Filmkommentaren

Sara Broos: Spejlinger

Written 20-09-2017 10:26:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Sara Broos: Spejlinger

This is a repeat of the review written last year. Because the film now has its theatrical premiere in Denmark in Posthusteatret Copenhagen tomorrow September 21st. Go watch that film!

- You have to catch the attention of the audience right from the beginning. The opening of a film is so important. Here you have to  make an invitation to the viewer, give some basic information that indicates, what he/she can expect but first of all demonstrate that you are a filmmaker, who can create an atmosphere, a tone that makes you curious, that surprises you, that gives you something special, that in this case convinces you that this is personal and not private.

Swedish Sara Broos does so with the first four minutes of her ”Reflections” (”Speglingar” in Swedish). You get a close-up of a young beautiful face in profile and thereafter of an older beautiful face in profile. A fine voice (how attractive the Swedish language is spoken like this) tells us what this is about – mother and daughter together, filmed in Latvia in a house and on a beach. The daughter, Sara, the filmmaker, invited mother Karin, painter, on a trip as a present when she became 60. Sara wanted to ask questions – a classic: I want to know more about you, mother, there is so much I don’t know.

The combination of the text of Sara, the super-stylized arranged



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Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Elvira Lind: Bobbi Jene

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

Elvira Lind: Bobbi Jene

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

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



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Message2Man St.Petersburg

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

Message2Man St.Petersburg

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Lithuanian Talents

Written 16-09-2017 21:35:47 by Tue Steen Mller

Lithuanian Talents

It’s not everyone, who leaves the country – even if one of the students said that the amount, who does, equalises one full airplane per day. Going away from Lithuania to live and work in another country. He said so at the film school department of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, where I was invited to teach for a week. But they should stay, these young people, even if the funding possibilities are small. The teacher said. There is a fine tradition for artistic documentaries in your country – we have written about it again and again on this site ever since it (the site) started 10 years ago. Names… Henrikas Sablevicius, Arunas Matelis, Giedre Zickyte, Giedre Beinoriute, Audrius Stonys. The two latter are teachers at the school. And are referred to again and again by the students.

Yes, I spotted talents during the week. I saw material of films



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Anna Eborn: Lida

Written 16-09-2017 15:51:01 by Tue Steen Mller

Anna Eborn: Lida

Yes. Documentary is Cinema. Where the best directors know what they are doing. Have chosen a form for what they want to tell. Before shooting. This is what Swedish Anna Eborn has done with this gem of a documentary film. She is working with video and with 16mm film, she has created a superb sound design and used music so it matches the sequences. The critic has no objections!

… an extraordinary cinematic interpretation of something ordinary. No Lida Utas Andreasdotter is not an ordinary person, but her story, her destiny as a victim of geography and the related events of war and deportation is heard and told about so many times before:

She lives with her family as a child in Zmiivka (used to be a Swedish colony) in Ukraine. During the world war the family is deported by the Germans, they go to Germany, Poland and after the war they are sent to a camp in Siberia. She comes back to Zmiivka and has stayed there since then. She gave birth to four boys, two of them died as children, the two others live far away from their mother, as does her sister, there is no contact between them.

The film brings them together. On film. Not in reality. Lida is a



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Henrikas Sablevicius - Sobles Kino Klubas

Written 11-09-2017 20:01:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Henrikas Sablevicius - Sobles Kino Klubas

Finally I am at the film school in Vilnius - Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre - to teach for a week. On this first day my host Giedrė Kabašinskienė took me to see Sobles Kino Klubas named after my dear friend Henrikas Sablevicius from the time of the Balticum Film & TV Festival on Bornholm. I took the photo of a poster on the wall and re-post a text written 6 years ago on this site:

They know how to remember and honour their artists in Lithuania, including the documentary filmmakers, I was reminded again today at the Vilnius Documentary Film Festival. Talking to directors Giedre Beinoriute and Audrius Stonys, they told me that a film club had been established in the name of Henrikas Sablevicius, a wonderful teacher and a fine documentary director, a father figure, for many the main creator of the Lithuanian documentary tradition, based on the image, always with many layers, lyrical in tone, like the city Vilnius often filled with an atmosphere of spirituality.

Henrikas Sablevicius (1930-2004) came to the Balticum Film & TV Festival on the Danish island of Bornholm in all 10 years of the festival’s existence. He was the proud leader of the delegation, he was the one who stood forward and made speeches and introductions, he invited the audience to retrospectives of Lithuanian documentaries, including some of his own, and he was a generous party organiser after the screenings at the Kino Gudhjem on Bornholm. He was also the one, who received us, the Danish selection team, when we came to Vilnius to watch films. He organised the screenings at the Film Studio in the city (torn down, what a shame!) and he served us tea and 999, the secret code that later became the way that I and director Arunas Matelis for years adressed each other.

I got a book on Sablevicius today, published last year, edited by Ramune Rakauskaite, entitled ”Soble” (his nickname), with contributions from colleague filmmakers and students like the three names I have mentioned. I can not read it, but just browsing through the book looking at the photos of the charismatic man with the wild beard, brings me back to our meetings on Bornholm, always with conversations that included an interpreter... Sobles Kino Klubas is the name and it has a facebook page!

http://www.facebook.com/sobles.kino.klubas

http://mubi.com/films/didnt-come

http://www.documentary.lt/?Lang=EN


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs 2017

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

Baltic Sea Docs 2017

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

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

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



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Baltic Sea Docs+

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

Baltic Sea Docs+

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

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

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

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



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Baltic Sea Docs Pitch Getting Closer

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

Baltic Sea Docs Pitch Getting Closer

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

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

http://balticseadocs.lv/ 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs Workshop Started Today

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

Baltic Sea Docs Workshop Started Today

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

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

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

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

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



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N.L.Hulusić & S.B.Corić: Undercovered

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

N.L.Hulusić & S.B.Corić: Undercovered

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

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

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

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



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BSF in Riga now and Next Week

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

BSF in Riga now and Next Week

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

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

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



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TUE STEEN MLLER 70 R

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

TUE STEEN MLLER 70 R

Photo: Nenad Puhovski


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

Makedox Winners with Jury Words

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

Makedox Winners with Jury Words

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

Onion Award for the Best Film in the Main Program

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

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

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

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



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Piotr Stasik Wins Main Competition in Skopje

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

Piotr Stasik Wins Main Competition in Skopje

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

MakeDox 2017/ Notes From a Juror

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

MakeDox 2017/ Notes From a Juror

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

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

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



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MakeDox 2017

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

MakeDox 2017

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

21 x New York by Piotr Stasik

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

The Girl Down Loch Änzi by Alice Schmid

Dixieland by Roman Bondarchuk and Darya Averchenko

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

Woman and the Glacier by Audrius Stonys

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

Machines by Rahul Jain

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

Normal Autistic Film by Miroslav Janek

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

Chavela by Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi

Untitled by Michael Glawogger and Monika Willi

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Dusan Zoric: Love

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

Dusan Zoric: Love

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

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

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



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Georg Zeller on Sarajevo Film Festival

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

Georg Zeller on Sarajevo Film Festival

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

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

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



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MakeDox Skopje Starts Tonight

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

MakeDox Skopje Starts Tonight

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

European Film Academy Shortlists Documentaries/ 2

Written 18-08-2017 14:47:02 by Tue Steen Mller

European Film Academy Shortlists Documentaries/ 2

Need to bring a correction or actually two after this FB message from Anna Wydra: Dear Tue, I just read about EFA on your site and I would like to add one thing: films are selected not only from those recommended by 10 festivals. For example COMMUNION was submitted by us. And every film has a chance for EFA. I think its important for people to know this. Its the same with Oscars - documentary category. Everyone who meet requirements can submit a film.

Thanks to Anna, who also asks me to bring the correct credit of producers for the film – I copied from the EDN page, which was not correct. Below link to EFA page:

PRODUCED BY Anna Wydra, Anna Zamecka, Zuzanna Krol, Izabela Lopuch & Hanka Kastelicova

http://www.europeanfilmacademy.org/News-detail.155.0.html?&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=529&cHash=9d874cc88faf71808e59447490fdb006


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Awards John Cleese, Cat Activists, Documentaries

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

Awards John Cleese, Cat Activists, Documentaries

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

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

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



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European Film Academy Shortlists Documentaries

Written 18-08-2017 12:11:30 by Tue Steen Mller

European Film Academy Shortlists Documentaries

The selection system is a bit heavy and complicated: 10 festivals – including all those which are part of DocAlliance – suggest titles for a committee of documentary connaisseurs, who have chosen 15 films. These will be watched and voted on by members of EFA to end up with 5 nominations - and then the European Documentary 2017 will be announced in Berlin in December. Having said so – yes, there are many good films on the list, but I miss Miroslav Janek’s “Normal Autistic Film”, Audrius Stonys “Woman and the Glacier” and Pawel Lozinski’s “You Have No Idea How Much I Love You” – all films that cross borders, where most of the ones below are pretty run-of-the-mill in terms of storytelling. My favourite: Loznitsa’s “Austerlitz” (photo) but I can not vote…

Austerlitz | Director: Sergei Loznitsa | Producer: Sergei Loznitsa | Germany

Communion | D: Anna Zamecka | P: Zuzanna Krol, Anna Wydra, Izabela Lopuch, Hanka Kastelicova | Poland

Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas | D: Joakim Demmer | P: Margarete Jangård, Heino Deckert, John Webster | Sweden, Germany, Finland

How to Meet a Mermaid | Director: Coco Schrijber | Producer: Frank van den Engel | Netherlands, Denmark



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DokuFest 2017 Awards

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

DokuFest 2017 Awards

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

INT’L DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION/FEATURE DOX WINNER

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

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

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

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



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Film Activists Save Kittens

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

Film Activists Save Kittens

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docu Rough Cut Boutique in Sarajevo

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

Docu Rough Cut Boutique in Sarajevo

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

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

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

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



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Egil Hskjold Larsen: 69 minutter af 86 dage

Written 15-08-2017 11:40:46 by Tue Steen Mller

Egil Hskjold Larsen: 69 minutter af 86 dage

En lille stor pige på rejse. Månedens Dokumentar i august er den knugende ’69 Minutes of 86 Days’, der følger den tre-årige Lean og hendes families rejse fra en græsk flygtningelejr til Uppsala.

