php


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Strong Female Presence at Magnificent7

Written 14-04-2019 09:11:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Strong Female Presence at Magnificent7

… indeed there is and it was also a woman, who was the first to say thank you for the selection of Claudia Tosi’s „I had A Dream” last night, Srbijanka Turajlic, the protagonist, the political activist and mother of the director of „The Other Side of Everything” Mila Turajlic. And a loyal spectator of the films of the Magnificent7 Festival here in Belgrade.

Great film, she said, and I could only agree. “I Had a Dream” is a film full of energy, and humour, a film that makes you happy seeing that there are women like the protagonists Daniela and Manuela, who try to change politics in Berlusconi’s Italy change with warmth and dedication. And make you sad as this is also a film about Europe today, where anti-European waves are everywhere as well as xenophobia. Claudia Tosi has found an excellent way of telling her story by  having on screen the two women comment, what we and they see during the many years, she has followed them. And Tosi has a fine direct way of  - off-screen – putting questions to the two, and she is there, when they have their political meetings locally and in the parliament. It's a no-bullshit film, an honest film.

Magnificent7 – seven films, where 6 of them this year are directed or co-directed by women.

3 more films will come, today two of them directed by women, Heddy Honigmann’s

“Buddy” and Reetta Huhtanen’s ”Gods of Molenbeek” will be shown.

http://www.magnificent7festival.org/en/index.php


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Serbian Documentary

Written 13-04-2019 12:47:54 by Tue Steen Mller

Serbian Documentary

Of course there has to be a post about Serbian documentaries being here in Belgrade. It’s going well, is my impression. There is a well functioning Serbian Film Centre, there is the association of DOKSERBIA, that in the 2017/18 catalogue announces around 25 film completed, plus a lot of shorts and a lot in development.

During the Magnificent7 two films were screened – the international hits of Mila Turajlic “Cinema Komunisto” and “The Other Side of Everything”

Reviewed on this site: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3125/

and

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4096/

and another good news is that the film of Andrijana Stojkovic “Wongar” (Photo) is travelling to HotDocs in Canada and to the festival in Krakow in June. Review here: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4137/

Let me mention the many talented makers, some experienced, some still with first or second films: Srdan Sarenac, Biljana Tutorov, Boris Mitic, producer Iva Plemic, Jovana and Dragan Nikolic, Senka Domanovic, Mladen Kovacevic, Zejlko Mirkovic, Ognjen Glavonic, Sonja Dekic, Jelena Stankovic (cameraperson) and of course the old master Zelimir Zilnic, who right now has a retrospective at the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

I am writing this on a Saturday at the hotel facing the parliament, where there will be a demonstration in about two hours, the opposition’s demo, expected are 1.5-2 million people, who are not happy with President Aleksander Vucic, to say the least. These demonstrations have taken place every Saturday for weeks. More later…

issuu.com / serbian docs 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Uldis Cekulis: The Story of a Film

Written 12-04-2019 12:19:48 by Tue Steen Mller

Uldis Cekulis: The Story of a Film

It’s been my passion since 1990, the Baltic documentary cinema and I have had so many wonderful moments together with filmmakers from the region, those living and those who have passed away. One more beautiful moment came here in Belgrade, where film number 100 was “Bridges of Time” by Audrius Stonys and Kristine Briede, who were her together with the one and only Uldis Cekulis, producer and cameraman, who for me is what a producer should be: always supportive, looking for solutions, always with his directors. And a perfect storyteller.

He did it with a previous film, “Klucis” by Peteris Krilovs, and he did it yesterday with “Bridges of Time”, telling the audience at the workshop the story of the film, with photos and clips, and documents, shown on the screen, letting in the voices of the two directors to comment.

It was superb and touching for me, who during the years was invited to meet Uldis Brauns, the man behind 235.000.000, the poet of us all as said Herz Frank, when I met him a couple of times in Tel Aviv, not to forget Ivars Seleckis, whose energetic company I enjoyed this year at ZagrebDox, and Mark Soosaar, an old friend from the years of the festival on Bornholm… and Henrikas Sablevicius, who taught me many things about film and 999. I stop here with some tears in eyes.

