Written 28-07-2015 21:50:55 by Tue Steen Müller
Some name dropping on a tuesday evening, tabloid maybe, but I expect all three films to be of quality... Realscreen anounces today that a new film by Michael Moore is to premiere at the TIFF, the festival in Toronto that runs September 10 to 20. The title is ”Where to Invade Next”, look at the fantastic photo… The article says nothing special about the content, the festival programmer Thom Powers is quoted like this “I can say it is very funny, it’s going to be a real conversation starter. It’s a culmination of lots of ideas that Moore has been working on for several years.”
“Listen to Me Marlon” = Brando is another upcoming film by Stevan Riley, written about in Danish newspaper Politiken today, based on around 300 hours of sound tapes recorded by the actor during decades, said to be a kind of self-psychoanalysis.
Finally I found a link on facebook to Turkish Hürriyet Daily News of today that announces the premiere of a film on Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence at the Venice Film festival (September 2-12). The title of the film is “Innocence of Memories”, director is Grant Gee. Pamuk in the article: “I wrote a 30-minute long original script… The new text tells the love story in the Museum of Innocence book from the eye of a secondary character. I do not tell which character it is now, but will in Venice… The documentary is both about the Museum of Innocence and Istanbul. My other books have also taken place in the documentary,” he said.
Written 28-07-2015 16:44:55 by Tue Steen Müller
I have before on this site nominated my colleague at DocsBarcelona Joan Gonzalez as a true documentary pioneer – and he is unstoppable making quality documentaries be seen in Latin America, where he has been since June 28, doing a workshop in Valparaiso Chile, planning to build a festival there, and now he is in Medellin for the DocsBarcelona+Medellin.
A mail came in: He wants to share two news with me:
“First. We have today the Colombian premiere of Life is Sacred, directed by Andreas Dalsgaard, with the protagonist Antanas Mockus in the cinema.
Second. I have the numbers of the people attending the festival the first 3 days. The festival runs 8 days. The average of people per screening is... 173 people. No mistake. 173!!!!
I think that it will be impossible to remain this numbers until the end of the festival but... We are very very happy!”
… as you can see on the photo. Joan Gonzalez is at the background, the boss of the festival is Juan, first row middle.
The festival, this is the third edition; runs until July 30 with 22 long international documentaries, 12 national short films, invited directors, master classes and a marathon of interactive documentaries.
Written 27-07-2015 22:36:32 by Tue Steen Müller
The Danish Cinemateket re-opens in August with – as usual – a fine programme, including a retrospective of films by Peter Bogdanovich, mentioned in the post below and in reports from the Amdocs festival in Palm Springs in March. A director and a film historian and the one behind the documentary on John Ford.
Here is - in Danish - the presentation by Cinemateket:
I anledning af den danske premiere på screwball-komedien ’She’s Funny That Way’ fejrer vi veteranen Peter Bogdanovich og præsenterer en stribe værker, der understreger hans store spændvidde og viser udviklingen fra New Hollywood-håb til etableret genrefilmmager. Glæd dig til thrilleren ’Snigskytten’ (1968) på knitrende original celluloid, dramahovedværket ’Sidste forestilling’ (1971) i ny biografkopi, dens opfølger ’Texasville’ (1990) og en stribe glemte perler (’Paper Moon’ (1973), ’Daisy Miller’ (1974) m.fl.), der gerne refererer direkte til den klassiske amerikanske filmhistorie og mastodonter som Hawks, Ford, Lubitsch og Cukor.
Serien (8 film) vises 1. august-29. September
Written 27-07-2015 22:15:32 by Tue Steen Müller
Before I went to Amdocs (American Documentary Film Festival) in Palm Springs end of March this year I would have shaken my head if anyone had said to me that I should revisit some of the films by John Ford. But the presence of Peter Bogdanovich with anecdotes about the old master and the showing of his 1971 classic, now updated (in 2006) documentary, a very fine piece of film history, gave me appetite for ”Searchers”, ”Stagecoach” and so on – all the legendary Monument Valley films.
And now, thanks to an American family member, I have watched the lovely Irish produced work about Ford, making his personal film ”The Quiet Man” full of anecdotes but not only that, also intelligent analyses of scenes, how they were made, the use of colours and how he worked with the leading actors John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara (born 1920), who speaks wonderfully about the tough director and her playing with Wayne, the ”Duke”. Bogdanovich is there, as is Martin Scorcese, who again expresses his passion for film history and calls the film ”a work of art and poetry” at the same time as he claims that the fighting scene in which Wayne kills a man in a boxing match was an inspiration for his ”Raging Bull”
The film takes its viewer to the village Innisfree, where it was shot, to the ruins of a house that Ford’s father left for America, it’s very warm and sweet when locals remember the shooting in the beginning of the 1950’es. And of course there is a small tourist trip to take around the place, a shop and its female owner, quite a character, the pub, which was not a pub at that time but became after the film. Irish culture, enjoyable it is, and informative: John Ford will be on the agenda!
Available on dvd and blueray
Ireland, 2010, 90 mins.
Written 24-07-2015 19:10:24 by Tue Steen Müller
This is a sneak preview review of a film that has its premiere beginning af August at the Locarno Film Festival written by an admirer of Polish cinematographer and director Wojciech Staron, an admirer who happily once more (after the films Siberian Lesson and Argentinian Lesson) is totally seduced. Staron proves to me again to be one of few European documentary poets, who believes in the power of the image and sequences without verbal explanation, he dares long scenes, he is a master in composition, he is a Filmmaker who paints with his camera, a visual artist...
… as one of the brothers, Alfons Kulakowski, who is a skilled painter. Alfons is the little brother, Mieczyslaw is some years older. They are both in their 90’es. Alfons is fit, Mieczyslaw is
Read more / Læs mere
Written 23-07-2015 20:27:17 by Tue Steen Müller
… and there are tributes to film and film history at the Dokufest in Prizren. The film star on the photo needs no further introduction, ”Ingrid Bergman, in Her Own Words”, a film that premiered at the Cannes festival this year, made by Stig Björkman, film critic and director, editor of the film magazine Chaplin 1964-72, which was one of my key tools in my film education. Björkman has written books and made films on Ingmar Bergman, Woody Allen and Lars von Trier. About the Ingrid Bergman film:
” Accessing Ingrid Bergman’s diaries and her own private footage, this film gives an inside perspective of one of our most distinguished actors and a woman who always chose her own path. Released in 2015, it marks the centenary of her birth.”
Another pearl in the section ”Films on Film” is ”Cinema: A Public Affair” by Tatiana Brandrup – the description is very appealing:
” A man in Moscow fights for his vision of cinema; he sees it as a way towards a better society. A cinematic journey through the world of Naum Kleiman, one of Russia's most significant intellectuals alive today. A documentary collage, which combines excerpts from film classics and interviews with a portrait of contemporary Moscow.”
And there are films on Bertolucci, John Ford (of course the one made by Peter Bogdanovich), Raoul Walsh. I watched the two last mentioned Amdocs in Palm Springs – entertaining and informative pieces of film history.
Written 22-07-2015 12:47:20 by Tue Steen Müller
One more addition to the slate of posts on the premiere of ”Beyond the Fear” by Herz Frank and Maria Kravchenko, again from the Haaretz and again by Nirit Anderman, who wrote a competent review of the film.
This time Anderman launches the story that world famous director Herz Frank was a legend in the documentary community, ”but not in Israel”, where he lived from 1993. Anderman outlines his film carreer in broad terms (should however have mentioned the for many forgotten masterpiece ”235.000.000” that he made with Uldis Brauns) and declares that ”Beyond the Fear” is ”a natural continuation of his former work”, that is described like this “a curiosity to understand the human soul in a non-judgemental way, a readiness to expose himself to an audience and a strict maintenance of the visual language and quality filmmaking were always the cornerstones of Herz Frank’s movies.”
The article of course refers to the debate about the film in Israel and there is a critique expressed, that “the film’s producers kept their movie close to their chests in recent weeks, not showing it to anyone, refusing to let us see it in preparation for this story. The inevitable result was that the endless discussions around it often missed the truth…”
And it has some clever words from influential director Nurit Kedar, who was part of the team that recommended adding the movie to the Jerusalem Film Festival’s competition. “Frank accompanied her (Larissa, who married Amir, ed.) for a long period, perhaps six or seven years, trying to establish why she fell in love with him, how it happened. I didn’t feel any sympathy towards Amir while watching the film. All his images are known from media stories, and the only new thing is his voice during the conversations with his son.”
Written 22-07-2015 12:11:50 by Tue Steen Müller
Teddy Grouya, festival leader of Amdocs, the American Documentary Film Festival in Palm Springs, teamed up with Dokufest leader Veton Nurkollari and voilá a collaboration exists, where ”Amdocs at Dokufest” is one of the 15 interesting special programmes at the upcoming (starts August 8) festival in Prizren. With ”Dokufest at Amdocs” to be made in Palm Springs next year.
Amdocs presents 8 films in Prizren, let me put some words on the three that I saw in Palm Springs: Khinmay Lwin van der Mee’s ”Nigga Theory”, 21 mins. long about Jody David Armour (photo), who is a university professor, a writer and activist, a charismatic man, who talks so well and precise about the good black man and the bad black man judged very often by their looks. When I looked like Obama everyone accepted me, now with my Afro-American look, I sense suspicion around me, he says.
Another one to be warmly recommended is Esther Julie-Anne’s ”Out of Love”, about the father of the director, who is trying to find out why he married and divorced 5 times – about which I wrote back in March in Palm Springs: ”It is not easy to make a personal film – when does the private become interesting and thought-provoking for the rest of us? It needs cinematic skills and a good story and strong characters. This film covers all three elements.”
And the Hussin Brothers (Noah and Timothy) ”America Recycled”, an impressive film about another America, a road movie but even if ” It’s not the first time we are taken on the road in America and of course you think of Jack Kerouac and the Route 66 films. But it must be the first time that we are invited to experience a bicycle road movie!”
Written 21-07-2015 18:43:03 by Tue Steen Müller
Yesterday the Dokufest festival in Prizren, Kosovo announced its programme for the festival that runs August 8-16. It is inviting and extremely well edited and both timely in its connection to the world we live in with MIGRATION as main theme and to the art of documentaries and short films. We have already written about the Albert Maysles retrospective and the music documentary selection by Pamela Cohn - now it's all there...The press release gives a fine overview, we will come back with elements of the slate as the festival calls it. So here it is in a full version:
Prizren, 20 July 2015 – DokuFest announced today its full slate of films for the 2015 festival, which runs from August 8 – 16 in the city of Prizren, Kosovo. Culled from a record number of over 3.000 submissions, festival will showcase a fine selection of 228 films from 43 countries across 6 competitive sections and more than a dozen specially curated programs.
Migration is central theme of the festival this year and its global, as
Read more / Læs mere
Written 17-07-2015 20:35:22 by Tue Steen Müller
Here is the press release of the DocAlliance in its (almost) full length – clicking the links will bring you to more information:
“Join us at our online trip towards discovering young film talents! What is contemporary documentary like according to the students of prestigious film schools around the world? What themes, genres and images are popular with the youngest generation of documentary filmmakers? You have the whole summer to search for, compare and enjoy the most interesting works by the future stars of film festivals!
Become members of the exclusive FIDCampus in the week from July 13 to 19! Watch films by students who received the support and professional training of the French Doc Alliance festival FID Marseille. Over 15 films of various genres will give you insight into the world of promising filmmakers from France as well as Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Lebanon.
Enter two creative courses taught at the Portuguese art school Escola Superior de Artes e Design de Caldas da Rainha. See how the local film students coped with the assignment of City Places introducing the places where they live and study and what an original film essay is like in their rendition. Sit down at your online desks from July 20 to August 2!
