Filmkommentaren

Top Docs to be Screened in Riga

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

Top Docs to be Screened in Riga

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo FF: True Stories

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

Sarajevo FF: True Stories

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo FF: Pawlikowski and Documentaries

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

Sarajevo FF: Pawlikowski and Documentaries

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Current Time TV Also at Sarajevo Film Festival

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

Current Time TV  Also at Sarajevo Film Festival

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



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Categories: TV, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo: Docs Go Big!

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

Sarajevo: Docs Go Big!

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

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

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

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

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

Lots to watch, lost of magical documentary moments.

www.sff.ba


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo Mon Amour

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

Sarajevo Mon Amour

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

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

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

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

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

Will report more from this inviting and well organised festival.

www.sff.ba


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DokuFest Winners Announced

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

DokuFest Winners Announced

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

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



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Makedox Number 10

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

Makedox Number 10

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Don Edkins: Creating an African Voice

Written 10-08-2019 14:41:13 by Tue Steen Mller

Don Edkins: Creating an African Voice

Variety (July 20) brought an article (written by Christopher Vourlias) from Durban Intl. Film Festival, where Don Edkins was talking. Characterised in the article as « veteran filmmaker and executive director of non-profit group Steps », I can only add from many – but still too few – meetings with Edkins that he stands out as a pioneer, when it comes to production and distribution of documentaries in Africa, but also internationally, a true gentleman, who has been a wonderful visitor, when he came to Copenhagen, mostly together with his Finnish friend and collaborator Iikka Vehkalahti.

I pick a couple of quotes from the article that you should definitely read in its total length, link below :



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Leaving CinDOC Summer Film School in Gori

Written 07-08-2019 15:02:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Leaving CinDOC Summer Film School in Gori

Istanbul airport, gosh it is big. Lot of walking from gate to gate. And the two times I have been going to/from Tbilisi via Istanbul, gates have been changed – and flights delayed. But this has given me the time to think about the week in Gori at the Summer Film School and the film projects and rough cuts, which were presented there – from Georgia, Armenia, Aserbadjan, and Germany, the five students from the Konrad Wolf Film School in Babelsberg. I have in a previous post on FB praised their contribution, a 15 mins. docu short on Gori. Well done, entertaining, with atmosphere and you could see that they enjoyed making this one-day excercise.

Monday was the day where the rough cut participants presented the results



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Pennebaker 1925-2019

Written 05-08-2019 07:23:59 by Tue Steen Mller

You can find many obituaries on D.A. Pennebaker, who passed away August 1. I have chosen to copy-paste from this site a text I wrote when in Syria for the DoxBox Festival:
Dox Box Damascus 6

This is one of the highlights of Dox Box 2010, Orwa Nyrabia said as a proud and enthusiastic introduction to the masterclass with D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, moderated by idfa director Ally Derks. And it turned out to be a very pleasant couple of hours with the renowned filmmakers who made film history together with other big names like Albert Maysles, Richard Leacock and Robert Drew, the Direct Cinema/Cinéma Vérité directors. At the festival, among others, the Bob Dylan film ”Don’t Look Back” was shown and the young filmmakers had a lot of questions to that film and especially to the method connected to the filmmaking style.

The best way to reflect what was said during the masterclass is to quote Pennebaker and Hegedus for many wonderful sentences that may inspire our readers, Hegedus being the analytical and Pennebaker the one full of stories, loving the anecdote, both of them being very generous and warm in their approach to the audience:

Am I a master, ”No I was not the first person to put my foot on the beach”. Subject, how do you find them, ”We don’t, they find us, we are very depending on our friends to give us hints, people come to us”. Story?, ”You don’t know what is going to happen when we start”. Hegedus and Pennebaker is a couple privately: ”We get divorced four or five times during a film”. Where does the inspiration come from, ”Creative energy can’t be stored!”. ”A documentary is like the stories you heard as a child, once upon a time...”. Film crew?: ”The smaller the better”. Agreements? ”We go for a handshake agreement”. A fly on the wall? ”No, I can not take an invisible pill... I watch, I am like a cat, you can not see what I think”. ”The money always comes”. ”I don’t feel like a director”. Observation, Objectivity? ”No, how can one’s person’s observation be all people’s observation?”. ”We are following the action, and is very often led by the sound”. ”You are like a detective, because you don’t know what happens”. ”Style is driven by technology”. ”You are filming for an audience”. ”Look for accuracy”.


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CinDOC Summer School Gori Bunescu and Ceaucescu

Written 04-08-2019 22:21:37 by Tue Steen Mller

CinDOC Summer School Gori  Bunescu and Ceaucescu

Did you see it : ”The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaucescu” (director : Andrei Ujica, editor and sound designer Dana Bunescu) from 2010, 3 hours long, a true masterpiece. You have to ! Archive the whole way through, no commentary, no explanations of where we are and when and why. Chronological. Probably difficult to follow for a younger audience, easy for me because of my age, having followed what happens in the world – and in Romania. I remember that Ceaucescu was welcomed in Denmark as well, he got a medal from the Danish queen, and we Danes were not the only ones welcoming or visiting him as you see in the film, where plane after plane lands in Bucharest with leaders of the world ; de Gaulle, Nixon, and of course the friends from GDR, Honecker and USSR, Brezhnev, and later the one he broke with, Gorbachov.