Umiddelbart er Lean som alle andre tre-årige børn: En legesyg lille pige, der driller og synger sange med sin onkel, går med ’Frost’-rygsæk og følger med sine forældre, hvor de end går hen. Samtidig er hun en meget observerende og reflekterende pige, der til trods for sin alder forstår imponerende meget af situationen. Selv om hun ikke kan skelne Tyskland fra Sverige, vil hun gerne lære at svømme, når de ankommer. Det var der mange, der ikke kunne, da de faldt ud af bådene, som hun selv beskriver det.

’69 Minutes of 86 Days’ er Månedens Dokumentar i Cinemateket i august 2017. Spilleperiode 17.-23. august.

Norge, 71 mins.


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo FF: True Stories Market

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

Sarajevo FF: True Stories Market

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

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

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



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Joshua Oppenheimer Masterclass

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

Joshua Oppenheimer Masterclass

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

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

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

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

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

www.sff.ba


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Sarajevo FF Friends Forever

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

Sarajevo FF  Friends Forever

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

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

www.sff.ba


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Sarajevo Film Festival Opens With Kaurismki

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

Sarajevo Film Festival Opens With Kaurismki

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

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

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

www.sff.ba


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo FF, Redgrave & Dealing With the Past

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

Sarajevo FF, Redgrave & Dealing With the Past

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

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

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

www.sff.ba


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Message2Man Selection

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

Message2Man Selection

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

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

Cameraperson by Kirsten Johnson is also competing, one of the



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Rati Oneli: City of the Sun

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

Rati Oneli: City of the Sun

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

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

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



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Jude Ratnam: Demons in Paradise/ 2

Written 01-08-2017 10:32:43 by Tue Steen Mller

Jude Ratnam: Demons in Paradise/ 2

The film by Jude Ratnam had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. I had seen it but promised not to write a review before the festival. I have now returned to the film, which made and makes a strong impression on me. Why? This is what I will try to find out with the following text.

It is always difficult to find your own tone in a documentary. To create an atmosphere, a space for the viewer where he/she can be and stay, caught by the strength of a story. Ratnam succeeds – because he uses the cinematic language in a brilliant way. There is a rythm, fine cinematography and a commentary, where Ratnam in first person expresses his feelings bringing back the horrible memories he and his family have ”etched deeply in my (their, ed.) mind”. He says so when he recalls how and when he and his parents were fleeing the capital in Sri Lanka, Colombo - he being 5 years old – in July 1983, when the war started, that suppressed the tamil population, that fled to the North; a war that took the country into terrible violence until peace was made in 2009.



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Niewiera/Rosolowski: The Prince and the Dybbuk

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

Niewiera/Rosolowski: The Prince and the Dybbuk

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

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

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

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

Photo: Waszynski with Sophia Loren.

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Loznitsa and Dostoyevsky

Written 28-07-2017 17:05:11 by Tue Steen Mller

Loznitsa and Dostoyevsky

One more Odessa-story of quite a different flavour. Vassilis Economou has for Cineuropa interviewed Sergei Loznitsa, whose fiction film, ”A Gentle Creature”, was shown at the festival. As always it is interesting to listen to the director, whose documentary ”Austerlitz” has travelled the world. Read the whole interview, link below, here is a clip:

Cineuropa: A Gentle Creature is loosely based on the short story of the same name by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Do you think that he still remains an inspiration for current events?


Sergei Loznitsa: I believe that nothing much has actually changed in Russia since Dostoyevsky wrote his story. Dostoyevsky was a prophetic author. He predicted the horror that arrived in Russia soon after. In The Demons, one of his most prophetic novels, he describes a very particular type of human being – immoral, very devious and dishonest. They appeared in



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Dixie Land Wins in Odessa

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

Dixie Land Wins in Odessa

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocAlliance: Hybrid Films

Written 27-07-2017 17:57:56 by Tue Steen Mller

DocAlliance: Hybrid Films

Look at this list of films presented by DocAlliance:

Life in Denmark (Jørgen Leth)

Cooking History (Peter Kerekes)

Blind Loves (Juraj Lehotský)

Alda (Viera Čakányová)

Ex Press (Jet Leyco)

The Wolf from Royal Wineyard Street (Jan Němec)

The Perfect Human (Jørgen Leth)

Love from Above (Petr Marek)

I can warmly recommend you to take a film historical look at the two films by Jørgen Leth, “Life in Denmark” (1972) and “The Perfect Human” (1967), both of them have been inspiring new generations of filmmakers in Denmark, the latter being the starting point for the film he made with Lars von Trier, “Five Obstructions” (2003). Jørgen Leth celebrated his 80year birthday this year, he is still going strong, working on a biographical film, working title “I Walk”.

“Blind Loves” (2008) by Juraj Lehotsky with Marko Skop as the producer was one of my favourites, when I was working with the training program Ex Oriente being able to see how the director found solutions that quite rightly can be called hybrid. As can for sure another masterpiece, “Cooking History” (photo) (2009) by Peter Kerekes.

The rest of the package I have not seen – yet. Here is the intro made by the DocAlliance, that again shows generosity and sense of artistic quality:

“Is it possible for a documentary film to capture reality in a way that is undistorted? Is it possible to truly see reality reflected in a documentary film? Where is the boundary between documentary and fiction? In our selection focused on hybrid films, we examine the borders of fictional worlds.”

Available until August 6.

https://dafilms.com/program/633-hybrid-films


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Khaled Jarrar: Displaced in Heaven

Written 25-07-2017 14:53:43 by Tue Steen Mller

Khaled Jarrar: Displaced in Heaven

Found this on FB the other day, posted by Palestinian multi-artist Khaled Jarrar: Happy to announce that the film that I'm working on since two years 'Displaced in Heaven' is nominated to The Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

And I am happy to say that I have read the script of Palestinian Jarrar, whose work as an artist and filmmaker I have been trying to follow since I met him in 2011 at the Storydoc workshop in Greece. Trying to… not easy, since his activist work has brought him to galleries and exhibitions and streets in for example Paris. His film “Infiltrators” has gone all over the world. I wrote these words about it on this site: …a film that with its non-aggressive approach gives the viewer a unique account of the climbers, big and small, old and young, who go to Jerusalem illegally. To work first of all. It uses a non-linear structure, it has many angles and stylistical elements that wonderfully surprise you as a viewer, who is used to strong films in all genres, aggressive against the Israeli occupation. You have sometimes a clear laugh when you see the different ways of climbing, sometimes you laugh because of the absurdity, and sometimes you are moved and feel angry: this can not be true, this is not civilisation 2012! But it is.”

Under the title “A Dinner that Never Came” Khaled Jarrar has written a kind of background treatment for the film “Displaced in Heaven”. It is long time ago a story has moved me so much. Here is a long quote and a link to where you can be acquainted with it:



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Layla Abyad: Letters to S.

Written 24-07-2017 15:18:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Layla Abyad: Letters to S.

It’s a very fine choice of style, Syrian Layla Abyad has made for her short film made in Switzerland. It works with the personal essay form, it gives an intense atmosphere, her English voice and the shift from English to Arabic is perfect, and the image never ”kills” the text, vive versa. It gives you a glimpse of what it means to be in exile in a Western European country communicating with someone dear to you back home – Sama is online from Damascus, the young woman who is talking and who you never see gives ”advice” on how to survive here in Switzerland, where a demonstration lasts one hour without any conflicts and where you can film it all, if you wish. On her way round in the country in the middle of Europe she attends a meeting with Swiss citizens, who are afraid of muslims…

”Where do I start to explain to this nice, polite old man that I have statistically more odds and reasons to fear his vote’s support for the arms industry than he has to fear the underground fanatics already killing way more Syrians than Swiss”, a quote from the very well composed commentary in a film, that ends up with words to Sama in Damascus on what to do when ”they” interrogate her and if torture is to be used…

On the production background: …5 well-known filmmakers from Syria, Palestine, Israel, Ukraine and Russia were invited to Winterthur for 5 weeks. Together with Swiss film students, they realised a short documentary about the theme „Exile“. The result is a documentary with 5 episodes and 5 personal, touching, yet provocative views of Switzerland.