How does the genre of short documentary do among film students? It does quite well at the Film and TV School of University of Chile! See for yourselves in the week from August 3 to 9 and extend the map of your summer student film trips with Latin America. Be inspired by the original film ideas born in the very centre of the capital Santiago de Chile!
Written 17-07-2015 20:21:24 by Tue Steen Müller
… because it ”opens” (as the Americans say) ”over there”, today friday, another well deserved distribution triumph for (as the Americans write) Mr. Oppenheimer and his Danish produced documentary. You should read the whole review by A.O. Scott, here is a paragraph that includes such a precise reflection on the tone of the film:
The mood of “The Look of Silence” is tranquil. Its settings — modest houses and sun-dappled gardens, far from the urban bustle of “The Act of Killing” — are peaceful, and Mr. Rukun is a quiet man, contemplating his family’s tragedy more in sorrow than in anger. But this atmosphere has the effect of making the violence at the film’s heart all the more shocking. Movies have helped make even extreme brutality seem banal (that was part of the message of “The Act of Killing”), but hearing a simple, factual account of an atrocity can be almost unbearable…
Written 17-07-2015 15:13:28 by Tue Steen Müller
In thematic terms a follow-up on the Armenian ”One, Two, Three”, this Korean documentary, shot over a period of 15 months, documents what the Armenian old people are missing and looking for: Love.
This is what the couple in the beautifully shot documentary has, Love, in its purest form, still alive after 76 years of marriage, yes seventy-six years of marriage! They live in the countryside in pretty landscape surroundings, they survive harsh winters, they take time to do snow ball throwing, they walk to the market in the village, always dressed up in traditional clothes that are as colourful as their children’s clothes are grey and boring and ”civilised” – suits etc. They eat together, she nurses him all the way through when he gets weaker. Yes, the time for them to leave this world is getting closer.
He is in his late 90’es, she is around 10 years younger, and she is the one doing the talking with his hearing slowly disappearing. It is amazing how close the director has been able to come to his protagonists. I thought first that he was a relative – an outsider can not get that close, I thought – but in an interview with the director in connection with the Canadian Hot Docs festival, he told how and why he decided to do it all by himself and that he looked upon the film as a message to all of us, ”be kind to each other”. He did so with respect for the old couple and an eye for beauty.
The film, that got the Audience Award at the recent Moscow International Film Festival, sold more than 4 million tickets in cinemas in its home country!
Korea, 2014, 86 mins.
Written 16-07-2015 09:17:46 by Tue Steen Müller
7 films are selected to be screened at Festival del Film Locarno in the Semaine de la Critique that takes place August 7-14. They are world or international premieres. I know about three of them, have watched two and am very happy for the choice of “Lampedusa in Winter”, directed by Jakob Brossmann with former Zelig Film School student Cornelia Märki as editor. She sent me the film a couple of months ago to have my opinion and I answered “I have no objections, I think this is an important film to get out now, it is very well put together, an impressive piece of observational documentary filmmaking that stays away from dramatizing but IS dramatic anyway - the strike of fishermen, the refugees, the humanistic Paola, the same for the mayor… good rhythm…” yes, it is indeed a very timely film that for sure will travel on from Locarno to other festival destinations.
Otherwise Poland is again taking the lead with 3 selected films.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 15-07-2015 09:59:17 by Tue Steen Müller
Mikhail is 80 years old, he has never been married, he has no children and he lives in a small appartment full of clothes in bags and whatever he has collected, making it impossible for him to move around. He has to crawl to reach his bed and his kitchen table has ”been emprisoned since the 1990’es”. He is, however, part of the dancing and singing choir ”The Chosen Ones”, where he performs with full energy together with Aida (74), Hovsep (74), Mariam (58), Martik (61) and several others. They perform together on stage, on television, even in the streets. And it helps them to stay alive.
Mikhail is the one in the middle with his appartment liberation story as the red thread. The film paints a warm and generous portrait of this lovely old man, who is still very much connected to his mother, shown in some poetic moments where he, partly hidden by a mountain of bags, sings to her and visits her grave.
Aida considers the choir as a family, hairy Hovsep would so much want to have a woman by his side (at the end it is suggested that the two of them could get together…) and the atmosphere is constantly full of joy when they practice their ”One Two Three”. But of course there is the other side of the coin – getting old means getting defects and the film does not hide that as it does not hide the sadness of Anahit, who has lost 8 children (!) or the true tristesse of Mariam, afraid of the opposite sex, but at the next moment she is a smiling dancing queen to an old Elvis Presley song.
It’s been a difficult film to make with so many characters, I have seen several cuts, but with this final version the wonderful people of Bars Media (Yulia, Inna, Vardan… and director Arman) has found a balanced narrative solution that works with ”the freedom struggle” of Mikhail in the foreground of an extraordinary warm ”message” film to all of us: Sing and Dance! Will do my best, writes this 67 year old blogger!
Armenia, 2015, 75 mins.
Written 13-07-2015 17:41:19 by Tue Steen Müller
… for the 19th time under the headline Baltic Sea Docs (previously Forum), a development workshop and pitching forum for 25 projects from 13 countries, organized by the National Film Centre of Latvia with the two women on the photo, Zanda Dudina and Lelda Ozola, as perfect hosts and organizers… I can say so as one of the tutors during all the years, and I will be there again September 2-6.
And that is also the reason, why I can say that the selection done has given a fine variety of experienced filmmakers and producers and newcomers, including names which have been on this site several times.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 13-07-2015 10:02:19 by Tue Steen Müller
Take a look at the photo – it’s a festival award, the main one at the Pärnu Film Festival, characteristic for the originality with which Mark Soosaar runs his festival, this one being the 29th.
And the winner was – as in so many festivals during the last year – Hanna Polak’s “Something Better to Come”. On her FB site Polak writes: “This is the amazing award we got last night from Pärnu Film Festival: The Estonian People’s Award, voted by the audience of Estonian TV. This beautiful piece of art is made by talented Christi Kütt a, student of a beautiful Artist Anu Raud.”
In the section for the best Estonian documentaries two films were awarded: “Christ Lives in Siberia” by Arbo Tammiksaar and Jaak Kilmi and “How I saved Africa” by Kullar Vilmne. I have seen both and have a lot of heart for the latter that has this overall content: “Siisi is an active and attractive young woman who'd have enough energy to send Estonia's spacecraft to Mars. But instead, the urge to make the world a better place sends Siisi far away to Uganda, where she plans to open a café with the help of donators to offer work to the local young handicapped people…” It’s funny and warm and gets close to both the main character and some of the people who work in the café.
Written 13-07-2015 09:13:19 by Tue Steen Müller
Finally an Israeli competent, reflective review of the film by Herz Frank and Maria Kravchenko, written by Nirit Anderman in Haaretz yesterday July 12th. The introduction goes like this:
“If you hoped to find out why a married mother of four fell in love with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassin, the film 'Beyond the Fear' will not leave you any wiser. But the controversial documentary about Amir, his wife and son, has other lessons…”
The extensive review (read it all) has this paragraph that for me is spot on: “The important thing that this film does manage to do, however, and the reason the title the filmmakers chose is successful is this: It reflects and emphasizes the extent to which the public’s attitude toward Amir and Trimbobler is colored by a prism of hatred and fear, and the extent to which this prism has made the discussion shallow. Nearly 20 years after the despicable murder Amir committed, the film helps viewers see how the newspaper headlines relate to him and his wife in demonic terms and how politicians and citizens propose denying them basic rights. This is also what was done in recent weeks by Miri Regev, opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog and former president Shimon Peres, who wanted to shelve the film and thereby preserve the demonic image of Amir and Trimbobler instead of grappling with the fact that they are flesh and blood people who also have softer and gentler sides…”
Written 12-07-2015 10:58:47 by Tue Steen Müller
The film festival in Yerevan that starts today and runs until the 19th is a true red-carpet festival with film stars, glorious receptions, tributes to local hero Charles Azanavour – but also with a fine selection of documentaries to take part in a competition.
Lithuanian Giedre Zickyté is there with wonderful ”Master and Tatyana” – the master being the phenomenon Vitas Luckus – a clip from my review: ”the film is first of all a love story told primarily through the photos of Vitas and Tatyana, a love story that is so obvious, when you watch how he composes the portraits of Tatyana, how the camera is constantly caressing the beautiful woman, with or without clothes. Her face is so full of expressions and you can see that he has caught her in true observational documentarian style as well as in arranged situations…”
Alexander Nanau’s ”Toto and His Sisters” is there, it has had a well-deserved international festival career, two films touch upon Syria, British Sean McAllister’s recently awarded ”A Syrian Love Story” and the masterpiece ”Sivered Water, Syria Self-Portrait” by Ossama Mohammed and Wiam Simav Bedirxan. As well as Viestur Kairiss Latvian ”Pelican in the Desert” that had deserved a much better international life than it has had.
However, what I first and foremost look forward to watch is the
Read more / Læs mere
Written 11-07-2015 10:53:47 by Tue Steen Müller
The film by Herz Frank and Maria Kravchenko was shown on the 8th of July, the day before the official opening of the Jerusalem Film Festival, whose leaders felt they had to play according to the rules of the Israeli Minister of Culture, who had told them that the funding for the festival would not happen if the film was shown as part of the festival. The Times of Israel (link below) put it like this: (The film was shown) in the small auditorium of Jerusalem’s Mishkenot Sha’ananim center. The screenings were held at the nearby arts center to avoid unnecessary publicity and to abide by the agreement with Regev to keep the film separate from the partially state-funded Cinematheque. There were no protesters in sight… Both screenings were sold out.
I have been in contact with Guntis Trekteris, main producer of the film, who was there with Maria Kravchenko and Israeli co-producer Sagy Tsirkin (photo Trekteris to the left). Trekteris reported that he publicly thanked the Minister of Culture for making this the third time the film opened a festival (the others were in Riga and Moscow) – the film is, even if not shown at the festival venue, the Cinematheque, still part of the official documentary competition!
Trekteris: Yesterday was an alternative (outdoor) screening in the Jerusalem Park opposite to the Old city Park organized by Israeli filmmakers during the official opening of the festival. Very special atmosphere. Many said to us that its a very important film for Israel…
Chapeau for the Israeli filmmakers, who made this act of solidarity!
Written 10-07-2015 10:27:19 by Tue Steen Müller
… is a popular event within the Karlovy Vary festival with the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival as organiser. Even if you are not there the website (link below) gives you good news about what kind of quality films you can expect to premiere this year and in 2016.
12 projects were presented from Russia/Ukraine, Slovakia, Poland, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Serbia, Romania.
Let me just mention two of the projects that I have met before:
Vitaly Mansky’s ”Close Relations”, where the director ”explores Ukrainian-Russian relations through the eyes of his closest relatives: his mother Victoria, his aunts and their families in Lvov, Odessa, Crimea and Donetsk. Although they are closely related, these relatives represent very different walks of life and perceive the conflict in very different ways. This unique personal approach provides the viewers with the opportunity to gain a profound understanding of the roots of the Ukrainian-Russian crisis.”
And Salomé Jashi’s “The Station”: “Dariko is a sole journalist and a staple of Jikha TV – a two-man broadcasting station based in a small town. She travels around the town in search of news, quietly unveiling the aspirations of the locals. The film is a mosaic, made of various components, which are united by the TV and the circumstances related to being on the stage. The TV station is now facing major challenge. It has to switch to digital broadcasting. With old equipment and scarce income, the station might be counting its last days. It might also be the last chance for the locals to appear on the TV screen before nationwide broadcasters take over.”
On the photo Salomé Jashi in pitch action in Karlovy Vary together with her German production partner Urte Fink.
Written 10-07-2015 09:47:38 by Tue Steen Müller
The Kosovo festival that runs from August 8-16 has already announced that it will have a Tribute to Albert Maysles, who died earlier this year – as says artistic director of the festival Veton Nurkollari about Maysles (photo), “Curious and generous, a teacher and mentor, a filmmaker that revolutionized non-fiction storytelling and inspired generations of filmmakers”.