And for me personally touching to see my hero Dubcek, smiling he was, this



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CinDOC Summer School Talent Development

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

CinDOC Summer School  Talent Development

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

In the Cinema in Gori Georgia

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

In the Cinema in Gori Georgia

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CinDOC Summer School in Gori

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

CinDOC Summer School in Gori

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergei Loznitsa: State Funeral

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

Sergei Loznitsa: State Funeral

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Welcome to the Documentary World

Written 26-07-2019 09:58:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Welcome to the Documentary World

29 film Zelig students got their diplomas recently, as last moment of the three years professional course in documentary filmmaking, edition 2016-2019, which just ended at the end of June.

The final exams have been conducted by a commission formed by external experts in the three school specialisations (Valerio Moser for Directing/Project Development, Martin Rattini for Photography/Light, Cornelia Schöpf for Editing/Postproduction) and by a member of the school staff. The graduates presented and discussed their graduation films and a significant piece of work realised in these years.

Their final films are now being submitted to International Film Festivals and will be presented in a local event in Bolzano which will take place in November.

Here the list of the graduates:

DIRECTING / PROJECT DEVELOPMENT
Maria Benedetta Boldrin
Giuseppe Crudele
Clara Delva
Antonio Di Biase
Erald Dika
Caterina Ferrari
Julie Iris Hössle
Linda Nyman
Thomas Saglia
Martin Telser

PHOTOGRAPHY/LIGHT
Tamara Diepold
Simone Endrizzi
Julian Giacomuzzi
Annachiara Gislimberti
Mark Modric
Mattia Ottaviani
Philipp Rubatscher
Marcus Zahn
Luca Zontini

Andrea Bertoldi

EDITING/POSTPRODUCTION
Emma Baruffaldi
Iain Thomas Beairsto
Aaron Beitz
Gabriella Cosmo
Claudia Gerstl
Giulia Micheli
Lorenzo Misia
Petra Pirandello
Nadja Werner

www.zeligfilm.it


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Luke Moody Leaves Sheffield Doc/Fest

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

Luke Moody Leaves Sheffield Doc/Fest

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

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

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

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

Colonial forms of filmmaking…!

Read the whole article, link below.

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Jola Dylewska: Marek Edelman and there was Love

Written 24-07-2019 18:28:01 by Tue Steen Mller

Jola Dylewska: Marek Edelman and there was Love

in the Ghetto… made in cooperation with Andrzej Wajda and Agnieszka Holland

Marek Edelman (1919-2009): Holocaust survivor and the last leader of the Warsaw Ghetto. When being interviewed – close up of his face, smoking one cigarette after the other – he appears to be a grumpy old man apparently not liking all the questions, at the same time as he enjoys, and he does that very well, to talk about the women he knew, the couples he remembers. No talk about the horror in the ghetto, there was (also) love in the ghetto. That’s what Edelman wants to remember. There is a text at the end credits: “He always said: “It’s easy to hate, but love requires effort and dedication”.

It’s about Love in the Ghetto in a film that is built up in a very simple way: Edelman talking, b/w archive from the ghetto, love songs, and staged scenes mostly with no dialogue, love scenes, well made, mostly without dialogue, co-written by Holland and co-dramatised by Wajda.

It sounds schematic but it works, it is touching, there is a fine never bombastic editing from Edelman to the staged scenes to the strong archive photos from the ghetto. There is Tosia, the nurse, Dola the red-haired beauty, Pola who leaves her boyfriend to go with her mother to the Umschlagplatz, where the wagons were waiting for them.. as they were for the blond Hendusia Himelfarb, who could have been saved, Edelman said to her, but who chose to walk with the children from the sanatorium…

Umschlagplatz - Edelman stood there watching the crowds – thousands of people – passing by, waiting to see if some of his pals came that way. “What could you see in their eyes”, the director asks him,”Nothing, it was one big crowd passing me”.

It is painful for him to talk about it, he responds irritated and he refuses to say yes to the director, when she says that the wagons were going to the gas chambers. ”I don’t know”. He himself was working at the hospital, he had a card to show, so he was not deported. In a scene from the hospital white cards are distributed, a woman gets one but wants it to be passed on to her daughter…

There is a monument in Warsaw, where the Umschlagplatz was. You see it in the film. On the wall it is written: Between 1942 and 1943, more than 300,000 Jews from the ghetto that had been established in Warsaw went to the Nazi death camps along this path of suffering.

Poland, Germany, 2019, 80 mins.