The screening of Bridges of Time, that is a tribute to poetic Cinema, was the well chosen film number 100 at Magnificent7 Festival here in Belgrade. A festival that is not suffering from bulimia, 7 films per year for 15 years. Thank you Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, whose photo is taken by Kristine Briede.

http://www.magnificent7festival.org/en/index.php


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Masterclass in Belgrade

Written 12-04-2019 11:34:11 by Tue Steen Mller

Masterclass in Belgrade

I have just said goodbye to the Macedonian cameraman Samir Ljuma, who expressed his joy to have been here at the Magnificent7 Festival, where 1300 spectators were totally enthusiastic about ”Honeyland”, the opening film tuesday night. Yes, I said, this is what festivals are for – the famous triangle of a film, the ones who have made it AND the audience.

Samir Ljuma did a workshop session together with Atanas Georgiev giving inside information on the production of the film, the editing, the camera work and of course the relationship with the protagonist Hatidze. Workshop session is a wrong word, it was a masterclass, so precise with one master, who was not there (editor and producer Atanas Georgiev) and one who was very much present, painting the film, Samir Ljuma, because a painting it is, in my review



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Grand Opening of Magnificent7 Festival

Written 10-04-2019 09:07:06 by Tue Steen Mller

Grand Opening of Magnificent7 Festival

A little after 8pm in Belgrade, at the Kombank Hall, Zoran Popovic, together with his wife Svetlana the director of the European Feature Documentary Film Festival that in the coming week celebrates its 15th edition, walks on stage to greet the audience. The applause is enormous, Zoran Popovic has an iconic status, the love to him has no end, he is greeted as a rock star, a lover of documentary films and a man who is able to formulate why documentaries are important and why we have been organising this event for 15 years. I was on stage to tell how proud I am to be part of the selection, to him and to the totally full house of 1300 spectators, yes 1300 spectators!

They came to see a masterpiece according to the producer and editor Atanas Georgiev, and according to me (review here http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4449/) and the audience seemed to agree, you could hear from the clapping of the hands, while the end credits were running. Atanas Georgiev and the cameraman Samir Ljuma had a more than one hour Q&A after the screening. And not be forgotten the beautiful moment, where Macedonian Zafir Hadzimanov was reciting a poem and singing before the film. He is a singer and actor. He played in musicals (like “Fiddler on the Roof”), and feature films.

You could not hope for a better opening of the festival that to night celebrates the screening of film number 100, ”Bridges of Time” by Kristine Briede an Audrius Stonys, who are both here together with one of the producers, Uldis Cekulis.

http://www.magnificent7festival.org/en/index.php


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOKer International Documentary Festival

Written 09-04-2019 14:55:29 by Tue Steen Mller

DOKer International Documentary Festival

It was a very pleasant festival to attend, the DOKer in Moscow. That ended last night. You sense immediately that the organisers are filmmakers, who spread their enthusiasm for the genre and want invited guests, fellow filmmakers to have a good stay in the metropolis. As a jury member you are treated perfectly – meeting questions like these all the time: ”Are you ok, is there anything we can do for you?”

For me it was the right thing to be at the festival during the whole period, watching films in a cinema and not online on a computer.

I was a juror in the short film competition, that had 14 films from 12



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOKer Short Film Winners

Written 09-04-2019 05:24:17 by Tue Steen Mller

DOKer Short Film Winners

Motivation for the Winning Film

For its ability to create atmosphere through a clear aesthetical choice, through its expressive language using methaphors to convey a personally experienced childhood trauma, the jury has chosen to award

SANATORIUM by Masha Osipova

Motivation for a Special Mention

For portraying a daughter/mother relationship with dignity and honesty, choosing to make a sad family story positive, with humour and warmth, the jury has chosen to give an honorary mention to

FAMILY IN EXILE by Fatima Matousse

Motivation for a Special Mention

For portraying a son/father relationship of great pain, using a powerful cinematic language, including the so-called hybrid, setting up scenes, the film has a therapeutical element and can be seen as a lessonin what cinema can do. The mention goes to

THE DAM by Natalia Koniarz

Motivation for a Special Mention

In this film the main hero had to go. But before that the one in question was  the central character in a family, whose members had very different opinions i in a story full of humour that is not always the case in documentaries.

The mention goes to TUNGRUS by Rishi Chandna

https://www.midff.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergey Dvortsevoy in Moscow

Written 08-04-2019 10:53:33 by Tue Steen Mller

Sergey Dvortsevoy in Moscow

8 years later… same place, Moscow, I met one of my documentary heroes, who has been written about so many times on this site. I met Dvortsevoy back in the 1990’es. One time on the island of Bornholm at the Balticum Film & TV Festival, where his ”Bread Day” was chosen as the best documentary – still remember that the film copy had not arrived and I had to ask the director if we could show it from a VHS cassette. Ouff! But he won! Since then I have met the director here and there and everywhere, last time 8 years ago when I was here for the Moscow International Film Festival.