And yesterday the content of the section “Sound of My Soul”, music films, was published. It is Pamela Cohn who puts that together, read a bit of her fine introduction text:
We are all familiar, by now, with the typical music documentary – a fairly reliable recipe of the makings of a band or a musician, and how they/he/she came from humble beginnings to rise to superstardom – and then, usually, how they/he/she crashed and burned. Or, at the very least, faded back into the obscurity from whence they/he/she once came. Add some talking head interviews from colleagues, friends and family, some archival bits, some concert/recording studio/home movie bits, and stir.
This year’s music program – now a long-standing tradition at DokuFest – presents something a bit different. Well, quite a bit different. A mix of documentary, essay, fiction, and experimental feature and short work from an international cast of artists and filmmakers…
Written 08-07-2015 18:11:50 by Tue Steen Müller
Yes, it is a tradition to pay tribute to the festival in Pärnu Estonia that runs now and until July 19th – and let me repeat the introductory text from last year:
”the Pärnu International Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival (is) initiated and run by film director, visual artist, politician and showman, Mark Soosaar, whose mark is still very strong on a festival with a huge number of films, competitions, out-of-competition screenings, from all over the world…”
Including the Estonian People’s Award where 6 films that are broadcast by Estonian Television are competing for the viewers vote. Among them are this year titles like ”Happily Ever After” by Croatian Tatjana Bozic, Hanna Polak’s ”Something Better to Come” and ”Waiting for August” by Romanian Teodora Ana Mihai from Belgium.
For Mark Soosaar there is a reason to make cultural events including a film festival like this. Here is a long quote from his foreword to the catalogue that you can download for free from the website:
Read more / Læs mere
Written 08-07-2015 12:28:28 by Tue Steen Müller
… it also has the title ”The March of the White Elephants” written on the screen… is a well made tv-journalistic documentary about the incredible money sucking world football organisation FIFA that hopefully now will be re-born with a new structure and other leaders than Sepp Blatter and his gang.
The film, however, just completed, and sent to us by New York company Cargo Film & Releasing, does not have its focus on the corruption scandals of today, they are mentioned at the end as texts on the screen (the photo is from the arrest of one of the FIFA executives) – the film is a fine documentation of the way Brazil and its politicians played the game of FIFA, building new stadiums for public money that could have/ should have been spent to improve the living conditions of the poor people in the country. The stadiums were (many of them at least) built in areas of the huge country where the football culture is not that developed, stadiums that now stand empty and/or are being used for other non-football purposes.
The film is set up in the classical tv-journalistic way: Dilma Rousseff welcomes the world to Brazil and the best ever World Cup to be performed – cut to a favela next to a stadium in Sao
Read more / Læs mere
Written 07-07-2015 09:48:23 by Tue Steen Müller
Got this email from Syrian Diana el Jeiroudi, now based in Berlin. An excellent offer that I pass on with pleasure: I (Diana) hope you can forward this to documentary filmmakers, video activists and artists who you know are working on interesting socio-political documentary films in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan and beyond:
The RESIDENCY FUND is aimed at supporting filmmakers from the Arab countries to finalize the editing of their documentary films that relays on the use and contextualisation of archival footage (including citizen journalists videos and activists videos, personal archive, national archive .. etc).
The RESIDENCY FUND is made to host filmmakers teams (director(s)/editor(s)) to edit their films to completion over a period of 3-12 weeks. As the RESIDENCY FUND opens 4 cycles a year, applicants are able to choose a cycle of four that best matches their editing schedule.
Call for application is now open. Deadline for submitting complete applications is 15th of July 2015.
We wish you to extend this announcement to all interested filmmakers from around the Arab Countries and also include the news on your website, publications or newsletters.
Written 07-07-2015 09:03:48 by Tue Steen Müller
It’s on Dokumania (Danish DR’s prime time slot for documentaries) tonight and it is definitely worth seeing, the Oscar 2013 winner – the year where many of us had hoped for ”The Act of Killing” - but the well crafted entertaining film ”with wonderful music and women, based on interviews with them and people like Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger and Betty Midler. A classic tv language film” took the prize.
The synopsis: Background singers heard on many of the 20th century's greatest songs have made a crucial contribution to the world of pop music while remaining unknown to listeners. The singers take center stage for an in-depth look at their role as supporting figures in the complex process involved in creating the finished recordings.
Written 03-07-2015 09:49:32 by Tue Steen Müller
Normally we do not not advertise, but rules are there to be broken…
It’s last chance today if you want to take part in the EDN workshop in Turin called Outreach and Distribution – ”a three-day workshop where producers and directors shape the strategies for the release of their next documentary, including the industry launch and getting the film out to a general audience. The format combines general talks by outreach experts with hands on work with shaping a concrete plan for each of the six (maximum) selected documentary projects.”
It takes place end of September and the reason I want to promote it has three legs: 1) We need to find new ways to reach the audience, especially for films which fall outside the mainstream.
The two main tutors are 2) Ove Rishøj Jensen who stood behind the launch of the two Swedish documentaries “Harbour of Hope” and “Every Face has a Name” (photo), directed by Magnus Gertten and 3) Ben Kempas who stood behind the launch of the Scottish “I am Breathing” by Emma Davie.
Very strong films that reached/reaches the audience because of well-thought and performed serious campaigns far away from “normal” loud-shouting, classical marketing.
Go for it!
Written 02-07-2015 20:58:50 by Tue Steen Müller
I read somewhere that NYTimes plans to cut down in their movie reviews policy that so far has been working in the way that ALL films released theatrically in NY are reviewed. What that means remains to be seen, but it will not make me give up my subscription that includes the newspaper and the thursday/friday ”Movies Update” that is a pleasure to read for a documentary addict as well.
For instance the one from today, where you find a review of Asif Kapadia’s documentary (the man who made "Senna") on ”Amy” (photo) Winehouse (for the Danes, soon to be released (July 30) in Copenhagen), a very inviting review – …an intensely intimate experience, which is delightful as you’re getting to know her early on, when she’s all shy, charming smiles and having her first successes. In its rise-and-fall arc, her star-is-born/star-is-dead story is painfully familiar; she is, bluntly, just one more name now etched on our pop-cultural mausoleum. Yet, as this movie reminds you again and again, the commercial entity… was also a human being, and it’s this person, this Amy, whom you get to know through all the lovely little details, knowing winks, funny asides and barbed observations that help make the movie memorable… Read it all, please!
And a theatrical release of a Les Blank film from the early 1970’es is written about, “A Poem is a Naked Person”, about musician Leon Russell. Blank, who died in 2013, is a name to be remembered in the history of documentary for his films on music and culture, with his own non-pretentious style, made this film “over three years, his first feature, “a vital part of a unique and durable body of work”.
And more documentaries are reviewed – and there is a long and informative, and superbly illustrated, article on the phenomenon Robert Frank, “The Man Who Saw America”.
Written 02-07-2015 11:35:58 by Tue Steen Müller
Still waiting for Israeli film critics having watched and evaluated the film by Herz Frank and Maria Kravchenko – that is to be screened in Jerusalem July 8, the day before the Jerusalem Film Festival officially starts but still as part of the documentary competition – here is a clip from a competent review from Hollywood Reporter, read the whole, link below:
“…the filmmakers are less concerned with political context than with Tremblover, an Orthodox Jew and Russian émigré to Israel who fell in love with Amir, fought for years to marry him in prison, and is now mother to his young son. Though muddled and elusive at times, Beyond the Fear is an absorbing meditation on the emotional and psychological aftershocks of violent political events. With Mideast tensions constantly in the news, further festival play seems guaranteed, possibly leading to niche distribution and small-screen interest…”
Written 01-07-2015 17:50:16 by Tue Steen Müller
A newsletter arrived presenting an impressive selection of films to be broadcast in Africa…
A year ago we wrote about the Afridocs initiative taken by the Steps foundation in Cape Town, which is run by Don Edkins, who initiated Steps for the Future and was involved in the global series ”Why Democracy” and ”Why Poverty”. Afridocs is supported by the Bertha Foundation and ED, which is (quote from the website, link below) ”Africa’s newest information and knowledge portal. Immediate and interactive, it seeks to engage and inspire…
To refresh your memory: ”AfriDocs is the name of a broadcast initiative that has a focus on “The best documentaries made in Africa and the first documentary strand across Sub-Saharan Africa... real stories weekly. Primetime.” Through the channels
Read more / Læs mere
Written 29-06-2015 15:17:03 by Tue Steen Müller
The 37th edition of the Moscow International Film Festival ended two days ago and the winner in the documentary competition was American “Cartel Land” by Matthew Heinemann.
According to the festival’s main communicator, filmmaker and festival programmer, Georgy Molodtsov: “Overall, with 19 films (7 in competition and 12 out of competition in the Free Thought section) we collected 4338 votes. Together with press screenings we've counted around 5500-5750 viewers for documentaries only. It was a great festival, great films and, of course, great audience...”.
Talking about the votes, enthusiastic Molodtsov refers to the decision on who should have the audience award. I am sure he won’t protest that I quote from his FB page:
When I saw tears on the faces of the most cynical documentary filmmakers after the screening of this film, I hoped that it would win. Yesterday I've been told, that in the third screening of the film in a 90 seats screening hall of Documentary Film Center 119 votes were collected and some people just weren't able to get to the screening even on stairs…
The film in question, winner of the audience award, is “My Love, Don’t Cross That River” (photo) from Korean Mo-Young Jin that got 4.81 out of 5 points from the audience, whereas “Racing Extinction” by American Louie Psihoyos was next with 4.77 out of 5, Joshua Oppenheimer got 4,69 for “The Look of Silence” and Laura Poitras 4,61 for “Citizenfour”.
Written 28-06-2015 16:31:21 by Tue Steen Müller
Years ago, when in Israel as a tutor for the documentary CoPro event organised by Orna Yarmut, I visited the Jerusalem Cinematheque. I was there with Herz Frank, whose favourite cinema of his home town it was. Herz was proud that 35mm prints of his films were in the prestigious collection. We met the charismatic founder and leader of the Cinematheque Lia van Leer, who died 90 years old this year, always praised as a true supporter of the art of film. She talked warmly about Herz Frank and his films.
Her name has come up in connection with the controversy around the film of Herz Frank and Maria Kravchenko, ”Beyond the Fear”, that has been selected for the upcoming Jerusalem Film Festival, July 9-19. According to i24News (link below) the Israeli Minister of Culture Miri Regev has threatened to withdraw funding for the festival if the film is screened at the festival, making film critic Gidi Orsher write on his FB page: "Had Lia van Leer still been with us, she'd tell Regev where to go…” and many have suggested that filmmakers with films at the festival withdraw their films.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 26-06-2015 19:09:12 by Sara Thelle
Thank you to Cinemateket in Copenhagen who, in collaboration with the Copenhagen Photo Festival and Danish writer, filmmaker and beat expert Lars Movin, organised the Robert Frank program here in June. And thank you to Lars Movin for sharing his knowledge and his personal anecdotes with us when introducing the films. This was the first big Robert Frank retrospective and also the first official screening of the legendary Rolling Stones documentary Cocksucker Blues (1972) on Danish ground. 15 of Robert Frank’s films and 3 about him.
I was in for a small marathon last Saturday. First the documentary Leaving Home, Coming Home – A Portrait of Robert Frank (2005) by Gerald Fox, a rare intimate portrait, since Robert Frank has never been keen to being filmed or interviewed. Then the feature-length hybrid film Me and My Brother (1968) and last, a collection of his later short films The Present (1996), I Remember (1998), Paper Route (2002), True Story (2004/2008) and Fernando (2008).