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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Alexander Mihalkovich: My Granny from Mars

Written 22-07-2019 17:11:45 by Tue Steen Mller

Alexander Mihalkovich: My Granny from Mars

Yevpatoria, Crimea, Ukraine, occupied by Russia since 2014. A song from the film about the city:

“Here the sea gives me so much tenderness and love and health for years to come. Gardens and wonderful colors are all around, the joy of life is here to stay…”

And the film shows you, how attractive Yevpatoria is at the seaside, where the granny Zina lives, Ukrainian she is, being visited by Sasha, the director of the film, 30 years old – and by her children and grandchildren as well as neighbours and her sister, who all come to join the celebration of her 80th birthday.

Zina with her beautiful face, combing her hair… some fine sequences in what I



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IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival/2

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

IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival/2

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival

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

IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival

This is how the organisers introduce the festival:

Welcome to IceDocs!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://icedocs.is


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Artemio Benki: Solo/ 2

Written 19-07-2019 21:32:02 by Tue Steen Mller

Artemio Benki: Solo/ 2

Via the FNE (FilmNewEurope) I find a good interview with the director of ”Solo”, the Czech/French director and producer Artemio Benki, who reflects on being a French, yet living in Czech Republic for quite some time, chosing a theme for his film taking place in Argentina. For me I am happy every time I see this great film, premiered in Cannes, being selected for a festival, next one in Prizren, DokuFest. Here is a clip from the interview, read it all, link below, and read the enthusiatic and personal review I made, link also below. And hopefully I will have the chance to meet the protagonist Martin one day… Here is a quote:

How much of the result were you able to predict before you started shooting?
I spent a month with Martin before I brought any cameras. I decided first I need to know him as a person. During this time, I created some expectations about his behavior in different situations. I still can’t read his mind but I can predict his actions to some extent as you might be able to with your lover after six months of living together. For example, when he plays before his first serious audience after long time, I couldn’t predict he would fall off his chair but I knew him enough to be prepared for some kind of a complication – I know him to be a clumsy, anxious person. In this sense, I was often surprised but surprised to a degree I was able to predict.

When you work with people who have mental issues, it brings some moral and ethical dilemmas for you as a filmmaker.
When I was kid, I had my own experience with mental health care so I was drawn to this topic for personal reasons. It’s never been something sensational for me. And I spent enough time with my characters that I saw them as “my people”, they were close to me. So I think I never really was afraid that I would treat them in an ethically questionable way – I trusted my sense of empathy. I mean, documentary filmmakers, in a way, always “use” their protagonists but I knew I wouldn’t cross the line. Of course, I explained to Martin and everyone else what my intentions were and I included them only once they felt comfortable. I also felt a big amount of responsibility because Martin trusted me a lot. Had I wanted to shoot him masturbating, he’d probably have let me. But why would I do that? What would it add to the film? I respect the truth of a character – and I don’t want to muck it up with some gratuitously shocking scenes.

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4542/

http://www.filmneweurope.com/news/czech-news/item/118447-fne-idf-docbloc-director-artemio-benki-i-like-strong-personal-stories-that-are-a-bit-extreme


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs 2019 Announces Selected Projects

Written 15-07-2019 18:12:57 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs 2019 Announces Selected Projects

The Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries (BSD) is the most important documentary training and pitching event in the Baltic countries, taking place in Riga, Latvia, from September 3 to 7 and mostly focusing on the projects from a greater Baltic Sea region as well as EU border countries. This year it will celebrate its 23rd edition. BSD is organised by the National Film Centre of Latvia, with financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, Creative Europe Media programme, and Riga City Council.

BSD this year has selected 25 documentary film projects from 20 countries (out of more than 120 submitted), which will be provided with training



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Yamagata

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

Yamagata

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

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

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

https://www.yidff.jp/

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DokuFest Announces Its Program

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

DokuFest Announces Its Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://dokufest.com/2019/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ksenia Okhapkina: Immortal

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

Ksenia Okhapkina: Immortal

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

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

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

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

Estonia/Latvia, 2019, 60 mins.


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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Marco Gastine: As Far as the Sea

Written 01-07-2019 12:24:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Marco Gastine: As Far as the Sea

It’s a strong piece of observational public service documentary, Greek/French director Marco Gastine has made. “Public Service” reminding us about, what legendary Scottish John Grierson thought should be the role of documentaries: to make the audience, the civil society understand the importance of public institutions. In this case the K.A.T. hospital in Athens Greece, where a section is treating patients, who have experienced serious accidents, paraplegics. But Grierson also stressed that these documentaries, apart from having an informative goal, should be made by filmmakers with a creative and artistic interpretation.