Switzerland, Syria, 11 mins., 2015

http://langfilm.ch/en/catalogue


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Joshua Oppenheimer

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

Joshua Oppenheimer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo Documentary Competition

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

Sarajevo Documentary Competition

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

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

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

http://www.sff.ba/


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Julia Bobkova: The Last Waltz

Written 18-07-2017 20:48:12 by Tue Steen Mller

Julia Bobkova: The Last Waltz

It was shown at the Moscow International Film Festival in the international competition for documentaries, this fascinating film about Oleg Karavaichuk, composer and piano player from St. Petersburg, in which city I – during the years of visit to the M2M (Message to Man) – heard again and again producers wishing to make a film with/about the charismatic musical genius, as he is called by many. Totally understandable it is when you watch this work finished and released after his death in 2016, 88 years old.

Because he is a great musician, he is wonderful to look at, the way he walks, the way he talks, the way he dresses with a beret on his head, hair coming out anyway, his piano playing, close-ups on his hands almost smashing the piano keyboard, his behaviour when he performs at a concert recordings on a big screen standing with his back to the audience in a corner…His compositions.

A showman, yes, an akward one, in a film that primarily is built up



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Ai Weiwei: Human Flow

Written 15-07-2017 21:41:38 by Tue Steen Mller

Ai Weiwei: Human Flow

Realscreen, the trade magazine, revealed yesterday information about some of the distribution aspects of the upcoming film by Ai WeiWei, ”Human Flow”, that I am sure I am not the only one who is looking forward to see. I have picked some lines from the article: 

”Filmed over more than a year and shot in 23 countries, the doc aims to capture the scope of the global migrant crisis, which involves more than 65 million individuals searching for a better life after having been forcibly displaced due to war, famine and climate change…

The film will be distributed in the UK and Ireland by Altitude Films a deal struck by Lionsgate International on behalf of Participant Media and AC Films. Human Flow is produced by Weiwei, Chin-chin Yap, and Heino Deckert. Andy Cohen of AC Films and Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann are the executive producers. Amazon is holding the US rights.

The premiere of the film, that will have a duration of more than two hours, is not yet announced. When that is done, and we have seen the film, you can count on a follow-up on this site.

The chief editor of the film is Danish Niels Pagh Andersen.

On Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWgC5pCR1AE

Ai Weiwei, in a one-minute visual, talks about his film.


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Golden Apricot Festival Cancels Program

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

Golden Apricot Festival Cancels Program

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

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

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



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Polish Doc Promotion

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

Polish Doc Promotion

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DokuFest Kosovo/ Competitions

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

DokuFest Kosovo/ Competitions

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

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

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

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

http://dokufest.com/ 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Dokufest Kosovo 2017

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

Dokufest Kosovo 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://dokufest.com/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Peter Kerekes: Censor

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

Peter Kerekes: Censor

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

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

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

http://kerekesfilm.com/?lang=en 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Svetlana Alexievich a True Documentarian

Written 06-07-2017 11:00:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Svetlana Alexievich  a True Documentarian

I have for the past weeks been reading the Danish translation of ”Second-Hand Time” by Ukrainian/Belarussian author Svetlana Alexievich, 2015 Nobel Prize winner, a brilliant book, an amazing insight to what it meant to live in Soviet Union and today in Putin’s Russia. ”A history of human feelings” as she writes in the text below (from her website), were she describes her documentary method; must be an inpiration for all documentarians…:

I've been searching for a genre that would be most adequate to my vision of the world to convey how my ear hears and my eyes see life.I tried this and that and finally I chose a genre where human voices speak for themselves. Real people speak in my books about the main events of the age such as the war, the Chernobyl disaster, and the downfall of a great empire. Together they record verbally the history of the country, their common history, while each person puts into words the story of his/her own life. Today when man and the world have become so multifaceted and diversified the document in art is becoming increasingly interesting while art as such often proves impotent. The document brings us closer to reality as it captures and preserves the originals. After 20 years of work with documentary material and having written five books on their basis I declare that art has failed to understand many things about people.

But I don't just record a dry history of events and facts, I'm writing a history of human feelings. What people thought, understood and remembered during the event. What they believed in or mistrusted, what illusions, hopes and fears they experienced. This is impossible to imagine or invent, at any rate in such multitude of real details. We quickly forget what we were like ten or twenty or fifty years ago. Sometimes we are ashamed of our past and refuse to believe in what happened to us in actual fact. Art may lie but document never does. Although the document is also a product of someone's will and passion. I compose my books out of thousands of voices, destinies, fragments of our life and being. It took me three-four years to write each of my books. I meet and record my conversations with 500-700 persons for each book. My chronicle embraces several generations. It starts with the memories of people who witnessed the 1917 Revolution, through the wars and Stalinist gulags, and reaches the present times. This is a story of one Soviet-Russian soul.

http://www.alexievich.info/indexEN.html


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Street Photography 1917-2017 /Jean Hermanson

Written 04-07-2017 21:25:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Street Photography 1917-2017 /Jean Hermanson

Swedish master of photography Jean Hermanson is also at the Street Photography exhibition in Copenhagen. With photos from

Dublin in the 60’es. I picked – with the help of curator Finn Larsen and a link to information about his exhibition in Swedish town Landskrona 2016 – one:

A girl on a rainy street in Dublin 50 years ago. Of course it reminds me of the boy with wine bottles in Paris, caught by the camera of Henri Cartier-Bresson. The girl in Dublin carries a bottle of milk and – can’t really see it – a pack of cigarettes? She is waiting for cars to pass so she can pass and go home to mum and dad. The Swedish filmmaker and photographer caught the situation and as a true documentarian conveys the atmosphere. In an upcoming film about Hermanson, he says ”when it rains, it is damn poetic and sensual”. And a text taken from the Landskrona exhibition:

At the end of the 1960s the photographer Jean Hermanson (1938–2012) travelled to Dublin. His plan was to follow in the footsteps of James Joyce, with the camera as his instrument. But instead of recreating Leopold Bloom’s route on that famous day he chose to point his camera at the children. Children became Hermanson’ guide in the streets, in this world of both darkness and play, and his documentation of their life developed into a large, full work with a strong feeling for the children’s experiences. The photographs from Dublin were Hermanson’s first major photographic work. But almost fifty years were to pass before he began to sort the rich material towards the end of his life…

The film being made on Hermanson is produced by Stavro Film and supported by SVT, Sweden among others. So at some point it will be broadcast. Link below.

http://stavrofilm.se/?p=1042

Gadefotografi 1917-2017, Øksnehallen, København. 28. juni - 1. august, Daily 10.00 - 20.00, Friday and Saturday 10.00 - 22.00.

www.dgi-byen.dk/oeksnehallen/

 

 

 

 


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Street Photography 1917-2017 /Jens-Olof Lasthein

Written 04-07-2017 14:49:58 by Tue Steen Mller

Street Photography 1917-2017 /Jens-Olof Lasthein

Swedish photographer Jens-Olof Lasthein travelled six years in the Caucasus area. In the Street Photography exhibition in Copenhagen his newly published photo book ”Meanwhile Across the Mountain” is represented through big panoramic colour photos documenting everyday life from the countries in the region plus a 20 minute long slideshow of great quality. As one who has visited Georgia and Armenia several times I was happy to get acquainted with Lasthein’s well composed and poignant pictures. One of them above:

Grozny, Chechnya 2011: The boys stand in a ruin, behind them a ruin landscape as well, and a church and some buildings, appartments probably. What is the future for the boys, for Chechnya, from where we nowadays are used to see glossy propaganda pictures from the Russian led Kadyrov regime. The photo is of course taken out of a context, when watching the slideshow you get the sense of watching a film with a narrative. Lasthein was interviewed in connection with the book coming out, here is a quote, link below:

”Now, about street photography. For me, the term simply means that I start out by working in the streets. Occasionally, I can be so lucky as to catch something in an instant, but mostly I need more time with my subjects. I have learned that only through getting to know people really well am I able to put myself in the most unpredictable situations. These surroundings then evolve and become circumstances that take me much farther than I could ever have imagined. Searching for these moments is very much what drives me.”

https://www.lensculture.com/articles/jens-olof-lasthein-meanwhile-across-the-mountain#slideshow

Gadefotografi 1917-2017, Øksnehallen, København. 28. juni - 1. august, Daily 10.00 - 20.00, friday and saturday 10.00 - 22.00.

www.dgi-byen.dk/oeksnehallen/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Street Photography 1917-2017 /Krass Clement

Written 03-07-2017 13:45:34 by Tue Steen Mller

Street Photography 1917-2017 /Krass Clement

1991, Moscow, the failed coup d´état, extensively described in literature and films. I am right now reading the documentary novel ”Secondhand Time. The Last of the Soviets” by Svetlana Aleksijevitj, where she brings together conversations she has had with Russians over a period of 20 years. The life in Soviet Union including reactions to what happened in 1991. In films ”The Event” by Sergei Loznitsa comes to my mind, filmed in St. Petersburg. Eminent use of archive material.

Danish photographer Krass Clement was there, in Moscow, where he did not take pictures of Jeltsin in front of the parliament in Moscow or other post-coup events – he went to attend the funeral of three of the victims of the riots. In Krasnaja Pesnja Park. At the exhibition ”Street Photography” five of his photos are presented, see one of them above.