Me and My Brother was a slap in my face. It opens up with a very disturbing scene that takes you right to the bottom of a deep and complex matter. Soon it is turned into a film within the film and becomes a sort of meta-reflection and investigation into the questions: how do you film other people, how do you use others in your art, how do you use yourself, what do you make money from, how does it feel to be filmed, what does it do to you, when are you yourself and when are you acting. It is a hybrid film, mixing real life with staged acting, colour with black & white, at times the characters are “played” by themselves and at other moments by actors.
Originally, Frank was set out to make a film adapting Allen Ginsberg’s poem Kaddish, written about his mentally ill mother. But over time, the project becomes a film about Ginsberg’s partner Peter Orlovsky’s brother Julius, who after having spent 15 years in a psychiatric hospital is let out and left in care of his brother. So the setting is Julius, a catatonic schizophrenic, living with Peter Orlovsky and Allen Ginsburg. The film is about how to live with and among mental illness, about how the brother Peter deals with it, and in this way – maybe – it becomes indirectly an adaption of Ginsberg’s poem. And at the same time it is a film about Frank’s doubts about filming this.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 26-06-2015 14:39:54 by Tue Steen Müller
It was a privilege to follow the development and production of Peteris Krilovs ”Gustavs Klucis: The Deconstruction of an Artist”. And it was a privilege to see how the producer of the film Uldis Cekulis fought for the film to have the necessary financing to be completed. And to be able to see the end result live up to the high ambitions. The film had its premiere in Riga in May 2008 and now – 7 years later - it has a new premiere as a very inviting 2 dvd set, a collector’s edition it is called, including a booklet, well it is all there for you to enjoy, experience and learn from!
The visual part first: The 90 minutes version is there in English vo and subtitles, as are the Latvian vo with subtitles and the Russian vo with subtitles. Plus a 90 minutes version with Peteris Krilovs and editor Julie Vinten in conversation with me, in the best English we know! It was the first time we did that, commenting on what you see in this and that sequence, hope it works! And then on the second dvd
Read more / Læs mere
Written 22-06-2015 21:23:42 by Tue Steen Müller
Although first and foremost a festival for fiction films with red carpets and presence of stars (this year includes Harvey Keitel and Richard Gere), the festival in spa city Karlovy Vary (in German times Karlsbad) that celebrates its 50th edition (Happy AnniVARYsary) comes up with new films by names like Helena Třeštíková (photo), another long-term social documentary by the Czech master.
Also you will find a new film by super-productive Mark Cousins, it is called ”I am Belfast” and has this description from the festival website: “I met a woman. She said that she is Belfast, the city in Northern Ireland where I grew up. The woman said that she’s as old as the city,” states Mark Cousins at the beginning of his meditative dialogue with the personification of Belfast. This cinematic essay abandons the parameters of classic documentary language, asking us to perceive the film as a magical-realist mix of reality, dreams, myths, and local storytelling.”
The Catalan ”Game Over”, directed by Alba Sotorra, a film that got the New Talent Award at the the recent DocsBarcelona is also in the programme, as is the Cinema du Réel winner of this year, Ukranian ”The Living Fire” by Ostap Kostyuk.
And to finish with national glasses – Danish Jon Bang Carlsen presents his playful ”Cats in Riga” (part of the series of Riga-films produced recently)… and out of competition is Asif Kapadia’s ”Amy” (Winehouse) that has received amazing reviews.
Written 22-06-2015 15:26:14 by Sara Thelle
The second edition of the Warm Festival, (28th June-4th July), a festival on contemporary conflicts with a strong focus on film and photography, will take place in Sarajevo next week. Seven days of screenings, exhibitions, conferences and talks, gathering journalists, filmmakers, photographers, writers, historians, ngo’s, artists and researchers.
Amongst the subjects treated this year are “Memory and War Commemoration into question”, “How do we visit Museums?", New Tools for new Perspectives of Research and Understanding”, “Fact-checking”, “New Initiatives in Photojournalism”, “Human Rights Watch” and “The Forensic Turn”, discussing the complex issues of the ethics of representation in war photography. There will be photo exhibitions about Maydan, Mass media and Vietnam, the Arab spring, the Central African Republic, migration, and stories and portraits of women survivors of rape.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 18-06-2015 16:44:42 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Israeli filmmakers call to snub Jerusalem festival after docu on Rabin's assassin pulled | i24news. Published June 17th 2015:
Israeli filmmakers are understood to be considering withdrawing en masse from participation in the Jerusalem Film Festival, following its organizers decision to comply with the demand of Culture Minister Miri Regev to nix the documentary film "Beyond the Fear" about Yigal Amir, the murderer of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, local media reported.
The hawkish Regev, who has generated widespread controversy in recent days over her pronouncements about funding culture and about Israeli-Arab theaters, said the festival would be held without support or funds from the government if the film was shown. Organizers agreed to have a special screening a few days prior to the festival. But "Beyond the Fear" will still take part in the festival's official competition, Ynet reported… Read more:
A comment by the producer of ” Beyond the Fear” Guntis Trekteris and his team will be published tomorrow.
Director Avi Mograbi ("Avenge but One of My Two Eyes", "Happy Holiday Mr. Mograbi") wrote: "I promise to not submit my next movie to the Jerusalem Film Festival. A management that does not fearlessly defend its content selection, even if it means resigning – I have no reason to believe that next time they won't compromise in advance. Nor do I know that they will defend my movie if need be."
Written 15-06-2015 17:22:28 by Tue Steen Müller
To receive an award at a festival that carries the name of Andrey Tarkovsky… Ego Media’s Guntis Trekteris proudly announces that
““Beyond The Fear” by Herz Frank and Maria Kravchenko (photo of the two) got Documentary Grand Prix in Andrey Tarkovsky International Film Festival "Zerkalo" (Mirror). Congratulations to director Maria Kravchenko, our co-producer Vitaly Mansky and the team!”
And to Trekteris himself, indeed, I can add.
The synopsis of the film: Decisions made by the protagonists of the film change their life irreversibly. Yigal Amir at the age of 26 assassins the Israeli Prime Minister. He is sentenced to life imprisonment and becomes the most hated criminal of the state. Larisa, an émigré from Russia, a mother of four, divorces her husband to marry the assassin and give birth to his son. In the course of many years the authors of the film are trying to understand this complicated story until one of them – Herz Frank – does not live to see his film finished, remaining on the threshold of the eternal secret of life, death and love…
Written 15-06-2015 16:32:39 by Sevara Pan
The Season of Destruction
His thick black hair, trimmed at the front and sides, drew attention to the solemnity of his eyes. Age had not touched his temples, yet his face was marked by the deeply drawn lines, characteristic of a poet born in the wrong decade. His heavy pouches, tokens of the habitual night visitors, harbored the reserves of unshed tears. Sitting next to his old friend Hazem, he cast his eyes on Hazem’s drawing. Following the wanderings of the ink pencil, he could not let his eye drift from the urban ruins that had swallowed the white of the canvas. There was no hint of color. Nor did it seem to have any beginning or end. “Is it as easy to draw destruction as it is actually to destroy?”, the man uttered, addressing the question to Hazem. “It sells at the moment. It is the season,” Hazem answered hesitantly. The two men chuckled, but their laughter soon ceded, dissolving into heavy silence. “The season of destruction,” the man repeated as the train of thoughts shifted through his face. “Destruction is difficult, even here.” Staring intently at the object of his creation, Hazem added: “Destruction creates some extraordinary details.” An agonizing silence settled in once again, only to find relief in the ruffle of air. As if smothered by the question that should have long been answered, the man dropped at last: “Where are the people in this drawing?” “Under the rubble,” Hazem responded quietly.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 15-06-2015 11:24:08 by Tue Steen Müller
The catalogue foreword to the “Free Thought” documentary section of the Moscow International Film Festival (June 19-26) is written by curators Sergey Miroshnichenko and Grigory Libergal. Their text is a reflection on ”patriotism”, that is a theme in several of the films. And maybe also an elegant tongue-in-cheek commentary to the country they live in. Read it:
Patriotism is such a meaningful and positive word, just like “patriot”. Probably they are the backbone of any state. But is there a code permitting to define a patriot? And can this right be delegated to one person or even one organization? This year’s program gives ample food for thought in this respect.
At the beginning the protagonist of the Chinese film “Young Patriot” is an enthusiastic advocate of orthodox patriotism. But these feelings undergo several tests in real life. Finally extending his knowledge of the world and the history of his country the main character finds space for another kind of patriotism , the conscious one! The mayor of a mining Chinese town is another example of such a person (“The Chinese Mayor”)
Read more / Læs mere
Written 14-06-2015 15:20:22 by Tue Steen Müller
French documentarians have written a letter to France Télévisions to make the public service channels improve the conditions for the genre. It was published in the newspaper Libération last week. It is a very well written and argued article that could very well be used in lobbying campaigns in other countries - and on a European level. Sooo... good reading on a quite Sunday, if you master the language!
Le documentaire est le cœur du service public ! Et, il devrait battre encore plus fort...
A la télévision, le documentaire soumis à de trop fortes pressions.
Alors que France Télévisions vient de changer de présidence, le service public doit réaffirmer son engagement pour la production et la diffusion du film documentaire. Il a son public et remplit une fonction sociale.
Le genre documentaire joue un rôle essentiel dans le cœur de nos concitoyens. Il bat fort dans les écoles, les universités, les bibliothèques, les musées, les salles de cinéma... Et il bat fort encore sur tous les écrans de nos foyers. Un cœur vif tant il porte en lui l’identité de notre société, ses valeurs et ses questionnements. Un cœur solide tant il est vecteur d’innovation, tant il stimule un secteur et un marché du travail important.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 13-06-2015 20:33:03 by Tue Steen Müller
Interesting (read it all via the link below): Five documentaries previously censored at Turkish festivals or cinemas will be shown at Documentarist, the festival that starts today saturday in Istanbul with a fine programme.
“A common trait linking all five documentaries is that each tells a story that does not comply with Turkey's official nation-state policy”, as Today’s Zaman writes.
Indeed… you think after having seen the film by Swedish P-Å Holmquist and Suzanne Khardalian, “I hate Dogs – the Last Survivor” (of the 1915 atrocities/the genocide against the Ottoman Armenians), a totally shocking 29 minutes long documentary from (quoting from the website of the filmmakers) ”Garbis, (who) is a very energetic 99-year-old.; he has just met his new companion, Seta. They live in Paris, only a few blocks away from the Arc de Triomphe. Garbis, an Armenian, is one of the very last survivors of
Read more / Læs mere
Written 12-06-2015 14:06:20 by Tue Steen Müller
Still a young part of the MIFF, Moscow International Film Festival, the documentary programme of the upcoming 37th festival (June 19-26) has been announced. Good friend and documentary addicted promoter Georgy (”Gosha”) Molodtsov tells me that the "Free thought" programme is launched for the 10th time this year, the competition for the 5th. I was there for the jury the first year and enjoyed the hospitality of Sergey Miroshnichenko and Grigory Libergal and their team, including Mr. and Mrs, Molodtsov (Zhenya).
The competition programme includes American Matthew Heinaman’s “Cartel Land”, “The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson” by Julien Temple, UK, “Racing Extinction” (USA) by Louise Psihoyos, the only one I have seen: “The Visit”, again a fine essay by Danish Michael Madsen, “A Young Patriot” by Chinese Haibin Du, one more American “The Nightmare” by Rodney Ascher – and Russian “Larisa’s Crew” by Helena Lascari.
And in the “Free Thought” category that includes already awarded
Read more / Læs mere
Written 10-06-2015 21:41:41 by Tue Steen Müller
A press release came in today with quite some news for those who intend to visit the 2015 Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival the coming autumn. The always innovative and sometimes also controversial festival in the Czech Republic – I had a very good time there last year with fine works and masterclasses with Wojciech Staron, Peter Kerekes and Miroslav Janek – proudly announces that the first guest of the Inspiration Forum of the festival is Julian Assange.