For 108 minutes the film takes the audience to the hospital with the staff and



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Laila Pakalnina: Spoon

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

Laila Pakalnina: Spoon

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Beniamino Barrese: The Disappearance of My Mother

Written 28-06-2019 15:29:51 by Tue Steen Mller

Beniamino Barrese: The Disappearance of My Mother

This film that I first got to watch yesterday having heard and read about it, only positive words… Here is the annotation from IDFA’s Docs for Sale:

“Benedetta (Barrese) wants to disappear. An iconic fashion model in the 1960s, she became a muse to Warhol, Dali & Penn and Avedon. As a radical feminist in the 1970s, she fought for the rights and emancipation of women. A fight against the manipulating world of images and against her son’s camera, who filmed her since he was a child, despite her resistance.”

And in the CinéDoc Festival in Tbilisi, where I was in the Caucasus jury, the international jury gave the film the main award with the following motivation:



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Joris Ivens

Written 28-06-2019 11:24:40 by Tue Steen Mller

Joris Ivens

“The film screen is not a window through which you look at the world, it is a world in itself.”

DAFilms.com presents yet another documentary film classic, Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens. Recall his works from the golden collection of European cinema. Watch his films from the 1960s following his travels across the world: "17th Parallel" directly from the Vietnam War, "A Valparaíso" and "Le petit chapiteau" from Latin America’s Chile, and "Rotterdam Europort" painting a portrait of a city in his native Netherlands.

Set out on a documentary journey with globetrotter Joris Ivens!

www.dafilms.com


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ai Weiwei on Documentary

Written 26-06-2019 10:44:54 by Tue Steen Mller

Ai Weiwei on Documentary

The BFI Doc Society publishes a very good newsletter. In the one I received yesterday, there was a text about the presence of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, whose last film ”The Rest” was screened at the Sheffield Documentary Festival. He was interviewed by Jess Search, here is a bit of what he said about documentary:

"Documentary is always a challenge. it's very close range. If it's fighting, it's like boxing. You have to take all those punches and you have to feel the pain… and about the medium… “You cannot hide, you expose yourself and also you have no excuse about any mistakes. So I love it because it's so truthful and clear and direct. It's a very honest form, as honest as it can get. So that's why it attracts me so much. Because it requires observation, understanding and passion, it requires a lot of passion."

His previous documentary, edited by Danish Niels Pagh Andersen, « Human Flow », was praised on this site:

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4066/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Images

Written 25-06-2019 21:36:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Images

At the first session of the Ex Oriente the directors taking part were asked to write a text "I am your character" in a couple of hours. I used the two hours before meeting the directors with their texts to write about some images that stayed on my mind from what I had seen. For you readers I have made some notes below so you know just a little bit of what I am talking about. Here is my small image-poetry:

The view from my hotel window.

Three angles, the church next door, the green and more green, the man packing his car. For a Sunday drive ?

Football – Dani Alves making a great goal on my apple computer last night, they say he is 36 years, no no, he is young as ever. 1)

Football without ball. Jan Gogolas clip with the kids, who are bored of the match going on, talking about the teeth that they are losing and getting...

The intellectuals as Gogola called them in conversation about Vaclav Klaus breaking a pen somewhere far away from the stadion. 2)

… and the little boy crawling into a cupboard or whatever it is in the flat in Pilsen. Unforgettable. 3)



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ex Oriente First Session 2019

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

Ex Oriente First Session 2019

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Kirchhoff & Remunda: Steam on the River

Written 22-06-2019 14:01:12 by Tue Steen Mller

Kirchhoff & Remunda: Steam on the River

It was a very entertaining afternoon experience yesterday in Banská Stiavnica attending the screening of the 2015 documentary by Robert Kirchhoff and Filip Remunda (they call each other Robo and Filo!) followed by a masterclass with the two that gave us, the Ex Oriente audience, an insight to the making of the film. And you could sense, from the film and the class afterwards, that it had been quite as fun to make the film, as it was to watch it. Let me tell you what the film is about through the annotation from the distributor’s catalogue:

„The story of three extraordinary but aging jazzmen coming from former Czechoslovakia: Laco Deczi now lives in New York, Jan Jankeje in Stuttgart and Lubo Tamškovič used to live in Paris. Laco’s close friend Chris DePino, a musician as well as a politician close to George W. Bush, is attempting to put on a concert of the Czechoslovak Jazz Stars commemorating the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Of course the concert may never be organized… A film about the transience of fame which is fleeting, just like the steam that silently appears and disappears over a flowing river.”

And yet this text is not covering what we saw. As Kirchhoff said the film is



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Jan Gogola on Dusan Hanak

Written 21-06-2019 09:37:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Jan Gogola on Dusan Hanak

I am in Banská Stiavnica in Slovakia, where the first session of the Ex Oriente workshop takes place. I have been invited as a substitute for Iikka Vehkalahti and I am happy to attend at the workshop of which I was part from the beginning, was it in 2002?, until I stopped in 2009. 12 projects with director and producer present from the CEE countries take part, in a later post I will mention some of them.