They stand like statues, lined up, two men, two women, they are touched by the situation, are they relatives to the deceased, are they present because they were, like many, for the coup that the so-called junta wanted to happen to save Soviet Union – we are not told, Clement does not want to inform, he aims at conveying a moment in the lives of four people, a serious moment, a moment of grief, a moment ”where noone talked”, my translated title of ”Hvor Ingen Talte”, the photo book, Clement published from Moscow. He – as written on his website, link below – wants ”to capture a state of mind”.

Krass Clement, educated at The Danish Film School, published his first book in 1968. Photos from his last book ”Impasse Hotel Syria” are on display at David’s Samling in Copenhagen.

http://krassclement.com/introduction.html

Gadefotografi 1917-2017, Øksnehallen, København. 28. juni - 1. august, Daily 10.00 - 20.00, friday and saturday 10.00 - 22.00.

www.dgi-byen.dk/oeksnehallen/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Street Photography 1917-2017 /4

Written 03-07-2017 13:41:55 by Tue Steen Mller

Street Photography 1917-2017 /4

… with the subtitle ”A Tribute to Everyday Life”, a big and impressive exhibition in Copenhagen, that runs until August 1st.

International it is content-wise, and everything – i.e. the fine catalogue and the short informative texts next to the photos of the artists are in Danish AND English. It is very professionally set up, let me salute the curators: Morten Brohammer and Finn Larsen, and the text writer Jens Erdman Rasmussen.

Why and how? ”We have for some time been keen on doing an exhibition on street photography but could not decide on the right story, We found that story in Vivian Maier, who after her death became a sensation, when her amazing photographic legacy by chance was discovered at an art auction 10 years ago. Since then the myth of the nanny with the camera has grown; especially as the story of a loner who worked alone on her own photographic vision”.

So the Vivian Maier exhibition is launched as the main attraction, including the opportunity to sit down and watch the film about her, ”Finding Vivian Maier”. BUT the exhibition, as the curators indicate in the quote above includes much much more. There are photo classics like Diane Arbus, Atget, Krass Clement, my personal hero Robert Frank, Walter Evans, Hans Eijkelboom, Jean Hermanson, Koudelka, Jens-Olof Lasthein, Garry Winogrand, and many other fine photographers from Denmark or abroad.

I was there for some hours and have not seen it all the way I want to. It is overwhelming and I was happy to sit down to rest and re-watch not only some of the Vivian Maier film but also ”Don’t Blink” about and with the phenomenon Robert Frank, who is given a whole wall with the special edition of Süddeutsche Zeitung, 64 pages, printed by his publisher Steidl in 2016.

Copenhageners and foreigners who visit the capital of Denmark, go and visit:

Gadefotografi 1917-2017, Øksnehallen, København. 28. juni - 1. august, Daily 10.00 - 20.00, friday and saturday 10.00 - 22.00.

www.dgi-byen.dk/oeksnehallen/


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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Stone Puts Questions, Putin Answers

Written 30-06-2017 21:39:08 by Tue Steen Mller

Stone Puts Questions, Putin Answers

The last part of the Putin Interviews is by far the best of the four. It is shot after Trump was elected as President in the US and the first half hour of the conversation deals with that issue: Did Russia influence the American election, did Putin know about it, did he order the hacking etc. Stone seems now much better prepared and puts direct questions that leads to Putin – to a certain degree – analysing the American election and the victory of Trump. With archive clips put in from American media (Hillary Clinton, Obama, Biden, McCain etc.). From there the conversation goes to cyberwar, the American use of the stuxnet computer worm in Iran, the fear of a world war, of another Hiroshima and Nagasaki…

”It’s not possible to give fear to the Russian people”, says Putin, who reflects on all the questions put to him.

The last part also works better because the first half hour is set up like on a stage: Two chairs in front of each other in a big room. Next to Oliver Stone the indispensable interpreter Sergei Churdinov on one side, on the other side the dop Anthony Dod Mantle pointing his small camera towards Putin – and around them standing or sitting on chairs along the walls, security people, many more camera and sound people, producers I guess, it’s all visible, they are all part of a play, and now I accept the dramatising editing that I felt confused about in the first part. Maybe I just got used to it? After this Stone goes to the Red Square, without Putin, he visits the grave of John Reed, he says with a smile ”where is Trotsky”, it’s a part that fills the gap before the final meeting, where Stone questions Stalin, asks about Putin’s parents, characterises him as one of the wealthiest men in the world, Putin denies he has bank accounts all over, and finally of course: If you are elected in 2018 you have been in power, in 2024, in more than 20 years… Putin seems a little irritated, the only time during the four interview parts, about the theme (my words, Stone is more polite) ”power corrupts”… The interview sessions are over, Oliver and Vladimir hug each other, Putin says to Stone that he, Stone, will get in problems for this documentary program, advises again Stone’s wife to go to St. Petersburg during the White Nights and off he leaves with all his people through the pompous halls. The show is over. The actors leave the stage.


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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nordisk Panorama 2017

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

Nordisk Panorama 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Putin Talks, Stone Listens

Written 29-06-2017 15:42:29 by Tue Steen Mller

Putin Talks, Stone Listens

… the best he can, to Putin and the third man, who is next to Oliver Stone all the time interpreting the words of the President to the film director. In itself a difficult situation, I found myself suffering a bit with Oliver Stone, who obviously has problems in understanding right away what Putin says. And if he does, he most of the time does not know how to react. At least when it is serious stuff, world politics, Ukraine, Crimea… ”The Putin Interviews” are not critical interviews.

I watched episodes 2&3 and the reason I have changed the caption is the very simple that the entertainment part has got limited space. In my head. Well, there is still Putin as superman, playing hockey on ice, learning that sport when he was 60, Putin telling about his training and swimming every day, Putin revealing that he has two daughters and is a grandfather, I could almost see him being moved… but otherwise he does not lose control and Stone – as he promised – lets him talk. The beginning of the second episode deals with the American withdrawal from the ABM in 2002 after 30 years, the ABM being the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Putin expresses his disappointment with that decision and worry for ”the balance” if NATO continues to put missiles around the borders to Russia. Meaning that ”we have to respond”. Stone invites him to watch ”Dr. Strangelove”, the film crew films him while watching, no reactions, while the interpreter is having a good time with Peter Sellers. Putin speaks long and committed about ”the balance” problem.

Who started in Georgia, who stood behind the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, it was the population in Crimea that decided to be part of the Russian Federation, we did not want Assad to have the same ”treatment” as Sadam Hussein and Gadaffi, that´s why we do what we do with a focus on fighting ISIS etc. etc. It’s all well known, what the Russian president thinks about these issues. He talks, he performs as Oliver Stone wanted him to do, he is well formulated, OMG compare him to Mr. T. In the White House! Locations for the talks differ, a tour in Kremlin, his palace 20 mins. from Kreml, Sotji and as said the hockey stadium, where he greets Oliver Stone’s wife and tells her to visit St. Petersburg. On this point I agree with him.    


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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Oliver and Vladimir on Television

Written 27-06-2017 18:16:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Oliver and Vladimir on Television

”The Putin Interviews” is the title of the four part series made by Oliver Stone with Vladimir Putin in the leading role. Long awaited and with some expectations as Stone had visited the President a dozen times and had this approach to the meetings, formulated in one of the many interviews he has given:

”I’m here to get Putin to talk. Let him talk. If I can encourage him to talk by having an empathetic ear, that is the reporter’s way. I’m also a dramatist. I’m encouraging my actors to be better. To say more. To give me a performance..”

Fair enough. And Putin does talk as I witnessed it last night, where DR2 broadcast the first part of the series.

And Stone puts questions, which are kind and respectful without any attempt to go deeper in Soviet or post-Soviet history. Or in Putin’s profession as a KGB man. Or… Stone asks ”what do you think about Jeltsin and his alcohol problem” or ”why did you not say hello to Gorbatjev at the May 9 celebration ceremony”. Or ”so



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Categories: TV, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Laura Poitras: Risk

Written 26-06-2017 19:46:08 by Tue Steen Mller

Laura Poitras: Risk

The right to fail… which is, I am afraid, what Laura Poitras does in her newest film ”Risk” that was released in theatres in the US early May. Actually she showed a version of the film at the Cannes Film Festival 2016, but changed it after the US Elections, one reason with Wikileaks and eventual Russian hacking into the Democratic party files and because (she says so in the film): "This is not the film I thought I was making. The hardest dilemma was the decision I had to make after the screening at Cannes. I had two choices: either walk away from the film and not release it or to address the [rape] allegations."

Which she does in what is her most personal film after the fine works ”The Oath”, ”My Country, My Country” and of course the Oscar-winner ”Citizenfour” with Edward Snowden as the main character.