I quote festival director Marek Hovorka from the text received: “Julian Assange is a global icon, digital Robin Hood, who has managed to divide the society into his devout supporters and ardent opponents. While The New York Times describes him as the most influential journalist in the world, the republican presidential candidate has stated that “any punishment apart from hanging would be too kind to him… We have been trying to get Mr. Assange involved in the festival’s programme for over three years and we highly value his promise to participate, albeit through the mediation of the Ecuador Embassy. It is known that he rarely makes public appearances. Visitors of Jihlava IDFF will have a unique chance to ask him various questions. As part of the Inspiration Forum, Julian Assange will also collaborate with selected documentarists on their work.”
Read more about the plans for the festival on its site, link below.
The festival takes place October 27 – November 01 2015.
Written 09-06-2015 09:20:51 by Tue Steen Müller
… or better, Gente dei Bagni, Italian documentary photographed, directed and edited by Stefania Bona and Francesca Scalisi, both graduated from Zelig Film School in Bolzano as did their producer Luigi Pepe (company Jump Cut). The film has already been awarded a couple of times at Italian festivals in Rome and Trento, and it would be wrong if it will not get praised outside Italy.
When I (who know the three of them from teaching at Zelig) was asked to comment on their project years back, I told them that there was nothing wrong in making a short film about people who come to a public bath. I was not convinced that the film could sustain one hour. I was wrong, it can, I was not bored one single moment even if there is not a story in modern-documentary-terms and no bigger conflict and not one or two main characters but many.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 07-06-2015 17:29:29 by Tue Steen Müller
The photo is by Ukranian photographer and filmmaker Alexander Glyadyelov, whose exhibition was arranged during the 2015 DocuDays UA festival in Kiev. About him is made a 6 mins. short documentary with interview and examples from his work. Title “You see, My Brother”, the title of the exhibition as well.
The film is part of an “Online Cinema House which presents documentary films on human rights in Ukraine.” Let me quote some interesting words about the photographer, who also sees "war and maidan as events of the same patterns:
”Glyadyelov still makes films the way they made films half a century ago. He shoots his films in black-and-white and uses analog video cameras with manual focus, a mechanical shutter system and no burst mode. It seems as if these details are strictly technical, but it makes his works conceptually different from the stream of images we see every day. It is almost impossible to film like that in the middle of a fight. That is why the cameraman has to scan what is going on during pauses. In other words, he films not death, but life. Then he develops his films and makes photographic prints manually; that takes time. You cannot shoot news broadcasts this way – that’s why the cameraman has to gaze at non-transitory things.”
Read more / Læs mere
Written 05-06-2015 10:06:25 by Tue Steen Müller
”Gateway to East European Documentaries” – that’s what the IDF (Institute of Documentary Film) calls its website DokWeb that I check out pretty often because of its information and articles, like the one by Filip Sebek, who has interviewed Russian director Alina Rudnitskaya, whose fine film ”Blood”, that has been awarded here there and everywhere, is to be screened in Prague later this month and is included in the Kinedok screenings ” so it is also possible to see it at non-traditional venues during the whole year within this project organized by Institute of Documentary Film.”
Alina Rudnitskaya talks about the conditions for documentary filmmaking in Russia as they are today, about the big audience that wants to watch documentaries, the insufficent support from the state and her inspiration, here is a quote:
”I was influenced by Czech cinematography of the 60s and 70s, because I am a fan of black and white movies. I like the ironical films by Miloš Forman as well as the bitter tragicomic films by Jiří Menzel and the paradoxical women's world in the films by Věra Chytilová. Tragicomedy is my favourite genre. Laugh through tears. Life is very paradoxical, not only black or white. Everything has its own contrast: birth - death, love - hate. People are multilayered personalities. I look for the inner collisions and such situations in which people react in various manners. They cooperate and sometimes contradict and get in conflicts with each other. And one more aspect - I live in Russia where the situation often changes 180 degrees: yesterday one kind of values was acclaimed and today the values are quite different. And if you don't have a good sense of humor you can get depressed. We live in spite of it. And I try to catch it in my films.”
Read the whole interview on:
ALINA RUDNITSKAYA ON FILMKOMMENTAREN:
Written 01-06-2015 09:40:46 by Tue Steen Müller
It was a proud festival director Joan Gonzalez, who welcomed the audience to the final evening of the DocsBarcelona 2015 with the screening of Ivan Gergolet’s fine film about the 93 year old Maria Fux, ”Dancing With Maria”, followed by the award ceremony. He could mention that the audience attendance had grown with 17% from last year – ”more than 6000 viewers have enjoyed more than 40 documentaries…” – that the industry section had more than 600 guests introducing a speed meeting pitch format, where 40 projects had an average of 15 meetings scheduled. 15 minutes per meeting. Plus information meetings like ”what am I looking for” and Latin Pitch and rough cut screenings. I am sure I have forgotten something.
Anyway ”Tea Time” by Chilean Maite Alberdi got the TV3 Award for the best documentary while Joshua Oppenheimer’s ”The Look of Silence” took a speciel mention AND the Audience Award AND the Amnesty International Award! Again Signe Byrge Sørensen from Danish company Final Cut for Real played a main role at the Catalan festival, as she did two years ago with ”The Act of Killing”. By the way – the Spanish title of the film is beautiful, ”La Mirada del Silencio”.
The new talent Award went to local ”Game Over” by Alba Sotorra and the Docs & Teens Award to ”Mirant Amunt” (Glance Up) by Oriol Martinez and Enric Ribes.
The whole list, please consult:
Written 31-05-2015 09:59:03 by Tue Steen Müller
A very special day at the festival! First step was a visit to the fabulous Libreria Altaïr where ”el vermut de los sábados” this weekend was dedicated to a conversation with the DocsBarcelona directors of ”The Final Stretch” (Oscar Perez), ”Bikes vs. Cars” (Fredrik Gertten), ”Beaverland” (Nicolas Molina & Antonio Luco) and ”Alentejo, Alentejo” (Sergio Tréfaut), followed by an informal drink at a place full of books with a nice small café connected. Altaïr is also an online travel magazine published six times per year.
Next stop was another one of festival director Joan Gonzalez (photo) crazy ideas: Why not combine ”Docs & Wine”, the title of a rendez-vous in a restaurant, where clips from five films were shown to be matched with the tasting of five different wines – what wine would be the best for that wine etc. Joyful event, indeed. The warm and sweet film ”Tea Time” goes with a Moscatell from Catalunya del Nord, right?
Read more / Læs mere
Written 30-05-2015 10:46:51 by Tue Steen Müller
It was a happy producer, Signe Byrge Sørensen, who checked messages on her i-phone here in Barcelona to find out that Chilean/German Estephan Wagner’s beautiful documentary ”Last Dreams”, produced by Final Cut for Real, had got the Audience Award at the new DOKer festival in Moscow, a festival that attracted a big audience. This will hopefully mean that the film will travel to many other festivals and be picked up by tv stations. Here is the content description of ”Last Dreams”:
Last Dreams confronts us with the probably most engrained taboo in our society: dying. An intimate and delicate exploration of the last months of the lives, loves and regrets of three women, from the moment they arrive at a hospice until they draw their last breath.
The film intimately follows 3 women during their last month of life, from the moment they arrive at their hospice until they are gone. Through them we explore what it really means to get to the end of life in our culture; we are with them when they deal with the most important remaining issues in their life; we are present when they find words to say ‘Sorry’ or ‘I love you’.
Written 30-05-2015 10:20:08 by Tue Steen Müller
All right, a Dane writes about Danes, forgive me please - the photo is taken inside La Pedrera, one of Gaudi's masterpieces in Barcelona where Signe Byrge Sørensen friday night held her masterclass giving around 40 people a personal insight to how she came to film from a strong political engagement and studies of life conditions in the developing countries. She showed clips from films shot in Africa, from the huge impressive work she co-directed with Danish master editor Janus Billeskov Jansen about disappearing languages of the world and from the two masterpieces "The Act of Killing" and "The Look of Silence", that later the same evening was shown at the festival with a Q&A session that ended after midnight. Only natural that one of the filmmakers present called Signe Byrge Sørensen a super-woman!
... and the two gentlemen on the photo, producer Mikkel Stolt to the left and director Jens Loftager were at the speed pitch meetings with what is going to be the third film in a trilogy that started with "Words" followed by "War" - and now "Faith". The film project was chosen to be presented at the prestigious East European Forum in Prague next year in March.
To the right Martina Rogers, the young woman who stood behind all the industry activities at DocsBarcelona, indeed one more superwoman!
Written 29-05-2015 10:34:18 by Tue Steen Müller
He came into the cinema after the screening, the audience stood up and gave him a standing ovation after they had seen German Marcus Vetter’s portrait of him, ”The Forecaster”, alias Martin Armstrong or Marty as they call him in the film and as the audience called him at the 35 minutes long Question and Answer session in the Aribau Club cinema thursday night at DocsBarcelona.
”I am happy you are alive” was the first remark from a spectator among the around 100 people attending the screening, the first of two for a film that demonstrates a very fine cinematography and skills to tell the story about a man, who sat in jail for 12 years because of his fight against the bankers, to put it in a simple way. Another comment from a spectator: ”You are a hero, and I mean it!”. Marty did not act as a hero in the cinema, his appearance was that of a modest man, a fighter and now a man wanted by everyone to talk and advice. A couple of spectators brought up private economical questions – and got answers from Marty, who – according to his website – sees himself as one who offers public service to all of us, who have difficulties in understanding economy. After the screening people queued with their smartphones to have photos taken with ”el visionari”.
Let me quote what the film is about through the precise text of the distributor Autlook Films: The story of finance whiz Martin Armstrong reads like a movie script: a man designs a model that can predict the future. He calculates developments in the world economy with eerie accuracy and even the outbreak of wars. Until the FBI is on his doorstep and he is sent to prison. A free man again, he shares his views on the financial crisis and offers his solutions to governments.
Written 28-05-2015 18:43:07 by Tue Steen Müller
It's wonderful when the ever perfect DocsBarcelona team makes a small mistake like the one on the photo announcing that the panelists of the Rough Cut Screenings that took place tuesday and wednesday were... yes, read for yourself. No, your moderator can assure you that a civilised and polite and constructive and critical tone was there all the time!
Written 28-05-2015 14:15:38 by Tue Steen Müller
For some years I have had the pleasure to host an exclusivity at DocsBarcelona: Rough Cut screenings. And it is rough cuts that are being screened in their full duration to a panel of hand-picked documentary professionals in a relaxed sitting room setting, see photo, at the CCCB, one of the venues of the festival, for the professional events and with evening screenings.
3 rough cuts were presented – Colombian Clare Weiskopf and Nicolás van Hemelryck came with ”To the Amazon”, a project that was pitched at DocsBarcelona 2014 – Polish Wiktoria Szymanska launched ”Artur”, another title is ”Happiness on the Pavement” – American Christina Antonakos-Wallace put ”With Wings and Roots” on the screen. The sessions went on for around two hours, it was forbidden to talk money, these sessions are not for pitching but for getting creative input and constructive comments from the panel, and the filmmakers got that from
Written 28-05-2015 13:25:07 by Tue Steen Müller
The winners of the MIDFFl Doker 2015 have been announced. The jury members (I was part of the one for feature duration documentaries) was working from their homes, the discussion, led by chairman Victor Kossakovsky, who demonstrated that he not only is a great filmmaker but also has diplomatic skills (!), went on via emails. Congratulations to the organisers for doing a new documentary film festival with a global vision – and a lot of people in the audience – see the photo. If you click on the titles below, you will get the descriptions of the film and get to the website of the festival:
Read more / Læs mere
Written 26-05-2015 14:48:10 by Tue Steen Müller
I am in Barcelona, it's summer, there is an outdoor pool outside my hotel window, and it is crowded. I am not here for holidays, DocsBarcelona has started with some events for professionals and tomorrow is the opening of the festival for the audience - opening film "Falciani's Tax Bomb", a German/Spanish coproduction with an English director Ben Lewis. But in my mind I have been in Barcelona for some days. Saturday at Camp Nou the ceremony was held to celebrate that FCBarcelona won the Spanish League in football AND it was the farewell to Xavi Hernandez, who has been in the club sinde he was 11 years old and has played (from 1998-2015) more than 500 matches. 35 years old he has decided to end his carreer in Qatar, where other ex-Barca players spend their life and earn...including Michael Laudrup as a coach.