Last night Jan Gogola, director/dramaturg/script writer/teacher, a clever man, who was also at Ex Oriente from the beginning, had been asked to talk about and show clips from films by the two legendary directors, Slovak Dusan Hanak and Czech Karel Vachek. A very fine session that took place in the Cinema Akademik here in the Kulturstadt Banská Stiavnica. He showed fragments from ”Pictures of the Old World” from 1972 by Dusan Hanak, a film that I have adored and used several times at different schools. And from Vachek’s ”Moravian Hellas” from 1963.

Gogola thought that Hanak had chosen to make his film four years after 1968 to remind the audience of human values forgotten after the normalisation process started with the occupation of Czekoslovakia by the Warsaw pact countries. The fragments, around 20 minutes of the hour long documentary, reminded me of a tradition for philosophical reflections, old people and their faces, a man with a microphone asking ”what are the values of life”, it is sooo moving and so wonderfully filmed with close-ups and sometimes still photos. Gogola said that the film is not a document, it is a monument. Normalisation… meant that the film was ”kept out of public space for 20 years”.

Have to confess that I am not able to ”enter” Vachek’s films, there are too many references to history and culture of Czekoslovakia. Sorry.

After the presentation I talked football with Gogola, he is a connaisseur, we talked Nedved, Masopust, Hamsik, Peter Czech… and Panenka, who is the character of the great film Gogola has made.

www.dokweb.net


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Orwa Nyrabia Talks about IDFA Changes

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

Orwa Nyrabia Talks about IDFA Changes

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Jakob Brossmann & David Paede: Listen to the Radio

Written 16-06-2019 10:25:38 by Tue Steen Mller

Jakob Brossmann & David Paede: Listen to the Radio

With the Austrian title: «Gehört, Gesehen – Ein RadioFilm“...

5 years after maestro Nicolas Philibert made his „Maison de la Radio », here is another equally fascinating visit to a radio broadcasting channel: Ö1, part of the ORF in Austria, a Kulturradio, praised for its quality and suffering from budget cutbacks like similar radio stations in many countries. Contrary to the French documentary the two directors put the focus on how the staff, led by the boss of Ö1 Peter Klein, looks for solutions to keep the existing loyal listeners and find some new ones in times, where many politicians want to drop the license fee and want to have (indirect) influence on the program profile...



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Yuriy Shylov: Projectionist

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

Yuriy Shylov: Projectionist

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

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

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

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

Ukraine, Poland, 2019, 72 mins.


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Kristof Bilsen: Mother

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

Kristof Bilsen: Mother

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

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

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



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Michal Bielawski: The Wind. A Documentary Thriller

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

Michal Bielawski: The Wind. A Documentary Thriller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poland, 2019, 74 mins.


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Sheffield Doc/Fest Opens With Maradona

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

Sheffield Doc/Fest Opens With Maradona

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

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

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

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

https://sheffdocfest.com/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow Film Festival - And the Winners Were

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

Krakow Film Festival - And the Winners Were

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Krakow Film Festival - Who Will Win

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

Krakow Film Festival - Who Will Win

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A jury will decide.

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


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DocAviv Awards to Honeyland and Advocate

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

DocAviv Awards to Honeyland and Advocate

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

Winner of Israeli Competition

Advocate by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Ballaiche

Jury Motivation:

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

Best International Film Award

Honeyland by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov

Jury Motivation:

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

www.docaviv.co.il/2019-en 


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DocsBarcelona The Baltic Way

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

DocsBarcelona The Baltic Way

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

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

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



Read more / Ls mere

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DocsBarcelona Botero

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

DocsBarcelona Botero

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

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

Photo: Botero on Abu Ghraib.

www.docsbarcelona.com


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EDN Bylaws Violated . Action Needed/ 3

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

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

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

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

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

Former posts on this subject :

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

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


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DocsBarcelona Public Pitch

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

DocsBarcelona Public Pitch

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

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

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

www.docsbarcelona.com


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DocsBarcelona - Jordi Cuixart

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

DocsBarcelona - Jordi Cuixart

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

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

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


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Audrius Stonys at DocsBarcelona

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

Audrius Stonys at DocsBarcelona

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

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

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

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

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

www.docsbarcelona.com


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DocsBarcelona & Len Siminiani

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

DocsBarcelona & Len Siminiani

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

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

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

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

www.docsbarcelona.com


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DocsBarcelona Many Full Houses & Tiny Souls

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

DocsBarcelona Many Full Houses & Tiny Souls

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.docsbarcelona.com


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Artemio Benki: Solo

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

Artemio Benki: Solo

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

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



Read more / Ls mere

Vurdering:

 
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DocsBarcelona is Green..

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

DocsBarcelona is Green..

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

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

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

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

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

https://honeyland.earth

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


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DocsBarcelona in Full Swing

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

DocsBarcelona in Full Swing

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

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

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

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

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

www.docsbarcelona.com


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Viktor Kossakovsky at His Best

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

Viktor Kossakovsky at His Best

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Viktor Kossakovsky Opens DocsBarcelona

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

Viktor Kossakovsky Opens DocsBarcelona

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

EDN Bylaws Violated - Action Needed/2

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

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

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

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

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

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

Furthermore the following issues were not addressed :

For a period there were only two board members.