In ”Risk” it is Wikileak founder, the iconic Julian Assange, who is in



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Moscow IFF Documentaries

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

Moscow IFF Documentaries

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Happy Birthday Messi

Written 24-06-2017 12:54:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Happy Birthday Messi

We have had many posts on this site about the magician on a football pitch, Leo Messi, who today can celebrate his 30th birthday. Congratulations! We picked one text to celebrate. The one about Alex de la Iglesia’s film ”Messi” Here it comes:

Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, directors of the Magnificent7 Festival in Belgrade present ”Messi” that will be screened February 1st (2015) at the festival. The text also includes words from the director:

When one of the most important Spanish directors, Alex de la Iglesia was asked to make a documentary about world famous footballer Lionel Messi, he decided not to make the film about the sport but to look for the mistery behind it, for what he calls the “rosebud” moment. De la Iglesia was fascinated by the way that



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docu Talents in Karlovy Vary

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

Docu Talents in Karlovy Vary

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

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

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Tamar Tal: Shalom Italia

Written 20-06-2017 16:49:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Tamar Tal: Shalom Italia

The director name seemed familiar, Tamar Tal, and looking back at the posts on the site I found this on the wonderful one hour film that I saw at DOK Leipzig in 2011:

”Life in Stills” by Tamar Tal from Israel … is a very funny and warm film with a 96 year old grandmother and her grandson, who keep a photo shop alive in Tel Aviv. The scoop photos are from the declaration of independence of the state of Israel…

Now her newest film is Documentary of the Month at the Danish Cinematheque from June 22-June 28. I saw the trailer, link below, you should do the same, it will make you want to go and watch ”Shalom Italia”. Here is the synopsis of the film:

Three Italian Jewish brothers set off on a journey through Tuscany, in search of a cave where they hid as children to escape the Nazis. Their quest, full of humor, food and Tuscan landscapes, straddles the boundary between history and myth, both of which really, truly happened.

In Danish: Tre jødisk-italienske brødre på 73, 82 og 84 sætter hinanden stævne i Toscana. Som børn måtte de under 2. verdenskrig flygte fra nazisterne fra Firenze ud i en toscansk skov, hvor de skjulte sig i et helt år med deres familie i en hjemmebygget hule blandt nogle klippesten. Nu har de sat sig for at finde stedet i skoven, hvor de i frygt og stilhed levede et helt år og på den måde overlevede krigen. Der er masser af humor og varme imellem de tre brødre, der husker deres fortid meget forskelligt.

Israel, 2016, 70 mins.

http://tamartal.com/shalom-italia/

www.dfi.dk/Filmhuset/Cinemateket/Billetter-og-program 


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Celebrating Syria a Festival of Arts and Culture

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

Celebrating Syria  a Festival of Arts and Culture

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Vit Klusk: The White World According to Daliborek

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

Vit Klusk: The White World According to Daliborek

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Silver Crane Awards 2017 Lithuania

Written 14-06-2017 21:15:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Silver Crane Awards 2017 Lithuania

It’s been some good weeks for Lithuanian director Audrius Stonys. He won an award at DocsBarcelona and one at Krakow Film Festival and last night he received for the fourth time the national award for the best documentary 2017, “Woman and the Glacier”. The award is a trophy statuette of Silver Crane created by the sculptor Audrius Liaudanskas, given out for the 10th time.

Viewers of “Woman and the Glacier” will agree that the award for best cinematography went deservedly to Audrius Kezemys for his work on “Woman and the Glacier”. Superb is the only word that fits.

And no surprise that the award for best co-production went to Giedre Zickyte for her work with Chilean Maite Alberdi “I am Not from Here”.

Same Zickyte was not present at the ceremony as she was pitching a project at the Sheffield Doc/Fest together with director Marija Stonyte, who won the award for Best Student film, “Mountains Mountains”. Yes, Marija is the daughter of Audrius…

Photo of the two x Audrius, Stonys and Kezemys.

More winners for fiction and animation… check the website of Lithuanian Film Centre, an English list must be on its way:

http://www.lfc.lt/en/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Folkebio Allinge Shows Docs

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

Folkebio Allinge Shows Docs

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

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

Follow Allan Berg and his recommendations on this site.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Peace Award Comeback at DOKLeipzig

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

Peace Award Comeback at DOKLeipzig

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

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

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

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

http://www.dok-leipzig.de


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017/2

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

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017/2

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

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

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

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

https://docsonscreens.com/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Poetics

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017

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

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017

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

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

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Adam Papliński: Pitch the Doc

Written 09-06-2017 16:41:14 by Tue Steen Mller

Adam Papliński: Pitch the Doc

While at the Krakow Film Festival I ran into an old documentary friend, Polish producer Adam Papliński, who invited me to hear more about a new online project that he is launching right now at different festivals around the world: Pitch the Doc. He has received financial support from the EU Media Program and from the Polish Film Institute and the projects is endorsed by EDN, European Documentary Network. On the website of the latter, in an interview with Papliński as ”EDN Member of the Month”, he explains how he got the motivation for this project:

“The official launch of the platform in beta version was publicly announced during the 2017 Berlinale. The idea to launch such an internet service came to my mind 2-3 years earlier… I had received a phone call from a Russian filmmaker that we had selected to pitch a project at one of our events (Dragon Forum, ed.). He explained to me that right now he was on the Barents Sea shore shooting the film and, even though he was honoured by our decision, he could not afford to come. He had no money to pay for accommodation, he had no passport and so on… I found it a real pity that such a good project could not show up on the European market and that around the world there are probably a lot of other outstanding ideas and film projects struggling with similar problems. On the other hand I heard feedback from decision makers that the market lacks fresh new ideas. The obvious place for matchmaking the projects and investors seemed to me to be online, but I was surprised when after several days of surfing I didn't find a site providing an effective solution…”

That well known gap Papliński intends to close with Pitch the Doc, a place where the authors can place their proposal with the key information, we all know: logline, synopsis, treatment, link to trailer etc., all that which is asked for when you go to “live” pitching sessions – and where decision makers can place their demands.

I asked Papliński whether he thought that decision makers would sign up. He answered that several c.editors he had met liked the project very much, as “I am tired of travelling”.

A fine initiative in development, go the website and learn more and read the EDN interview where the Polish matchmaker explains more about Pitch the Doc that has a team of evaluators that is strong: Steven Seidenberg, Pawel Lozinski and Marijke Rawie.

www.pitchthedoc.com

http://edn.network/en/members/edn-members-of-the-month/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Web

Chris Marker Collected posts & notes on his works

Written 08-06-2017 18:55:12 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Chris Marker Collected posts & notes on his works

... and the euphoric discovery of "direct cinema" (you will never make me say "cinema verité") and on the crew's day off, I photographed a story I didn't completely understand. (Chris Marker)

JUXTAPOSITIONEN

I et interview med Chris Marker i Libération, 5. marts 2003 spørger intervieweren: ”… Hvorfor har De indvilliget i at udgive nogle af Deres film på DVD, og hvordan foretog De valget? ”

Der er tale om en to Arte / CNC udgivelser, en med med La jetée, 1962, Sans soleil, 1983 og en med Le tombeau d’Alexandre, 1992, sat i album med Alexandre Medvedkines Le bonheur, 1934. Alle franske originalversioner med engelsk speak og undertekster. Marker svarer intervieweren:

”Tyve år skiller La jetée fra Sans soleil. Og andre 20 år skiller Sans soleil fra nu. Hvis jeg skulle tale i den persons sted, som lavede disse film, ville det ikke længere være et interview, men en seance. I virkeligheden tror jeg ikke jeg valgte eller accepterede: nogle talte om det, og det blev gennemført. At der var et særligt slægtskab mellem disse to film var noget, jeg var klar over, men jeg mente ikke, jeg behøvede at forklare det - indtil jeg fandt en lille anonym tekst i et program i Tokyo, hvor der stod:

’Snart vil rejsen være til ende. Det er først på det tidspunkt, at vi vil vide om juxtapositionen af billeder giver nogen mening. Vi vil forstå, at vi har bedt med film, som man må på en pilgrimsrejse, som vi må hver gang, vi har været i nærheden af døden: på kattenes begravelsesplads, stående foran den døde giraf, sammen med kamikaze-piloterne i take-off øjeblikket, foran guerillaerne dræbt i uafhængighedskrigen. I La jetée, ender det dumdristige eksperiment at se ind i fremtiden med døden. I bearbejdningen af det samme tema 20 år senere, har Marker ved bønnen overvundet døden.” Når man læser dette, skrevet af en, man ikke kender, en som ikke kan vide noget som helst om filmenes tilblivelse, rammes man af en særlig følelse. Et eller andet er sket…’ ” (Notat, 2008, ABN)

GODARD NAILED IT

The interview that Allan Berg refers to in his Danish language article Juxtapositionen is in English and is one of the very rare conversations that are printed with the enigmatic French master. The interview is wonderful reading. Here are two bites to evoke your hunger for more:



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

DOCAlliance /1 CHRIS MARKER

Written 07-06-2017 12:21:16 by Tue Steen Mller

DOCAlliance /1 CHRIS MARKER

I had a talk with colleague Allan Berg yesterday. He remembered the time of repertory cinemas, where classics could be seen. Nowadays this is mostly the film historical job for the cinematheques. BUT, we agreed, some vod’s have classics on their repertory and when it comes to high quality, nothing compares to DOCAlliance.

That now launches a scoop: 7 films by legendary master of the essay film, French Chris Marker (1921-2012). Quote from the presentation:

DAFilms presents a cross section of the work of the writer, photographer and explorer, ranging from Sunday in Peking from 1956 through his most renowned documentary essay Sunless and The Pier which inspired Terry Gilliam to make his cult film 12 Monkeys to one of the most famous cyberpunk films Level Five from 1997. Read an interview with Bamchade Pourvali, French film critic and author of Marker’s biography. Le temps de la rétrospective est arrivé!