I know very few directors, who are so passionate about his profession. Engaged, committed to social and human matters as he shows in his new fiction, « Ayka », that premiered in one version at the Cannes Film festival and in another one months later. Russian premiere in February 2019. I have not seen the film yet. It has brought him to festivals around the globe and the main character, played by Kazahk Samal Esljamova received the award as best female actress in Cannes.

Back to his documentary masterpieces, „Paradise” (1996), “Bread Day” (1998), “Highway” (1999), “In the Dark » - many have asked me where you can get hold of them. The good news from Dvortsevoy is that his films are being digitized in London and there should be fine fresh copies/files ready in a month or so. I have asked him to tell me, when it will happen so I can maybe push retrospectives to happen in Denmark or elsewhere.

Here are a couple of links to what has been written about him on this site :

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4212/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/671/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1339/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Stefan Bohun: Bruder Jakob, schlfst du noch

Written 06-04-2019 20:14:42 by Tue Steen Mller

Stefan Bohun: Bruder Jakob, schlfst du noch

Is there something wrong in saying that a film is perfect. For me No. What I mean is that it has the right rythm, is balanced in the treatment of in this case a difficult subject, attracts you emotionally, has a lot of fine cinematic solutions, i.e. expressive combinations of sound and picture, holds back information, lets (in this case) its characters develop slowly, uses archive material in a fine way…

I was very impressed by Austrian Stefan Bohun’s film about his and his three other brother’s search for themselves and the fifth brother Jakob. At the screening here in Moscow, where it is in the feature duration competition of the DOKer festival, the director told the audience that the hardest was not the filming in the mountains of Tyrol and in Porto in Portugal or “to write” the film, the pain came when in the editing room with his family on screen.

It is always a challenge for filmmakers to create atmosphere. Bohun makes it with a fine sensibility.

https://www.midff.ru/


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Italian Director Meets Russian Police

Written 06-04-2019 08:46:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Italian Director Meets Russian Police

Less than 24 hours after she arrived in Moscow Italian documentarian Claudia Tosi (“I had a Dream”, DOKLeipzig winner 2018, http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4389/) ran into trouble… We were having lunch in the Tretyakov Gallery, dumplings, preparing for watching world class art.

Tosi looked at her cell phone, said something in Italian that I did not understand, in English it was the f… word, she explained: Someone has taken money from my credit card, €400. She left the lunch, went to a café on the other side of the street, that had internet, called her father to ask him to contact the bank to block further activity.

Well, that has happened to many of us but when Tosi came back, she knew what had happened! It’s the guy outside the gallery, who is going around with his mobile in his hand. Russian hacking, I said, having no clue how a thing like that is possible. And maybe the Italian director was writing a drama.

But back in the café Tosi met a Russian woman, who understood English, understood and recognised the drama - We have to call the police…

On the photo taken by me you see four policemen, two police cars and two women, the one to the right the helpful woman and the one with her back to the camera, Claudia Tosi.

The young man with the mobile phone was taken to the police car, driven away and Tosi was asked if she would give a statement. Of course!

Our guide, Tatyana Soboleva, came back to us after a tv interview, got the story, we three left the café and the young man was back in action with his phone. How he can access a bypassing foreigner’s bank account, is still an enigma, at least for me.

Reality wrote its script!


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOKer Shorts and Diagnosis

Written 05-04-2019 08:38:51 by Tue Steen Mller

DOKer Shorts and Diagnosis

Getting into the October cinema from the noisy boulevard with the constant traffic jam in Moscow is a blessing. Again a lot of people were there to watch the first competition program of short films, and they were not disappointed. Four films of high quality, that’s all I can write as a member of the jury.

I was thinking back in time, where I attended the short film festival in Clermont-Ferrand year after year, which mostly showed short fiction. Here in Moscow it’s short documentaries that reach the screen and/or hybrid works. Film history has often pointed out that short films are the step to making longer films, feature length, it might be but I did not sense that with the four films I saw yesterday. They were finished works in themselves, strong stories, well shaped with sense of the cinematographic possibilities. Each with their own handwriting. Far from being student films. I congratulated the selector Nastia Tarasova for her choice and look forward to the films of today Friday.