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

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

Moving the office is against §1.

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona Festival

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

DocsBarcelona  Festival

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

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

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

www.docsbarcelona.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Winners of CinDOC-Tbilisi 2019

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

Winners of CinDOC-Tbilisi 2019

International Competition

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

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

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

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

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

Special Jury Mention – Honeyland by Lubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska

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



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Arthur Sukiasyan: Wound

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

Arthur Sukiasyan: Wound

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

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

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

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

Armenia, 2019, 25 mins.

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


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Civil Pitch Tbilisi 2019

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

Civil Pitch Tbilisi 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Nicolas Philibert in Tbilisi

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

Nicolas Philibert in Tbilisi

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

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

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

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

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/ 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

EDN Bylaws Violated - Action Needed

Written 10-05-2019 05:41:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Calling all EDN members!!
It has come to our attention that dramatic changes have happened within the EDN organization – and as the members have not been notified, we hereby take it upon ourselves to point out a number of actions that are in direct violation of the EDN By Laws.

In § 6 of the EDN By Laws it is stated ‘The General Assembly annually elects the Board from candidates suggested by the sitting Board of the Association’.
The current board has not been elected by the members.

According to the EDN website the current board consists of 3 members – where 2 of them resides in Holland . 
According to the EDN By Laws, no less than 3 out of 4 members of the board must reside in DIFFERENT European countries.

The EDN office is in the process of moving from Copenhagen to Amsterdam.
In the EDN By Laws it is stated in §1 that ‘The association has its principal place of business in Copenhagen, Denmark with the right of having offices in different places elsewhere in Europe.’ To change this it needs to be brought to a vote amongst the members. Again, this has not happened.

Finally, we understand that all the EDN staff members that have worked with content at EDN, will stop during this summer.

Why have the EDN members not been informed of the abovementioned actions, and by this been stripped of our democratic rights as EDN members to vote on such essential issues? With this total lack of transparency, how can we as members trust that EDN as an organization represents the values and the needs of the members that for many years have supported the organization and its goals faithfully?



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CinDOC-Tbilisi Opened Last Night

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

CinDOC-Tbilisi Opened Last Night

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

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

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com


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Time Trial as Doc of the Month

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

Time Trial as Doc of the Month

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

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

It is an amazing film cultural initiative.

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



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Laila Pakalnina in Paris

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

Laila Pakalnina in Paris

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Forum Changes

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

IDFA Forum Changes

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

How Big is the Galaxy?

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

How Big is the Galaxy?

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

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

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

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

www.midff.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow Film Festival

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

Krakow Film Festival

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



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DocsBarcelona Festival

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

DocsBarcelona  Festival

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

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



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CinDOC-Tbilisi Intl. Doc. Film Festival

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

CinDOC-Tbilisi Intl. Doc. Film Festival

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



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Beldocs Belgrade

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

Beldocs Belgrade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Documentaries at Moscow Film Festival

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

Documentaries at Moscow Film Festival

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

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



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Stefano Savona: Samouni Road

Written 17-04-2019 09:48:30 by Tue Steen Mller

Stefano Savona: Samouni Road

Zane Balčus has written this review:

Almost a year has passed since Stefano Savona’s “Samouni Road” started its successful run in festivals, having Cannes Directors’ Fortnight as a take-off platform. And it is still around various events, allowing audiences to discover a strong, touching and visually impressive work of filmmaking.  

The film is a subtly evocative canvas of emotional and visual imprints of the past onto the present of the Samouni community in Gaza Strip, following the Israeli army attacks on the enclave in the late 2008, early 2009. The time of the actual events is not explicitly stressed, allowing the film to be a universal story of consequences of suffering, and an instinctive human activity to rebuild its life, to keep on living despite anything. Combining real life footage with black and white animation and 3D reconstructions of drone filming, Savona brings us into the world of an intimate storytelling guided by characters’ memories and delicate visual style.  

“Samouni Road” developed from Savona’s presence in Gaza when he was



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Vurdering:

 
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Nikolaus Geyerhalters Earth Closes M7

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

Nikolaus Geyerhalters Earth Closes M7

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Atos i Amin

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

Atos i Amin

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Strong Female Presence at Magnificent7

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

Strong Female Presence at Magnificent7

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Serbian Documentary

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

Serbian Documentary

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

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

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

and

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

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

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

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

issuu.com / serbian docs 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Uldis Cekulis: The Story of a Film

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

Uldis Cekulis: The Story of a Film

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Masterclass in Belgrade

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

Masterclass in Belgrade

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Grand Opening of Magnificent7 Festival

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

Grand Opening of Magnificent7 Festival

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOKer International Documentary Festival

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

DOKer International Documentary Festival

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOKer Short Film Winners

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

DOKer Short Film Winners

Motivation for the Winning Film

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

SANATORIUM by Masha Osipova

Motivation for a Special Mention

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

FAMILY IN EXILE by Fatima Matousse

Motivation for a Special Mention

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

THE DAM by Natalia Koniarz

Motivation for a Special Mention

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

The mention goes to TUNGRUS by Rishi Chandna

https://www.midff.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergey Dvortsevoy in Moscow

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

Sergey Dvortsevoy in Moscow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Stefan Bohun: Bruder Jakob, schlfst du noch

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

Stefan Bohun: Bruder Jakob, schlfst du noch

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

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

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

https://www.midff.ru/


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Italian Director Meets Russian Police

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

Italian Director Meets Russian Police

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reality wrote its script!