The films are (English titles): Sunday in Peking (1956), Letter from Siberia (1957), Level Five (1997), Sunless (1983), Junkopia (1981), Description of a Struggle (1960), The Pier (1962). Sunless = Sans Soleil and The Pier = La Jetée being the most famous.

Dear readers, the cost for a monthly subscription to DOCAlliance is 5€!!!

https://dafilms.com/program/628-chris-marker


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Web

Krakow FF Winners International Comp.

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

Krakow FF Winners International Comp.

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

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

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

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

www.krakowfilmfestival.pl

 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow FF National Competition Winners

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

Krakow FF National Competition Winners

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

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

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

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

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

www.krakowfilmfestival.pl


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow FF: Docs to Go!

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

Krakow FF: Docs to Go!

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

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

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

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

Photo: Waszynski and Sophia Loren

www.doclab.pl

 

 

 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow FF DocLab & My Favourites

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

Krakow FF DocLab & My Favourites

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow FF Content is King or...

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

Krakow FF Content is King or...

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow FF Main Competition

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

Krakow FF Main Competition

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Rahul Jains Speech in Barcelona

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

Rahul Jains Speech in Barcelona

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

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

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

www.docsbarcelona.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona 2017: The Winners

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

DocsBarcelona 2017: The Winners

It was a proud festival director Joan Gonzalez, who before the award announcement last night told the audience that almost 16000 spectators had visited DocsBarcelona this year. An increase of 50%! Much to do with the festival being longer than before, and, Gonzalez told me, the media and press coverage has been bigger. For the content, Jury President Rada Sesic told me – who is head of the programming – that she found the selection of films for the Panorama very strong.

I was happy with the awards. Maite Alberdi from Chile had her second Best Documentary Prize for ”Los Ninos” (”The Grown-Ups”), the first one was for ”Tea Time”. TV3 Catalunya stands behind the award of 5000€ in cash. The New Talent Award, also decided upon by the Panorama Jury went to ”Last Men in Aleppo” by Feras Fayad.

The Latitud Award went to ”Al Otro Lado Del Muro” (”The Other Side of the Wall”), also 5000€ to be used for completion of a work, sponsored by the facility house Antaviana Films. With a special mention to the impressive film ”Los Ofendidos” by Marcela Zamora from El Salvador.

Great pleasure to see two good friends on video on the big screen for the newly established ”What the Doc” award: Audrius Stonys for ”Woman and the Glacier” and Pawel Lozinski for ”You Have No Idea How Much I Love You”. The two documentary artists were glad to share with each other an award given by a one man jury, local great filmmaker Inaki Lacuesta.

And then Rahul Jain with ”Machines” was on stage to thank for the Amnesty International Award. He made a brilliant speech that I will try to get hold of. Listen readers, Jain is only 24 years old and has made this cinematic masterpiece…

The audience decided to give Catalina Mesa the award for ”Jerico” that is wonderful warm film about wonderful warm women.

Some more local awards were given, you can check them on

www.docsbarcelona.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona: La Chana

Written 29-05-2017 08:54:14 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona: La Chana

Una Noche Fantastica, she said, when she came to the stage after the film ”La Chana” about her had been shown. Full house for the closing film of the 20th edition of DocsBarcelona, standing ovation in several stages – when the film was finished, when Antonia Santiago Amador, a true diva, entered the cinema and walked to the stage, and when she sat down and danced her flamenco again.

This was indeed an unforgettable night, and for me who had seen the film a couple of times before, I am happy to say chapeau to the young Croatian born director Lucija Stojevic, who studied architecture in Edinburgh, film in Prague and who is now living in Barcelona. The film is well made, the rythm found, the use of photos and archive and the footage of today superbly mixed. It’s not easy to make a film where you have to choose when to direct the camera towards the face and when towards the feet of La Chana!

You filmed my soul, La Chana said to Lucija Stojevic.

http://www.noon-films.com/portfolio_page/lachana/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona: Pawel Lozinski

Written 28-05-2017 13:01:51 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona: Pawel Lozinski

I Have No Idea How Much They Loved It – but I think they did, the audience for the masterclass with Polish Pawel Lozinski. We (Lozinski and I as the moderator) enjoyed a lot what we were asked to do: Choose 7 shots/sequences from your films and talk about them. Mostly about the form, the aesthetical choices after setting up the clip with some background information on content.

”Birthday” from 1992 was the first shot, the film that won the first prize at the festival on Bornholm, Baltic Film & TV Festival. It was the first film of Pawel Lozinski, a tough one on the famous Jewish Polish writer Henryk Grynberg searching for the remains of his father, who was killed during the war. Shot on 16mm film.

Later on Lozinski made the film ”The Way It Is” from his neighbourhood (1999), ”Chemo” from 2009, which is a film he decided to do when his mother got cancer, the controversial ”Father and Son” (2013) that was meant to be a film by Marcel and Pawel together, but Marcel decided to make his own version… It did not make the conflicted relationship between them easier!

If that was the reason for Lozinski to make ”You Have No Idea…”, I asked him. Could be, he said about the film that was shown in the cinema later that same friday.

As a small gift to the audience, ”Sisters” (11 minutes) was shown, a film that Pawel Lozinski shot when he had a break in shooting ”The Way It Is”. What are you doing, the sisters asked the director when they met in the courtyard. I am making a film about interesting people in my neighbourhood, he answered. Are we interesting, they asked. See the film, Yes they are!

www.docsbarcelona.com


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DocsBarcelona: Women Talk Documentaries

Written 28-05-2017 10:35:50 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona: Women Talk Documentaries

”New Directions and Perspectives in Documentary Films” was the title of the 90 minutes long panel discussion at the CCCB friday afternoon, moderated in a professional and warm manner by Debra Zimmerman from Women Make Movies in New York, the organisation that has 600 films in its catalogue. After one hour Zimmerman said, ”Sooo, I am sure you have noticed that I have not yet asked you what it means to be a woman filmmaker…”.

Instead we got a very interesting one-by-one presentation of the young filmmakers, who showed a clip from their films and told the audience how they came to make documentaries. A classic comment came from Roser Corella, Catalan director living in Berlin, ”I used to work in television but I wanted to try on my own, develop the creative part”. Her film is ”Grap and Run” about bride kidnapping in Kirgizstan”, a film that has had a big audience at the festival.

As has indeed ”Amazona” by Clare Weiskopf, filmmaker and journalist. The opening film of the festival, a film about



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Barcelona Blues

Written 26-05-2017 13:29:40 by Tue Steen Mller

Barcelona Blues

Oh, my dear Barcelona, city of architecture, Gaudi, a beach, mountain, gourmet restaurants, football… I have come here for DocsBarcelona for 20 years, I love you but I suffer to see you killing yourself.

The traffic is noisy, overwhelming, polluting, the crowds of people in the streets are simply too many, I understand that the local population has moved out from the city to rent out flats for us foreigners, I know that your local government with the new mayor wants to do something about it, but has done nothing so far. I talked to one of the staff members of the DocsBarcelona who told me she had to keep her window closed as small black particles of dirt entered her room. My wife and I have almost been run down by people on bicycles, who are allowed to ride on the pavements, WHY, we come from a bicycle country, this is not usual in DK, and why so much dog shit in the streets… There is a feeling of stress when you go around. Total change after 20 years.

So it is actually veeery nice to escape the street reality and go to the cinema to watch documentaries at the 20th edition of DocsBarcelona. Photo from The Wonderful Kingdom of Papa Alaev.

www.docsbarcelona.com


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DocsBarcelona Rough Cuts

Written 24-05-2017 17:16:57 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona Rough Cuts

I have organised this together with Martina Rogers from DocsBarcelona for years and I enjoy it very much. From the picture (from last year) you might see that in nice sofas there is seated an exclusive panel of people from different sides of the documentary community. The goal is to generate creative and constructive discussions that will favour the further development of the projects, i.e. the story building, the character development, the editing quality.

We were again fortunate to have a fine panel: filmmaker, teacher and programmer at the festival Daniel Jariod, festival director Inti Cordera from Mexico, Jordi Ambros from TV3 Catalunya (for one session), Rada Sesic from Sarajevo FF, where she is head of documentaries, at DocsBarcelona she is president of the main jury, Debra Zimmermann from Women Make Movies in New York, Hanka Kastelicová from HBO Europe, Esther van Messel from First Hand Films in Switzerland (for two sessions) and Chris Hastings from PBS – World Channel.

And most important the filmmakers, who received valuable positive and constructive criticism from the panel:

Marlén Viñayo from El Salvador with ”Cachada” about wonderful women, who gather to talk about ”the circles of violence” they have experienced and who end up, with the help of a theatre director, making a play about these issues. Director Roberto Salinas and choreographer Laura Domingo from Italy/Nicaragua and Cuba with ”Cuban Dancer”, the story of the enormous talented ballet dancer, 15 year old Alexis, who with his parents move to Florida. How will he be able to continue his career after having been at the Cuba Ballet School? Director Sebastian Saam with ”Tatap” about super star, one-armed guitarist Andrés Godoy from Chile, his life in that country, the family, the Allende period, the accident where he lost an arm and his Asian concert tour.

www.docsbarcelona.com


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DocsBarcelona: Xavi, Alberdi, Deir Yassin, Olga

Written 22-05-2017 11:51:48 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona: Xavi, Alberdi, Deir Yassin, Olga

We had the traditional sunday dinner invited by festival director Joan Gonzalez. His wife and my wife were there, Joan and his son Marti, with whom I always talk football. Barca – FC Barcelona – first of all, on the situation now for the club that ended up being number 2 and is out of the Champions League. What remains is to win Copa del Rey. Which players will be sold and who will come for the next season…

And then the magical moment happened – reminding us of the time when Barca won it all: Into the restaurant comes Xavi Hernandez, the maestro, with his family, the playmaker, the man who gave the play a flow, a humble and total loyal man to the club, 600 matches. He is now playing in Qatar, 37 years old.