Anyway, I was thinking about how squeeze in a text about this wonderful gentleman of the game, a man I have adored for the whole time - and is he not the perfect dramaturg? Has he not been the one who has mastered to find the rythm, the one who has been able to see when the descriptive, the informative should be there, playing the ball around in small circles for suddenly to feel that now is the time to poetry, to surprise the audience making a peak in the narrative and send a player a pass that makes it easy for him to score. A director, an editing director who knows when to set more pace. Always available with an enormous overview, a man with a big generosity to his audience.
Photo taken by friend and colleague Joan Gonzalez, who was there with his son Marti.
Written 24-05-2015 12:59:13 by Tue Steen Müller
There have been masterclasses with Avi Mograbi and Michael Glawogger, world class directors of documentaries, at previous DocsBarcelona festivals.
This year the festival has invited Signe Byrge Sørensen, producer of ”The Act of Killing” and ”The Look of Silence” AND many, many other important documentaries, to meet the audience at Gaudi’s famous La Pedrera. The participants to this masterclass will experience the carreer of a committed producer during an event called ”7 Shots 7”:
”… DocsBarcelona’s annual invitation to a prominent figure within the documentary world, who by selecting 7 shots or sequences from their work, opens up a debate around audiovisual language.”
And a quote from when I visited a Q&A with Signe Byrge in Riga at the Baltic Sea Forum:
”It was not the first time that I attended a session with the producer of this all-over-world-going film (”The Act of Killing”, ed.). And it was not the first time that I left the cinema full of admiration for the professional and personal way Signe Byrge addressed the audience giving it precise, inside and interesting background information on the making of a film that was 7 years on its way, with her on board five years.”
I will be the moderator of the masterclass and I have told Signe Byrge not to be modest and polite, but to talk about herself and not (only) Oppenheimer and her editors Janus Billeskov Jansen and Niels Pagh Andersen!
Written 24-05-2015 12:38:42 by Tue Steen Müller
The film of Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, a portrait of world star photographer Sebastião Salgado, runs in Danish theatres right now – go and watch it!
Mikkel Stolt wrote about it at the Danish cph:dox premiere, here is a quote:
”The film’s sense of time and space turns out to be the perfect conveyor of Salgado’s pictures and words. The horror and the beauty in the protagonist’s work are presented to us in a way that reveals how great interpreters of reality both the still photographer and the directors are… ”
And I saw an exhibition of the photographer’s ”Genesis” in New York last year and quoted from the catalogue:
The result of an eight-year worldwide survey, the exhibition draws together more than 200 spectacular black-and-white photographs of wildlife, landscapes, seascapes, and indigenous peoples—raising public awareness about the pressing issues of environment and climate change.
Written 19-05-2015 10:47:43 by Tue Steen Müller
There was champagne on the football pitch the other day in Madrid, where FC Barcelona won the Spanish League. And the Danish fan in his corner chair in the garden house took a cigar from the humidor and celebrated his favourite team once more as he has done so many times in Copenhagen and in Barcelona at Camp Nou. A great prologue to what starts next week in the Catalan capital: DocsBarcelona, another celebration, this time of the art of documentary cinema.
I have been working with and for DocsBarcelona since the very beginning almost twenty years ago, have enjoyed seeing the development of an event that started as a so-called industry training and pitching arrangement to be added with a festival some years ago, and now also an InterDocsBarcelona ” to encourage interactive and transmedia documentary”. If you go to the website of DocsBarcelona, you will also discover that there is a Documentary School coming up, a Documentary of the Month distribution initiative that celebrates its 10th year – and by the way DocsBarcelona also operates in Chile and Colombia!
Yes, DocsBarcelona is super ambitious and still the festival has a moderate size with a reasonable number of films presented in a reasonable number of screening venues. The CCCB (the Cultural Centre) will host screenings and the industry meetings where the format has changed from an open pitching session to speed meetings – 40 projects are to be presented to a selection of 30 financiers and distributors/sales agents. I talked to a friend, who had got 13 meetings. What a logistical process to make this work out!
Back to the festive atmosphere, the festival has introduced ”Docs&Wine” (!!!), a quote from from the site:
…After viewing 5 clips from 5 different films from the festival, the couples will have to pair each film with one of the selected wines. A game in which participants will enjoy a new way of approaching documentary through wine. A pioneering sensual experience that will not leave you indifferent… I have signed up!
Written 17-05-2015 11:35:28 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Filmcentralen / For alle kan jo gå hen og blive en samling som der trygt kan refereres til og hvorfra filmværkerne til enhver tid langt ud i fremtiden kan hentes frem og bruges af mig, af lånerne, af offentligheden ligesom de litterære værker i de store biblioteker, i dem af dem, som ikke har opgivet at være samlinger. Som da jeg forleden dag via et opslag på Facebook fra Sara Thelle om to artikler af diplomatimedarbejderen Julian Borger i The Guardian om de dramatiske og omhyggelige forberedelser til en retssag mod Bashar al-Assad læste om en af mine dokumentarfilmhelte, den canadiske ekspert i international ret Bill Wiley (FOTO) i Esteban Uyarras og Michael Christoffersens Saving Saddam fra 2008, som netop nu er dybt involveret i den sag. Jeg må jo i denne nye sammenhæng se den film igen. Dengang skrev jeg dette om den:
... Det måtte slutte der på forhøjningen med trappen op. Har nogen mon talt trinene? Bødlen med sort hætte lægger et sort tørklæde om Saddams hals, og derefter løkken, som netop ser sådan ud. Man ser det alt sammen på mobiltelefon-optagelsen. Det er ikke noget smukt billede. Det er forfærdende som den grimme videooptagelse fra retssagen mod Elena og Nicolae Ceausescu. Billedet af dem i overtøj. De sidder i den kolde skolestue, hvor standretten finder sted. Summarisk rettergang.
Denne films hovedperson, Bill Wilay vil forhindre, at noget sådant gentages. Han vil en retfærdig rettergang efter internationalt anerkendte regler, han vil, at drabene hører op, vil afskaffe dødsstraffen som første skridt… (Læs videre)
In English from FILM Magazine 1 November 2008:
THE CRIME OF CRIMES
by Allan Berg Nielsen
In Saving Saddam, Bill Wiley, a Canadian lawyer, wants to abolish the death penalty. The film is produced by Mette Heide and Michael Christoffersen for Team Productions, the company that produced Milosevic on Trial, about The Hague Tribunal.
There it inevitably ended, on the podium, with the steps leading up to it. Did anyone count the steps? The black-hooded executioner ties a black kerchief around Saddam’s neck, next the noose, which looks just so. The mobile phone video shows all, and it’s not pretty. It’s every bit as horrifying as the ghastly video of the trial against Elena and Nicolae Ceausescu with its unshakable image of the two of them wearing their overcoats in the chilly schoolroom where a military court was hastily convened. The protagonist of Saving Saddam, Bill Wiley, a Canadian lawyer, wants to prevent the same thing from happening again...
Read more / Læs mere
Written 16-05-2015 17:03:46 by Tue Steen Müller
Interesting article in Nonfics yesterday by Daniel Walber, a clever comment and reflection on the fact that the Cannes Film Festival has introduced a ”Oeil d’Or” (Golden Eye) award of €5000 with 14 films competing and with a jury that includes fine names as Rithy Panh, Nicolas Philibert and Diana el Jeiroudi.
The problem, however, according to Walber, well to anyone who is in for the artistic, creative documentary, is that 10 of the films are films about legendary film directors and actors – a quote:
“There are two 50-minute films on Orson Welles, one of which was produced by Turner Classic Movies. There’s one about actor Steve McQueen‘s love of auto racing, another about pioneering African filmmaker Ousmane Sembène, and a profile of Gérard Depardieu. There’s even a documentary about the history of the Palme d’Or itself. Kent Jones‘s Hitchcock/Truffaut is an inevitable highlight, as well as Stig Björkman‘s Ingrid Bergman, in Her Own Words. Daniel Raim, Oscar-nominated for his short profile of art director Robert Doyle, is back with Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story. Finally, the one I’m most looking forward to is By Sidney Lumet, a new American Masters film from Afternoon of a Faun director Nancy Buirski.”
I am sure that several of these films are full of creativity (long to see Björkman’s on Ingrid Bergman and the one on Hitchcock/Truffaut) but they “smell” of well crafted television documentaries, where the main subject is commented on by colleagues, experts, whatever. So the competition is in no way reflecting the strong position of author-driven documentaries worldwide today as the feature categories go for the “auteur”.
To be fair Asi Kapadia’s film on Amy Winehouse, Amy (photo), that has received enormously positive reviews after its screening at the festival, is also in this first competition at the Cannes festival. Let’s wait and see what the jury decides.
Written 14-05-2015 09:19:58 by Tue Steen Müller
Kind and sweet and warm and knowledgeable Franz Grabner has died. I had the privilege to work with him for many years during my years at the EDN. He was many times at the Ex Oriente workshop and pitching in Jihlava and he found it important to come to ZagrebDox when training and pitching was introduced there. And it was only natural for Mikael Opstrup and me to ask him to join us in September 2011 for the DOCMeeting in Buenos Aires. I wrote the following report on this site:
”Franz Grabner from ORF in Austria, on the contrary to the power point the previous speaker used, opened his textbook and looked down at his handwritten notes. For him the development of a film project is the most important, he wants to create a relationship with the director. We should not lose the audience, he said, and continued to express his concern about the tv audience – no young people watch television – ”sometimes I think that I am producing more for the past than for the future”. But let’s make films for the audience and not for the ratings. Grabner referred to the strong film tradition in Austria after the world war 2, with names like Haneke, Glawogger, Geyerhalter and Ulrich Seidl, and showed a clip from the Bosnian director Begovic wonderful and original ”Totally Personal”.”
Yes, Franz was for the original and personal documentary, the artistic and he was aware that the good days for that kind of films on television were over. He wanted to have a post-ORF life to make his skills available for filmmakers as a consultant after his long hospital stay. Indeed he knew his film history.
Many warm thoughts go through my head when I think of Franz, who was also the one who introduced me to wonderful Austrian red wine. My condolences to his family.
Written 13-05-2015 11:30:25 by Tue Steen Müller
A bit into the beginning of the film I said to myself: OMG, is this a film where they are going to talk the whole way through! Of course I understood that the filmmakers had to make the viewer agree to ”where” and ”why” and ”who”. Who the characters are, their relationship, their mission in Uganda – in other words to give information necessary for the further development of a story that grows smoothly and slowly as the rythm of life does in the country where it takes place. But that much talking?
I have often thought about openings of a creative non-journalistic documentary film like this as a take-off in a flight. Sometimes you feel it takes ages before you are up there, where there is a flow, waiting for the turbulences (the conflicts) to come, where you can move on.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 11-05-2015 15:30:21 by Tue Steen Müller
Realscreen is a useful source for information on what is going on in – that’s what they call it – non-fiction. Normally it is short news, sometimes however longer articles of fine quality like the one from May 1st by Kevin Ritchie that I would recommend you to read because it conveyes an old master’s wise words - Frederick Wiseman being interviewed at Hot Docs by CBC journalist Piya Chattopadhyay, to the left on the photo with his producer and distributor Karen Konicek to the right. Lessons on how to stay independent, quite an inspiration.