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOKer Shorts and Diagnosis

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

DOKer Shorts and Diagnosis

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

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

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

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

https://www.midff.com/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Films at CAFX

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

Films at CAFX

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

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

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

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

http://cafx.dk


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOKer Opening Day

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

DOKer Opening Day

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOKer - and Uncle Sasha or One Flew over Russia

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

DOKer - and Uncle Sasha or One Flew over Russia

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

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

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

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

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

And to Moscow.

2018, 58 mins. Russia


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX 2019 Awards

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

CPH:DOX 2019 Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://cphdox.dk/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocuDays UA 2019 Awards

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

DocuDays UA 2019 Awards

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Magnificent7 Belgrade

Written 25-03-2019 12:19:13 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnificent7 Belgrade

So there it is, the program of the 15th edition of the European Feature Documentary Film Festival that takes place from April 9 to April 15 in the Kombank Hall cinema in the centre of the capital of Serbia. As usual I will be there to join my dear friends and co-selectors, the festival directors Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, at the festival that I always talk about as ”7 films, 7 days and 14 restaurants”, the latter referring to the fact that the organisers know how to treat their filmmaker guests as Kings and Queens!

Here you have the list of the films to be screened:

Honeyland, North Macedonia, 2019 – Tamara Kotevska & Ljubomir Stefanov

Bridges of Time, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, 2018 – Kristine Briede & Audrius Stonys

What Walaa Wants, Denmark, Canada, 2018 – Christy Garland

I Had a Dream, Italy, France, 2018 – Claudia Tosi

Buddy, The Netherlands, 2018 – Heddy Honigmann

Gods of Molenbeek, Finland, Belgium, Germany, 2019 – Reetta Huhtanen

The Earth, Austria, 2019 – Nikolaus Geyerhalter

And the list of guests, who will be there at the screenings and take part in the Q&A after, as well as the workshop the day after.

  Atanas Georgiev, producer and editor of the film HONEYLAND

  Samir Ljuma, cinematographer of the film HONEYLAND

  Kristīne Briede, co-director of the film BRIDGES OF TIME

  Audrius Stonys, co-director of the film BRIDGES OF TIME

  Uldis Cekulis, producer of the film BRIDGES OF TIME

  Anne Köhncke, producer of the film WHAT WALAA WANTS

  Claudia Tosi, director of the film I HAD A DREAM

  Monique Lesterhuis, researcher of the film BUDDY

  Reetta Huhtanen, director of the film GODS OF MOLENBEEK

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocuDays New Ukrainian Documentaries

Written 25-03-2019 09:12:05 by Tue Steen Mller

DocuDays New Ukrainian Documentaries

During the next year(s) you will see several Ukrainian documentaries at international festivals. It’s moving in the right direction for the country’s filmmakers, who want to express themselves in this film genre. There are – although limited from a Western European perspective – funds like the Ukrainian State Film Agency and the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation to go to, and there is the DocuDays festival that is instrumental for connecting the country’s documentary makers with producers, festival representatives, sales agents and distributors, not to forget producers and directors from all over, actually. They come here to meet local filmmakers, listen to presentations/pitches, watch material and eventually help. Darya Bassel and Viktoria Khomenko who take care of the Industry Section of the festival make the guests work! Yesterday I heard from one of the guests, Mélanie de Vocht from the IDFA Bertha Fund, that she was signed up for more than 30 meetings, in the few days she is here!

I was invited to moderate the new invention of the festival, „Ukrainian Doc Preview“, where seven films close to final cut, or already there, were



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DocuDays 2019 Opening

Written 23-03-2019 08:08:00 by Tue Steen Mller

DocuDays 2019 Opening

Of course, sadly, the opening of the DocuDays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival could only start with the yearly declaration of solidarity with filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and the other Ukrainians held in Russian prisons.

But there was also an audiovisual live project performed by musician Stanislav Ivashchenko in collaboration with Laser Studio: "750 litres of water, lasers, led lights and only one person, whose every beat is synchronised with its own element and its own sound". A lot for the eye and for the ear followed by lots of clip presentations of the sections in the festival, a speech from a representative from the Swedish Embassy - as Sweden again is the main supporter of the festival and its focus on human rights and this year the focus on what the digital world we live in come up with of challenges.