… and now back to the festival, where I saw three films. Chilean Maite Alberdi’s ”Los Niños” (”The Grown Ups”) featuring adults



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DocsBarcelona: Bride Kidnapping, I.F.Stone, Father

Written 21-05-2017 11:38:57 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona: Bride Kidnapping, I.F.Stone, Father

… and Son, and Jens Soering. I saw four films yesterday i.e. saturday here at the DocsBarcelona 20th edition. Let me start with a wonderful moment at the Q&A after the film ”All Governments Lie”. A 12 year old girl asked in fine English (not that common in Catalonia!) the director, Canadian Alfred Peabody, ”do you think that my generation can change the world”! Apparently she was inspired by the film and its timely subject, a free and independent press. The director told her ”why don’t you become a journalist” as was the man, who inspired Peabody to make the film, legendary journalist I.F. Stone. I am old enough to remember him and his direct criticism of the Americans being at Vietnam. There is great archive with Stone but the film also introduces people who have been inspired by him: Michael Moore, who of course praises Stone’s humour, Glenn Greenwald who worked on Laura Poitras’ Snowden film and set up The Intercept together with her and Jeremy Scahill. Greenwald says that had Stone been alive today, he would probably have been a blogger. Below a link to the website of the film, where you find all the journalists in the film and their comments on the mass media manipulated world we live in.

Before that film I had seen Catalan Roser Corella’s ”Grab and Run”, that introduces and discusses the Kirgisz tradition for kidnapping of women for marriage. An anthropological study that also includes a shocking ending, where the filmmakers follow a kidnapping of a woman. I did not follow the discussion in Catalan but I guess the ethics of filming this incident was raised. The photo pictures the couple, the photo was chosen by the festival to be the poster.

And then I had fun with father and son in ”Deux Cancres” by French Ludovic Vieuille (who will be present for the second screening May 26 20.15, COME!). It is an excellent piece of documentary, full of embarrassing moments when the two fight with the French grammar, the boy being impatient, the father trying his best, having to give up again and again because he does not understand the questions raised in the books the boy brings home. Shot over a long period, the camera registers their mood and lets us have a bitter-sweet laugh. Why does he have to go through all this stupidity in the French education system. OMG! It is a clever film, and emotional!

Where ”Deux Cancres” is minimalistic in tone and scope, Marcus Vetter’s ”The Promise” is a brilliant piece of journalism that is taken to the level of a Shakespearean drama, a love story, a demonstration of the crazy American judicial system, and first of all the meeting with German Jens Soering, who has been in jail for more than 30 years for something that he has not done; that is the conclusion you make having seen the film and listened to him. Vetter got permission to make an interview with him for four hours. I watched the television version, 3 hours, on Danish television and enjoyed to see it here in Barcelona on a big screen with Marcus Vetter present to answer questions at a screening that lasted till just after midnight.   

https://allgovernmentslie.com/film

http://promise-movie.com/the-movie/

www.docsbarcelona.com


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DocsBarcelona: Glawogger, John and Amanda, FARC

Written 20-05-2017 14:00:36 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona: Glawogger, John and Amanda, FARC

It was the third time that I saw ”Untitled” by Michael Glawogger and Monika Willi. Glawogger was here in Barcelona in 2014 to show his ”Whore’s Glory” and do a masterclass. Some months later the same year he passed away. His editor Monika Willi made ”Untitled”, interpreting what Glawogger would have done with the material and adding her own interpretation. I discover new moments every time. There were 25 spectators for the screening at 4pm at the Aribau Club Cinema, there will hopefully be more for the next screening this coming wednesday. There are great films and there are films that are more than that, that stand out – I was happy to watch ”Three Rooms of Melancholia” by Pirjo Hinkasalo in Tbilisi and I am happy to have met Glawogger and seen also this last film by him, and the trilogy he left to us, ”Whore’s Glory”, ”Workingman’s Death” and ”Megacities”. Honkasalo and Glawogger: Film History. I will try to write a review of ”Untitled” later on. Maybe I should watch it for the fourth time.

It was also the third time I was with John and Amanda, wonderful teachers, who are the main characters in ”In Loco Parentis” by Irish Neasa Ni Chianáin and David Rane, who were at the screening yesterday (see photo) to meet the audience for a short Q&A session. The film is a fine success all over and is now going to theatres in the US with the distribution company Magnolia taking care of it. Watching the film always makes me think back to my own school time and the teachers, yes, there were some fine ones who cared.

The selection for DocsBarcelona of course has a special eye for Spanish language documentaries and I enjoyed to be taught about the peace process in Colombia in ”El Silencio de los Fusiles” by Natalia Orozco, who has done interviews with the government and its representatives as well as with several comandante’s from FARC. Amazing she could get that access to make an interesting journalistic work!

Tough evening in Aribau Club 1, thematically – the last film to be shown was ”Last Men in Aleppo” by Feras Fayyad, we have written about that touching tragic and human film that wins awards at many festivals. Is it a candidate here as well?

www.docsbarcelona.com


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DocsBarcelona Opening 2017

Written 19-05-2017 12:55:07 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona Opening 2017

So there we were last night for the opening of the 20th edition of DocsBarcelona in the Aribau Multicines. Full house and fine atmosphere. The audience got up to sing the Beatles ”All you need is love”, changed to ”All you need is Docs”! I was asked to come to the stage together with dear friend Aurora Moreno to receive flowers as the two of us together with Joan Gonzalez, director of the festival, were there 20 years ago, when the event was started after one year of prologue in Granada. What has happened during these 20 years is the theme of a Catalan round table later in the festival, that this year has extended its duration so it goes on for 11 years.

Joan Gonzalez made a welcome speech in Catalan, so I can not tell you what he said but for his welcoming Clare Weiskopf, whose film ”Amazona” as previously reported on this site was shown in the presence of the director, her husband, producer and cameraperson Nicolas van Hemelryck and little Noa, who is at the beautiful end image of the film about mother and daughter: Val and Clare.

The film was from my hearing of the applause very well received, for me a fine opening film, also because Clare and Nico pitched the film at DocsBarcelona and was at the rough cut session.

… and it goes well deservedly to festivals all over the world.

www.docsbarcelona.com


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CinDOC-Tbilisi 2017/ The Winners

Written 18-05-2017 08:06:05 by Tue Steen Mller

CinDOC-Tbilisi 2017/ The Winners

No objections to the choice of the jury at CinéDOC 2017, who gave the main award to ”You Have No Idea How Much I love You” by Polish Pawel Lozinski. With a special mention to Miroslav Janek’s ”Normal Autistic Film”. Ulli Pfau, spokesperson for a jury that also included Ukrainian Gennady Koffmann and Lithuanian Giedre Beinoriute, said that they would have loved to share the award between the two but that was not possible. For me Audrius Stonys ”Woman and the Glacier” and Helena Trestikova’s ”A Marriage Story” could also have qualified.

Lozinski can be double happy as he was also the favourite of the audience and received the so-called Audience Award. In other words: the jurors from the documentary world and the audience agreed.

The ceremony at the beautiful building on the Rustaveli Avenue – in Soviet times it was the venue for the pioneers, festival director Artchil Khetagouri told me, ”I came here as a child” – ended with a skype thank you from Pawel Lozinski, who had returned to Poland after having spent a couple of days at the festival with well attended Q&A sessions.

The beginning was equally exciting. The Youth Jury was on stage



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CinDOC-Tbilisi CivilPitch

Written 16-05-2017 12:42:15 by Tue Steen Mller

CinDOC-Tbilisi CivilPitch

Sooo, what is that. I was curious and happy to be invited to see if that can work – the match of ngo’s and filmmakers. Such a good idea, a challenge for the filmmakers and for the ngo’s. Supported and hosted by Open Society Georgia Foundation. 11 projects had been selected after a call that included both ngo’s and filmmakers, who had met before at a meeting, where the matching was established.

The festival direction: We want ”to link civil society organisations with filmmakers, media professionals and donors. Together we can transform CivilPitch into an important annual event that inspires, provokes and ultimately proves to be invaluable to civil society as well as to donors and media professionals. CivilPitch is a central platform where professionals representing different fields can merge their skills and experiences in order to create a valuable film product that can appeal to a wider audience, transcending the limited number of interest groups that may usually follow these topics.”

I attended a training session and was asked to moderate the pitching of the 11 projects yesterday. The training had been led by two young filmmakers, Dutch/German Daniel Abma and Georgian Ana Tsimintia and the 10 panelists were representatives from ngo’s with the addition of a couple of film people.