Here are the headlines of what the reporter calls ”11 Doc Lessons”, read them all, link below:
1. A good idea can come anytime, anyplace.
2. In Jackson Heights is about the “new face of America.” (In Jackson Heights is a new film project that Wiseman pitched at the Hot Docs).
3. Wiseman gets permission by asking for it.
4. Raising money is the most “demeaning” part of making a movie. 5. His shoots generally last four to six weeks.
6. Half of documentary filmmaking has nothing to do with filmmaking.
7. The filmmaker’s point of view exists between literal and abstract levels.
8. He never does research.
9. He never cuts a film to meet the needs of a broadcaster.
10. Self-distributing his films on DVDs has been successful.
11. The key to longevity in film is a good producer.
Words to all of us, who run around teaching what to do and what not to do, and how to pitch and how not to pitch from the man who has given us ”the other side of America”.
Written 10-05-2015 14:47:14 by Tue Steen Müller
Respect! All right, we can get no official support due to the economical crisis, but we will make the festival anyway. We will finance it out of own pocket. This was the thought of a group of independent Russian filmmakers, who stand behind the MIDFF DOKer that starts May 22 and runs until May 26. 16 features will take part in the Main Competition and 19 films in the Shorts Competition. 10 films have been selected for this year's Special programme Cinema in Cinema.
Some background taken from the site: DOKer is a project of screening independent documentaries, it was created in the beginning of 2011 by a group of enthusiasts to promote contemporary art documentaries in Moscow and other Russian cities. It has enjoyed 9 seasons in 6 cities. Altogether, 300 screenings have been staged for more than 20,000 viewers
The project doesn't limit itself to screenings, it also organizes discussions with the filmmakers, master classes, closed screenings before the world premieres, regular social and cultural surveys of the audiences, campaigns to attract media attention to new Russian films, lengthy partnerships with various film festivals and organizations, assistance and support of local theatrical releases and many other activities…
Read more / Læs mere
Written 08-05-2015 14:43:36 by Tue Steen Müller
So, there it is, the film about the Lithuanian photographer Vitas Luckus (1943-1987), his life, his art and first of all his love story with muse and wife, Tatyana. It is made by Giedre Zickyte, who has been working on it for years. I heard about it five (maybe more) years ago, when she was pitching the film at the Baltic Sea Forum, and since then I have had the pleasure to watch sequences and rough versions. Yes, pleasure, because Giedre Zickyte has kept the passion for her film the whole way through, and pleasure because you can see Quality, high Quality in the final film. For me it’s brilliant, nothing less.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 07-05-2015 20:12:58 by Tue Steen Müller
… and the winner is, was the headline of the e-mail I received from Francesca Scalisi today. She sums up the experience with the Flying Film Festival, that she was initiating, like this: It went so well that probably we will do it again next year. We had smg like 6000 visualizations!!!
”Nos jours absolument doivent etre illuminés” by Jean Gabriel Périot was the film among the 9 films that flying passengers and grounded jury members picked as the winner
“A simple and beautiful film carrying strong emotions. It shows how much can be communicated without even saying one word”, were the official jury motivation, very right characteristic – in a previous post I wrote about the film:
..an intelligent and touching film where you hear inmates from behind the prison wall give a concert, while you see faces outside experience the music emotionally, close-ups of family to the one in prison.”
Fine Flying Film Festival – please come back and export the idea to other airlines than Swiss.
- also on FB.
Written 05-05-2015 19:36:28 by Tue Steen Müller
I have to go to words from literature, as we normally do when writing about films. This Ukrainian documentary is prose and poetry and essay at the same time. It is informative and emotional. You learn from it as you always do, when a skilled film crew takes you to a place, where you have not been before and that you know nothing about – and it does not limit itself to an anthropological or etnographic approach but succeeds in conveying an amazingly beautiful (in image, sound and characters) artistic interpretation of a tradition that is disappearing. And it invites you to reflect as does an essay.
The location is the Ukrainian Carphatian Mountains and as for content, here is a quote from a text brought on screen in the beginning of the film: … (they) leave their villages for 4 months to graze their flocks on highland pastures... only a few remain to carry on the craft of their ancestors...
Read more / Læs mere
Written 04-05-2015 13:08:53 by Tue Steen Müller
Subtitled The Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival, DocAviv, 7-16.5.15, has launched its programme and it looks well thought and categorized in themes, that apart from the traditional Israeli and International competition are ”Art and Culture”, ”Art” and ”Depth of Field Competition” (what is that?) and a theme that reflects the state of the world we live in and what documentarians are making films about in these years:
”(Un)free World”, that lists more than 20 films, including the ones that are already internationally known and awarded like ”1989”, ”Citizenfour”, ”Democrats”, ”The Act of Killing” and ”The Look of Silence”.
One film especially attracts my attention and it takes place within the border of Israel, here is the website description of ”God’s Messengers" (photo):
This film contains rare documentation of the Hilltop Youth of Gilad Farm, the most radical Jewish outpost in all the West Bank. Due to American and European pressure, the threat of evacuation hangs over their heads. They confront the Israeli government, its security forces, and the Palestinians, and pose a rebellious, sometimes violent and lawless challenge to their foes, always guided by an ideology that knows no compromise. As they see it, they are God’s representatives on Earth. The settlement was founded by Itay and Bat-Zion Zar in 2002 to avenge the murder of Itay’s brother. Although it was dismantled on several occasions, Gilad Farm was never abandoned.
Directed by Itzik Lerner, 76 mins.
Written 01-05-2015 19:33:26 by Tue Steen Müller
Simon Kilmurry will be missed in pitching sessions around the world. He has several times been nominated as the best commissioning editor at idfa in Amsterdam. Personally I have had the pleasure to moderate sessions, where he was a panelist - always a safe card to play, Kilmurry has always contributed with competence and passion for the documentary genre. Generous and unpretentious in his remarks to the pitching filmmakers.
I have no idea whether this means that the international profile that Simon Kilmurry has given POV will continue or not. Of course I hope it will go on so the Americans can watch good documentaries from outside the US.
Goes without saying that the IDA is happy to get Simon Kilmurry to lead the organization. Here is a clip from the press release sent out yesterday:
Read more / Læs mere
Written 28-04-2015 18:49:56 by Tue Steen Müller
She is nine years old, lives with her grandmother, her mother is ill and her father, she does not see a lot. This is the background that you pick up gradually as this sensitive, well-made and cleverly thought film goes along with father and daughter on a tour towards the park of Pippi Langstrømpe (Longstocking) in Sweden, a wish for the girl who wants to be strong and independent.
They both have a camera and they film each other inside the car, in the hotel rooms where they stay, the landscape, playgrounds along the road and Pippi’s park – and out comes this wonderful portrait of a girl, who is able to reflect on her own life, formulate what she thinks and hopes for, and at the same time be the little girl, who sits with a toy horse on her lap, misses her grandmother and talks with her father on whether they shall turn around and go back to Moscow – or continue to Pippi Land.
A small conflict in a film that has a lovely sketchy non-formatted character with shaky camera movements, warm moments between the two, a playful journey that is interrupted by the ring of father’s cell phone, and her father asking: Would you like to live with me instead of with grandmother. The film has a wonderful b/w opening – ”you can’t run away from yourself” – and an ending with the girl anticipating/imitating the everyday world she has to go back to. A film with a universal appeal.
Russia, 2014, 52 mins.
Winner of Main Prize at DocuDays UA 2015 in the Docu/Life Category.
Written 28-04-2015 18:43:14 by Tue Steen Müller
I have to confess that I have no idea of what the young physicist Konstantin talks about to himself, when he sits writing his equations in his datcha or when he tries to make his students interested in physics at the summer camp, where he is one of the teachers and where he has no success in making the students do their homework or have the same enthusiastic ambition as he has – to find out how the world is built. He is, as I understand it from his continous awards mentioned, a scientist of high quality. And a totally lonely wolf.
And yet I follow the film in great concentration because it is a very fine piece of vérité filmmaking, where the director, who is also the cameraman, who is also the editor, ”simply” follow the protagonist, who often communicates directly to him. At least he, the director, is interested in him, the physicist, who sees himself as ”a fish out of water”.
You can’t help feel sorry for him in most of the situations – totally absurd it is when he tries to teach on the beach on a lovely night at the same time as another group of students are having a lesson in how to dance chacha.
Is he one of these classical Russian characters we know from drama and literature, who does not fit in and gets no inspiration to develop their creativity, as he says at the end to the director behind the camera? One who finds his joy in listening to music that he ”feels”.
Russia, 2014, 51 mins.
The film won the Joris Ivens Award at the Cinema du Réel Paris,2015 and will be shown at Hot Docs in the coming days.
Written 28-04-2015 18:39:12 by Tue Steen Müller
This is the kind of portrait documentary, where you learn a lot. In this case you watch the film with open mouth whispering to yourself, ”this can’t be true” even if you know from other media that this kind of fanatic intolerance and hatred exists in today’s Russia and that a youth organisation leader as Dmitry Enteo is welcomed to meet high ranked representatives from the church as well as politicians and people from the legal administration. I googled ”Dmitry Enteo” after my screening and saw that he has the opinion that the murdered Charlie Hebdo journalists were the real terrorists and deserved the punishment for blasphemy – and that he thinks that Putin might be God!
Much credit to the film team for inviting the viewer to get close to Dmitry Enteo in his home, to hear him recite poems, to see him with his girl friend , to see him in the streets with his colleagues from the organisation God’s Will. There’s a lot of street clashes caught on camera, maybe too many, and yet there are moments that stand out like one with a young woman crying because a friend of hers, a former friend, now is on the aggressive anti-gay side, including his beating up of innocent demonstrators.
Some might say, why make a film about such a fanatic, some might say idiot, who advocates violence. I would say precisely therefore, we have to know what goes on in the heads of rethorically competent, seducing youth leaders like him, don’t we?
To have empathy with him if that has been the ambition, sorry No.
Russia, 2014, 55 mins.
The film won the Main Prize at the DocuDays UA 2015 in the category Docu/Right
Written 28-04-2015 18:32:20 by Tue Steen Müller
Synopsis from director: This film tells the story of the previous year, that for me began, when Maidan had started and maybe didn't end yet. The whole year we have lived in the atmosphere of revolution, then war. Whatever you did - you saw this things on the background, you always mean them, although you live not even on a border of war, but deep in the rear. I want to remember this year, I want to keep the memory of all the people who surrounded me. The year of Maidan, the year marked by war and peace…
And the director does so in a film that is impressionistic in style, a bit difficult to grap when it comes to montage principles, but it lives through its obvious presence in situations, through the joy and enthusiasm that comes from the screen. A fine framed location is the Red Square in Moscow: the young woman unfolds at the end of the film the Ukranian flag, has to pack it away, when the police arrives, she does so with a smile and whispers “Maidan is Everywhere”, as she said in the beginning as well… There are some great scenes from private appartments, where the youngsters live, and from the countryside, I would have loved to have more of that. Maybe a small fatigue is coming to me now after many Maidan-films.
Ukraine, 2015, 36 mins.
The film won the Andriy Matrosov Award from the DocuDays Organization Committee at the DocuDays UA 2015. Motivation: For the victorious spirit of freedom.
PS. Words about Andriy Matrosov from the website of the festival: Andriy Matrosov was an unusual person. Everything he did, he did with much creation and love. In his incomplete 42 years of life, Andriy had time to become photoartist, cameraman, journalist, human rights activist, the head of journalist association “South”, film producer and producer of Docudays UA festival. And the main thing – he was a man who lived with an open heart, who put all his forces into good and useful deeds.