After a good meal into the darkness again to watch a film from Poland, "Diagnosis", a documentary feature film debut of the director Ewa Podgórska and producer Małgorzata Wabińska. From Lodz, and that is an important piece of information as the film ” is a journey into the depths of subconscious of a city formed by human beings”, where some inhabitants undergo sessions on a couch, performed by a Frenchman – and from there the film takes its audience into the lives of the chosen characters, and slowly – in a puzzle-like narrative, where the characters through the editing are put to communicate with each other – you get to know that this is a film about la condition humaine. You are surprised, when watching the film and that’s a compliment, the film director dares to break dramaturgical rules, it plays with emotions, it is fragmented, maybe the form takes over once in while but I was impressed and entertained (company name Entertain Pictures!). I was there with Finnish film couple, Iiris Härma (who made the wonderful ”Leaving Africa” - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3154/ - and Visa Koiso-Kanttila, the latter director and cameraman praising the quality of the cinematography. Agreed! A Q&A afterwards focused on the film as a post-Soviet interpretation, not at all, it's the universal theme of Life and Love that is at stake.

http://en.pisf.pl/news/polish-creative-documentary-diagnosis-goes-to-idfa?wcag=1

https://www.midff.com/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Films at CAFX

Written 04-04-2019 08:44:30 by Tue Steen Mller

Films at CAFX

... which means Copenhagen Architecture Festival that includes a lot of interesting documentary films, two of them can be seen at the art house cinema Grand Teatret in the centre of the Danish capital.

Both have been reviewed on this site. Thomas Riedelsheimer's "Leaning into the Wind" with fantastic landscape artist Andy Goldsworthy was at the Magnificent7 festival 2018 in Belgrade, where Svetlana and Zoran Popovic presented the film as "Riedelsheimer's sophisticated filmmaking proceeds from breathtaking physical matter and goes beyond trying to reveal the ideas that move the artists. And before our very eyes these ideas are transformed into remarkable forms pervaded by the rhythms of nature." http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4266/

And staying in Belgrade I reviewed Nicolas Wagniere's "Hotel Jugoslavia", a quote "...Wagnières says that he during a decade has come back to the city and the hotel and that he has filmed “pour garder and pour regarder”. He conveys his point of view very much through his personal voice off - one of the best sequences is the interview with the mother, who remembers how people stood together after the ww2, eager to build a new society of unity and brotherhood, values that are no longer part of the Serbian society. Wonderful propaganda footage..." http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4301/

The festival has an amazing program to offer, it runs until the 14th of April.

http://cafx.dk


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOKer Opening Day

Written 04-04-2019 00:00:03 by Tue Steen Mller

DOKer Opening Day

… was full of sunshine from early morning in Moscow. I walked from the hotel accompanied by director Tatyana Soboleva. I had asked her to take me to the Pushkin Museum to have a look at the exhibition of Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and The School of London.

On the way we passed the House of Journalists, where the founder Irina Shatalova organised the first public documentary screening of what became DOKer. It was also here, Soboleva told me, that the first edition of the festival took place – it was the one, where I was member of an online jury that had Victor Kossakovsky as the chair. The festival, now having its fifth edition, writes this about itself on the website: «Moscow International Documentary



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DOKer - and Uncle Sasha or One Flew over Russia

Written 31-03-2019 12:36:34 by Tue Steen Mller

DOKer - and Uncle Sasha or One Flew over Russia

I am off to Moscow tuesday to visit the DOKer festival, to be correct the Moscow International Documentary Film Festival, to be a juror for the short film festival. To be honest I pushed for this invitation. In the first edition in 2015 I was in the jury for long documentaries but it was a jury of members, who watched the films on their own at their respective homes and made the decisions via mail and phone. I want to come to the festival, see films in a cinema, feel the atmosphere, I told the organisers and this is what happens, thanks to Irina Shatalova, Nastia Tarasova, Sergei Kachkin and Tatyana Soboleva. The organisers of a festival that is independent of state funding, a filmmaker’s festival with an impressive program: https://www.midff.com

And good filmmakers they are. I have written about “Linar” way back in 2013, http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2447/ By Nastia Tarasova with Irina Shatalova as the cinematographer.

... and Sergey Kachkin’s “On the Way Home”, http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1717/

... and Tatyana Soboleva’s “Siberian Floating Hospital”, http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3309/

Today I watched “Uncle Sasha and One Flew Over Russia” by Soboleva, quite a meeting with a man with a big Family as you see in the beginning of the film, a man who would like Russia to be a monarchy, who lives with his wife in a village, that is empty, surrounded by water, an island it is, a charismatic , knowledgeable man with several bon mots, who suddenly starts singing, a man with a big love to his wife, and a filmmaker with a sense for details, who is able to convey the atmosphere at the place, where crooked houses stand alone in snow and sun, and where Alexander Nikolayevich fights to make a connection to the other bank of the river, where relatives live and where he can shop and have a vodka or two like some of his neighbours. A Russia disappearing, thanks for taking me there!