Therefore it was natural that the opening film was the Dutch (director Hans Pool) "Bellingcat: Truth in a Post-Truth World" with a group of journalistic activists, who investigate cases as the MH17 incident where an Ukrainian flight was shot down in the Eastern part of the country. It was interesting to follow how they work - in a film that was more of a reportage than a creative documentary. Fair enough, here you can say that "content is King".

The festival has started, more will follow from the festival in Kiev that runs until March 30.

www.docudays.ua


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Les Films du Balibari is a Winner

Written 22-03-2019 10:35:34 by Tue Steen Mller

Les Films du Balibari is a Winner

… we cover far too little the French documentary situation. I don’t go to Cinéma du Réel any longer and Sunny Side of the Docs is also clashing with other events. And I am not 27 any longer…

But I meet filmmakers here and there and FB is one of the sources to give information. Yesterday I saw this which deserves to be passed on:

« Le jury a récompensé au titre du Producteur français de télévision 2019 dans la catégorie Documentaire, la société LES FILMS DU BALIBARI (Estelle Robin-You, Clara Vuillermoz), en soulignant la qualité et la modernité de la démarche de production allant du local à l’international, l’engagement des productrices dans les combats collectifs autour du documentaire, et leur ouverture au monde (notamment l’Afrique) dans une vision à 360° du métier. En 2018, la société a notamment produit « Debouttes » de Maxime Faure (France 2, SRC), « Libres » de Arno Bitschy (Arte, YLE, Lyon Capitale TV). »

Happy for Estelle and Clara, here is a qoute about the company from their website:



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Lina Alabed: Ibrahim

Written 21-03-2019 21:29:46 by Tue Steen Mller

Lina Alabed: Ibrahim

I det kæmpeprogram som CPH:DOX præsenterer netop nu, er denne film én, som fortjener et ekstra skub frem: den skal I se, I der er interesseret i den mellemøstlige historie, i Palæstina, i forholdet mellem Arafat og Abu Nidal Organisationen, i Livet – som festivalkataloget giver den som tema – som det har formet sig for instruktøren Lina Alabed og hendes familie siden faren, den politisk aktive Ibrahim forsvandt i slutningen af firserne.

Jeg mødte Lina Alabed i Damaskus under DoxBox festivalen, der løb i fire år inden revolutionen, hun var ved at afslutte sin film ”The First Kiss”, men allerede da havde hun planlagt at ville lave en film om sin forsvundne far. Hun ville finde ud af, hvad der skete, hvorfor han forsvandt.

Den er der så nu, filmen bærer hans navn, den er personlig, den følger instruktøren på en rejse i nutiden, hvor hun møder sin mor, en søster og dennes datter, en bror og dennes søn, onkler og tanter – det er en stor familie, en desværre typisk palæstinensisk familie spredt ud i det mellemøstlige og ikke kun her. Moren bor stadig i Damaskus, Lina Alabed i Beirut, søsteren (var det) i Cairo eller Amman, broren i Tyskland osv. osv. Hvad skete der, blev faren dræbt, af sine egne i Abu Nidal organisationen, eller var han spion, var han agent for CIA… Lina Alabed spørger og spørger familiens medlemmer, i deres hjem, i deres køkkener i en stemning, som er præget af intimitet, du føler dig virkeligt ”hjemme hos”, når Alabed sidder i sofaen og spørger, hvad husker du?

Denne hjemlige atmosfære står i modsætning til, hvad der formentlig er sket: faren blev henrettet. Hvorfor?

Og Palæstina… det bedste ved det, siger broren i Tyskland er hummus og falafel, jeg tabte alt for det politiske, da Arafat og Rabin gav hinanden hånden, jeg syntes de forrådte alt, hvad min far stod for. Men hvad er dit hjemland, spørger tante Lina brorens søn: Palæstina, siger han.

Filmen slutter smukt i den palæstinensiske landsby Deir Abu Meshaad, hvor faren voksede op og hvor datteren rør ved oliventræerne.  

Libanon, 2019, 75 mins.

Premiere i Dagmar, 23.3, klokken 19.15

www.cphdox.dk


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Alina Rudnitskaya: School of Seduction

Written 20-03-2019 14:10:51 by Tue Steen Mller

Alina Rudnitskaya: School of Seduction

It’s a lovely start of a film. Shots from a naval parade in St.Petersburg. Grandiose. People in striped sailor blouses, and people in uniforms. Waving the navy flag in front of the Winter Palace. Suddenly focus on a pretty girl dancing with a navy flag in her hands. Seductive movements. And then a couple kissing behind a column, continuing their caressing somewhere else, sex behind the flag… and a bit later she hits him in his face.

Alina Rudnitskaya starts her film in her native city saying that this is about man and woman in a Russia that is proud of herself or should I say himself. And she does so with her own signature of tragedy and comedy. More about that later.

The title comes up on the screen, « School of Seduction », a Danish



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