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CinDOC Tbilisi Third Day

Written 16-05-2017 10:39:26 by Tue Steen Mller

CinDOC Tbilisi Third Day

3 Rooms on Melancholia” by Pirjo Honkasalo: The film is from 2004. I had not seen it for many years and it was a different experience today. The film was the same but I had changed. There are children in my life today, grandchildren, small children like the ones in the film. Who suffer because of the war in Chechnya. Who have no parents and/or come from socially hard backgrounds, alcohol, sexual abuse, illnesses. Looking at the kids and their faces and their tears. Heartbreaking.

When was the last time you saw the film, I asked Pirjo Honkasalo at the masterclass that followed just after the screening for a full hall in the Amirani Cinema. I have not seen it since it was premiered, she said. I make the film and give it to the audience to make their film in their heads.

The two hour masterclass with the legendary director, who was the special guest of the festival, could have lasted much longer. Honkasalo gave the audience the story of the film from a to z talking about how to gain trust with the characters, how her ratio (this time 6:1) was much more than usual (!), how she and her producer Kristina Pervilä got the permission to film at the military academy in Kronstadt, how she does not like to pitch, how she does not make scripts, the writing she does is to get the money, ”but of course it helps to write, makes things clearer for yourself as well”, how she had decided on the form before filming, the triptych that the film works from – with the headlines ”longing”, ”breathing” and ”remembering”. And how she insists on having the final cut. No compromises!

Today ”Tanjuska” is being screened. We did not have time to talk about that film or ”Mysterion” or ”Atman” – but Pirjo Honkasalo touched upon the ethical questions connected to Tanjuska and to the Atman-film.

A pleasure to be with a great film director. The audience was inspired, I am sure.


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CineDOC Tbilisi Second Day

Written 15-05-2017 14:08:34 by Tue Steen Mller

CineDOC Tbilisi Second Day

With Lithuania as the guest country here at CineDOC Tbilisi festival, it was natural to have Giedre Zickyte visiting. The director, who has had a big success with the film ”Master and Tatyana” with and about the brilliant photographer Vitas Luckus and his widow – and with the film she made with Chilean Maite Alberti, ”I’m not from here”, was giving a masterclass on the way she has used archives in ”Master and Tatyana” and in her ”How We Played the Revolution”. It was a very much alive, energetic and passionate Zickyte, who showed clips and told the audience how she kept on looking for material that could be used, sometimes (with the revolution film) it could take weeks to find the right material as she did, when she discovered a wonderful scene, where two children discuss – around 1990 – what the street demonstration was for. Hilarious! And she demonstrated how she integrated archive footage into the narrative flow. And how she used the photos of Luckus in two ways: to tell the dramatic story of his life and to show how fantastic a photographer he is.

Zickyte is now working on ”The Jump” that was pitched last year at the IDFA festival in Amsterdam. Logline: ”A breath-taking jump over the icy ocean propels a sailor from a Soviet boat to an American vessel. But is it enough to fulfil his dream of freedom?”

The film will have amazing archive material and Zickyte told us that she will travel back to the US, Florida with the protagonist Simas Kudirka as she after one and a half year now has the permission to film on the American ship. She showed the trailer of ”The jump” that Simas took in 1970. There is a very promising film coming up.


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CinDOC-Tbilisi First Day

Written 14-05-2017 07:17:46 by Tue Steen Mller

CinDOC-Tbilisi First Day

… for me, arriving early saturday morning to the Georgian capital to have a wonderful first day at the five year old festival led by Ileana Stanculescu and Artchil Khetagouri. ”Welcome home”, a Georgian filmmaker said to me, and right he is, I feel very much at home here among the many talented Georgian directors and with the Lithuanians, who are here as Lithuania is the Guest Country.

One of them, of course, is Audrius Stonys, who is experiencing a great festival success with his ”Woman and the Glacier”. Just back from HotDocs festival in Canada, the world traveller had a one hour conversation with me about the film and about ”The Baltic New Wave”, his next film where his task is to introduce the audience to what was and is the poetic cinema as it comes out/came out in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

I sat on the first row in the Amirani Cinema, full house for the film of Stonys and for the film that followed, Pawel Lozinski’s ”You Have No Idea How Much I Love You”, the magic chamber play by the Polish director, who took the audience behind the film, how was the casting, how many cameras, the research, the ”why” he wanted to make the film. Anna Dziapshipa, filmmaker, producer, photographer – and professional interpreter gave the long Q&A the rythm it needed. I was happy to be there, also because this was the preparation for the two hour masterclass with Lozinski at the upcoming DocsBarcelona.

Finally an outdoor screening of the Israeli ”Presenting Princess Shaw” by Ido Haar, a film I had heard about and thought ”ah, another of these ”American Dream came through” films”, and it was, but Samantha aka Princess Shaw is such a lively and charming character and the Israeli musician Kutiman, who makes fine art out of her youtube clips is such a sympathetic person, it is a warm film that has its magic moments.

www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com


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Joe Bini Interview

Written 13-05-2017 09:41:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Joe Bini Interview

I was there in Prague when American editor Joe Bini made his lecture in connection with the East Doc Platform. I wrote a small report that first of all had its focus on his collaboration with Werner Herzog. Now you have the chance to read a more in-depth interview with the editor, made by Marta Obršálová and brought on the IDF (Institute of Documentary Film) website, link below.

Two clips to stimulate your appetite to read it all:

On trailers: To be honest, I hate trailers. For me, it is putting the  cart before the horse, as they say. Especially when you are asked to cut a trailer before the film has been edited or perhaps even shot. How can I make a trailer when I do not know what the film is about? It’s more like advertising. I absolutely understand how important it is but it is not something I am good at. I did a couple early on in my career and I just realized it is definitely not something I enjoy doing…

On the director and editor relationship: A film is generally edited by two people – the director and the editor – two people who have a different relationship to the same material. In a documentary, I usually start my job after the filming is done. By that point, the director has already formed a relationship with the material. He or she already has an idea about the characters – who is lying, who is telling the truth, who is important in the story or not. The editor does not have any of that in his mind. The editor has only what they see when they look at the footage. I have often had the experience, especially with young filmmakers, when they come back from shooting, they say to me: This is what happened, it was an amazing scene, the guy was great! etc. But after I have a look I often have to say: Maybe so, but that’s not what I saw…

https://dokweb.net/articles/


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Carolin Genreith: Happy

Written 11-05-2017 13:29:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Carolin Genreith: Happy

The CinéDOC-Tbilisi festival starts tonight and what is the habit of most festivals for the opening night film, this is a light and entertaining one. With a subject that has been treated again and again, mostly in kliché-language: White male from Western country goes to Thailand and finds a wife. He wants an obedient woman with whom he can have sex. Thai woman wants to marry to be able to survive herself and support her family. Of course there are many nuances and the director manages to get some of them out of the shade because Carolin Genreith’s father is wonderful as a film character. He is quite open to all the questions coming from his daughter, he fights hard to learn the thai language, he likes his wife to be, who is 30 years younger than him, close to the age of his daughter – he wants as a 60 year old to have a good rest of  time, he can not stand to be alone any longer. He is energetic at his farm in Germany, a farm he takes care of, when he is not in his office at the city hall, if I got it right. In other words, he is present, the camera likes him. But the cultural differences are big, the understanding of what is love, the understanding of what is a family is not the same in Germany and Thailand. The first third part of the film takes place in Germany with father and daughter. Then off to Thailand where father Dieter, daughter Carolin and Thai woman Tukta are in focus.

The festival has included the presentation text of the director/daughter. Here it is:



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Vurdering:

 
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Nick Fraser to Receive BAFTA Award

Written 11-05-2017 08:41:45 by Tue Steen Mller

Nick Fraser to Receive BAFTA Award

My first reaction was ”oh, did he not get that already”, but no. But this year the former BBC Storyville editor is to get it, the Special Award at the British Academy Television Awards 2017. No objections!

Nick Fraser has been a name mentioned on filmkommentaren since we started almost 10 years ago. He has been a clever, often tough commentator at pitching sessions, he has commissioned classics as “Searching for Sugarman” and “Man on Wire”, he has written books and articles on the importance of documentaries in today’s society.

And he has – with Danish Mette Hoffman Meyer, producer Don Edkins and previously Finnish Iikka Vehkalahti – been behind the “Why”-series, like “Why Democracy” and “Why Poverty”, tv documentary series that went all over the world.

A press release came in yesterday from Yaddo, “the global online documentary platform” with Fraser as founder and editor. It was set up in 2016, interesting to see what he can get out of that.

I remember Nick Fraser from the 90’es, when he came to Bornholm to the Baltic Sea Forum. He was enormously positive to the Eastern European documentaries and their makers, and his commitment to Viktor Kossakovsky and his “Wednesday” was very important for this “documentary star”.

Congratulations!  

www.yaddo.com


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Cindoc Focus on Civic Activism

Written 10-05-2017 14:59:39 by Tue Steen Mller

Cindoc Focus on Civic Activism

More and more documentary film festivals pick a theme for their programs. The festivals want to state their comments on what goes on in the world and/or in their own country. This goes for the young Cinédoc-Tbilisi festival in Georgia. I asked Ileana Stanculescu from the festival what the poster represented. She answered like this outlining the chosen themes:

“This year (the festival runs from May 11 till May 16) we have a strong focus on civic activism. Our program this year covers five themes reflecting five human needs: safety, passion, faith, imagination and solidarity. 

Under the umbrella of the theme ‘solidarity’ we will present and



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