And to Moscow.

2018, 58 mins. Russia


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX 2019 Awards

Written 30-03-2019 20:56:39 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX 2019 Awards

DOX:AWARD: ‘Ridge’ by John Skoog (Sweden)“We would like to honor a film that takes formal virtuosity to new heights, yet never loses sight of the human experience. If Tarkovsky had played video games and was a Swedish farmer, this might be what his films would have looked like. Sculpting with time and space, this new director creates a unique field of experience for the audience, steering away from familiar dichotomies such as man versus machines, science versus nature, immigrant versus local. Instead this film creates a haunting environment where all of these elements are playfully activated, and the result approaches a uniquely jagged kind of sublime. (PHOTO)

Special Mention: ”Searching Eva” by Pia Hellenthal (Germany) “The jury would like to make a special mention for a film that takes an innovative approach to a profile of an artist. Its cinematographic language is very much in line with the artistic and life experience of a character who continuously searches for alternative approaches to everything, constantly detaching from common reference points and notions of stability. And so does the film, which adopts its own playful ethos, never falling into expectations for how this story, or this life, should be told. Above all, it’s a film of great risk, on screen and behind the camera, and we found that both commendable and compelling.

NEW:VISION: ‘A Moon for My Father’ by Mania Akbari og Douglas White (Iran) “‘A Moon For My Father’ is a complex and generous film about bodies. Bodies of work, bodies of politics and history – an extraordinary artist’s body as host of disease and transformation under pressure – and as the subsequent carrier and giver of life. Like a punch in the gut or a needle in the abdomen, this film demonstrates that as a viewer, the medium of moving images is far more than a retinal and cognitive experience, but one of strong affect and of somatic involvement of your very own body.”

FACT:AWARD: ‘Dark Suns’ af Julien Elie (Canada) “The F:ACT AWARD goes to a film that gives voice to people who have suffered unbearable losses and have been neglected and ignored and forgotten by their government and authorities. In fact, the film convincingly suggests that those very authorities are themselves deeply involved in the immense tragedy that has been quietly unfolding through more than 20 years. The filmmaker has invested almost as many years of his life and work to bring the story to us and he does it with a huge solidarity with his characters and with a patience that gives the audience a deep sense of the complexity of this tragedy. He does not seek easy answers but let one witness after the other take us deep into the heart of darkness.

NORDIC:DOX: ‘The Men’s Room’ af Petter Sommer & Jo Vemund Svendsen (Norway) “We agreed unanimously on the winner. The NORDIC:DOX AWARD goes to a film that made us both laugh and cry. A tribute to friendship and male vulnerability. A film that powerfully conveys the basic human needs for belonging propelled by a clear cinematic vision and a big heart. »

NEXT:WAVE: ‘Kabul, City in the Wind’ af Aboozar Amini (Afghanistan, Holland, Japan, Tyskland) “For us in the jury it’s been an immense pleasure to experience the incredible variety in the NEXT:WAVE category and we’ve been traveling around the world in the cinemas of Copenhagen. Our main award goes to a movie that took us to the heart of a hurt city that we’ve never experienced like this before. An impressive, artistic and breathtaking documentary that goes beyond war and death and is a deep, devastating and deeply moving portrait of life and characters which you won’t forget. This is only the debut feature of the director but it shows an incredible sense of artistic ambition and a brilliant, bold use of cinematography, editing and sound. A wonderful film that shows that hope will survive.”

Politikens Publikumspris: ‘Push’ af Fredrik Gertten (Sweden). Politiken is the primary Danish newspaper for culture and is a strong supporter of the festival. With the award follows 50.000Dkr. https://cphdox.dk/en/programme/film/?id=968 for more about the winning film.

https://cphdox.dk/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocuDays UA 2019 Awards

Written 30-03-2019 20:12:16 by Tue Steen Mller

DocuDays UA 2019 Awards

Look at the photo, the awards which were distributed in Kiev on March 28 – the two last days of the festival, that stops today, are called Audience Days, where films from the festival will go to locations i.e. ”cinemas in different Kiev neighbourhoods”.

Tomorrow is also an Audience Day - Presidential election, first round, in Ukraine!

Here follows a copy/paste of the list of winners from a festival that I visited for the seventh time this year and which stays close to my heart because of the program, the atmosphere, the dedication of the staff and their ability to surprise its audience:



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