Written 28-04-2015 11:50:47 by Tue Steen Müller
A press release came in this morning from Andrea Pruchová, Doc Alliance. As usual well written and precise in information. Easy to quote from. As a true fan of Doc Alliance I hurry to bring you the newest from the Prague based documentary promoter:
”Discovering new film talents has become an inherent part of the brand of the European Doc Alliance Selection Award. (The) seven key European documentary festivals (see below) have chosen seven remarkable films and filmmakers, one of whom will become the eighth holder of the award this year…
Read more / Læs mere
Written 24-04-2015 21:41:02 by Tue Steen Müller
This article is brought now because the film has its international premiere at HotDocs in Toronto , tomorrow, April 25.
A long prologue: On this site Herz Frank (1926 – 2013) has an iconic status. Co-editor Allan Berg and I met the director at the Balticum Film & TV Festival on Bornholm in the 1990'es, later on in Riga, where we contributed verbally and (a bit) financially (Allan as consultant for The Danish Film Institute) to “Flashback”. Personally I have had the pleasure to have met Herz (Frank) in Tel Aviv on a couple of occasions. He has been a huge inspiration for me in my understanding of what documentaries are and can be.
Allow me to quote Herz: In front of me on my work table is the central fragment from Raphael's fresco "The School of Athens". Plato and Aristotle discuss the philosophical meaning of life. Plato is pointing upwards - the essence is the Idea! Aristotle, on the other hand, has his palm pointing down to the ground - the basis is the material! Even earlier in the Old Testament (Genesis) both views are united. In the first book of Moses the first lines states: In the beginning God created heaven and earth. Read - the spiritual and the material.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 23-04-2015 22:02:08 by Tue Steen Müller
Thanks to a Cineuropa website (very actual, well written and edited, covering also a lot of documentary events and films) and a link from the article, I got to know about the Play-Doc 2015 festival (Festival Internacional de Documentals) that runs now and until April 26, the 11th edition, with welcoming words from Mexican director Nicolás Pereda, I have taken a clip:
“In a world in which people communicate with each other by phone and computer, in which artistic collectives are becoming ever thinner on the ground and cultural events are becoming more and more impersonal, Playdoc is a breath of fresh air, a model for other festivals across the world to follow.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 23-04-2015 20:01:53 by Tue Steen Müller
The 46th (!) edition of Visions du Réel is going on with still a couple of days left. Before the festival Doc Alliance brought an interview with the festival director for some years, Luciano Barisone, a man who is not afraid of bringing non-tabloid, non-journalistic artistic documentaries to his festival. I have copy-pasted from the interview a couple of interesting sequences:
Barisone: The “vision” is in the name of the festival together with the word “réel”. It’s a gaze upon human evolution, a tight connection between reality and imagination, a meeting between a state of mind and a state of the world. We deal with creative documentaries and we think of creativity as Robert Bresson did: “To create is not to distort or invent people and things. It is to weave people and things who exist and as they exist into a new relationship.”
This year’s edition of the festival has been strongly linked with the personality and the work of Barbet Schroeder, a Swiss-born director playing an important role in the French Nouvelle Vague movement as well as working with famous Hollywood stars. Why have you decided to focus on Schroeder’s work? Your decision has also affected the visual style of the 46th edition...
Barisone: Last year we decided to create an award named Maître du Réel, in order to honour a major filmmaker who has been working in documentary and narrative features, following the path of a realistic representation of world history and human events. Barbet Schroeder completely embodies this for his career as a whole and for his way of approaching reality.
Written 20-04-2015 18:04:01 by Tue Steen Müller
The 30th edition of the DOK.fest in Munich invites the audience to watch five of the Israeili documentary master Avi Mograbi's films. Mograbi travels apparently from one (well deserved) homage to the other, last one was in Paris at the Jeu de Paume museum in March. The films – "August: A Moment before Eruption" (2002), "Happy Birthday, Mr. Mograbi" (1999), "How I Learned to Overcome my Fear and Love Arik Sharon" (1997), "Once I entered a Garden" (2012) and "Z32" (2008) – show the director's personal style and his unique skill to convey his critical analysis of Israel in a humourous language.
Mograbi has been a frequent guest on this site, I am true admirer of him and his film essays, here are just two quotes:
…he innovates the documentary language by using talking masks, as his main character, the killing Israeli soldier, does not want to face the camera. Very intelligent trick that combined with his Brechtian musical element, himself singing comments to the soldier’s crime, makes the film into a universal essayistic wish for reflection… (about Z32)
…A masterclass, a master’s class, Mograbi is exactly as his films are: tense, sometimes comic, but always dealing with the embarrassing reality of the country he lives in. A frustrated artist, as he says himself, who wants to move something, raise a debate in Israel, but does not succeed, he is met with total silence, no reactions, whereas he now is an estimated artist in Western Europe! In the next issue of Cahiers du Cinema, the headline is characterising him as ”Le Grand sculpteur de notre temps”. (DocsBarcelona 2009, masterclass with Avi Mograbi).
The festival takes place May 7-17 and has a good and interesting international programme, check it. Link below.
Written 18-04-2015 22:48:37 by Tue Steen Müller
At the beginning of March I posted a text about a great initiative taken by young filmmakers - Francesca Scalisi and Mark Olexa – both graduated years ago from the Zelig Film School in Bolzano:
”The festival will start beginning of March and run until end of April. The 30 longhaul aircraft (A330-A340) of the SWISS are loaded (with films) within the first week of March, it serves all SWISS destinations around the world non-stop…
These are words from the website, link below: Welcome to the “Flying Film Festival, the first festival taking place entirely in the air. It will be “flying” in the months of March and April 2015 with the aim of promoting to a wider audience short documentaries with a strong cultural connotation and emerging directors.”
I have had the pleasure to watch the 9 competing short films as a member of a jury (grounded), I have given my points, not to be revealed here, and look forward to see the final result of jury AND airborn passengers votes. Nevertheless I dare – in short – to write
Read more / Læs mere
Written 16-04-2015 22:48:12 by Tue Steen Müller
… at DOK Leipzig, a press release announces from the festival. Like American presidents the new director of the important festival has chosen to reveal her changes after her first 100 days in office! Here comes most of the press release from yesterday:
... Most substantially, the division between documentary and animated films in the competitions will be abolished. “It is a bold move, but this is how I see DOK Leipzig - fresh and bold,” says Pasanen. “The international competition among festivals is fierce. We want to stand out with our cutting-edge approach to storytelling and our unpredictable programming. We will have a festival that is surprising its audience every year.”
Read more / Læs mere
Written 16-04-2015 13:15:44 by Tue Steen Müller
Of course IDF (Institute of Documentary Film) stands behind this wonderful initiative, it calls itself “Project Father and Mother”, but there are other well-known partners - One World Romania Association (Bucharest, Romania), Restart (Zagreb, Croatia), Mozinet (Budapest, Hungary) and Filmtopia (Bratislava, Slovakia), (who) “will create an extensive and continuous distribution network for the documentaries on the territory of all the participating countries, and will thus help to significantly extend the audience base and increase the general interest in creative documentary.”
Take a look at the website to know more about the high-quality films that will be shown non-theatrically in the countries mentioned. The IDF website includes a fine text from where I have kidnapped the following appetizer:
“Wednesday April 15, the official launch of project KineDok in Slovakia will take place in Bratislava in A4 -Association for Contemporary Culture. The introductory film will be the Danish-Hungarian documentary “1989”. During the following year, screenings at 20 more non-traditional venues will take place in Slovakia...
"It will be officially launched with the public screening of a Danish-Hungarian film, “1989” and a discussion with its directors Anders Østergaard and Erzsébet Rácz. A docu-party will follow. The authors of 1989, which I personally consider a great political drama about the fall of the Iron Curtain, will accompany the film tour throughout Slovakia in the next three days. After the screening in Bratislava they will introduce their film in the film club of The University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava and then in Topolčany," says the main coordinator of KineDok in Slovakia Eva Križková from Filmtopia...
In the course of the year, up to 12 documentaries will be screened at each of the twenty alternative spaces and film clubs...”
Photo from “Joanna”, Oscar nominated Polish documentary by Aneta Kopacz.
Written 15-04-2015 14:16:44 by Tue Steen Müller
Apropos the sad news about the Avala Studio in Belgrade, here is a written flashback to a night at the Sava Center at the closing night of the Magnificent7 2011:
It was one of those evenings that you will never forget – and that Mila Turajlic will never forget. A totally packed Sava Centre in Belgrade gave her a minute long applause for her great work on making the 100 minutes long documentary on Yugoslav film history, ”Cinema Komunisto”, a film that in this and shorter versions will travel the world, to festivals and television companies. It is an enjoyable and informative voyage the young director takes, in film history and in history – back to a country that no longer exists. And with Tito as the main character, a man who loved films, watched film every night, and also wanted to have films made about himself and his greatness in fights against the Germans during WW2. The greatest man, as Orson Welles says in an archive clip from his visit to the country. Hundreds of partisan films were made, we see clips from them and from loads of other Yugoslav films, matched with documentary archive material and interviews and situations from today. All done in a way that is so excellent that it is hard to believe that this was done by a young filmmaker and a young editor (Aleksandra Milovanovic) with many others who were not alive or were kids. But they had the courage, the patience and the skills to research and produce, and the maturity to make a film of that size. Bravo!... and go to their website where a lot is to be learned as I did last night in Belgrade at a magnificent screening for a couple of thousand people:
Written 14-04-2015 23:57:54 by Tue Steen Müller
Dear friends, guests and colleagues of MAGNIFICENT 7 Festival, we've got a terribly important issue to share with you, hoping you will react, sign the petition and spread the word about the unthinkable events that are about to take place in Serbia and the tragic effect they will have on the Yugoslav film heritage:
It’s been looming as a threat for years: AVALA FILM, Yugoslavia’s biggest film studio and its entire film catalogue, will be sold at auction on April 22nd.
The Avala Film catalogue, consisting of over 200 fiction feature films, and 400 documentaries, including winners of the Cannes, Berlin and Venice film festivals, produced between 1947-1992, is included in the sale. Seeing as Avala Film almost half of all Yugoslav films, this means that the rights to half of our film heritage will fall into private hands.
The Serbian filmmaking community, despite valiant efforts, has not managed to achieve its goals in lobbying the Serbian government to attach conditions to the sale.
The "City of Lost Films" campaign will mark the final 10 days before the auction, in a countdown of clips from cult films produced by Avala film that we will post daily, as well as videos taking you on a last tour through the Yugoslav Cinecittà.
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE (in English):
CAMPAIGN FACEBOOK PAGE (in Serbian):
PHOTO from Cinema Komunisto.
Written 10-04-2015 13:39:23 by Tue Steen Müller
It’s not because he says something new, Iikka Vehkalahti, who is now out of YLE, Finnish public television, active as always with different international activities, one of them being the rough cut service that he has set up together with respected editors like Niels Pagh Andersen, Erez Laufer and Menno Borema – link below. For that reason and because he will be one of the tutors at the first session of the upcoming Ex Oriente workshop series, the organiser of these, IDF (Institute of Documentary Film) has made an interview with Vehkalahti, from which we take a quote, but read the whole, not because he says something new but because he says something important:
What mistakes do the young documentary filmmakers frequently make? It is possible to give some examples in general?
Mistakes are not made only by the young ones, we all make them. There are so many. For example: not to adjust the film to the audience; not to leave any space for the audience to create the final version of the film in their own heads; to play too much; not to stay simple and preserve the complexity of the issue at the same time. Not to be truthful, or not to be open to all kinds of filmmaking tools and methods. I, for example, do not understand a person who, by principle, says: “And I don’t use voice over“. It is like leaving out the music! What would such films as Citizen Kane, Sans Soleil or Sound Of Insects be without voice over? As I said: we all make mistakes all the time and often we make the most fundamental ones in the old age – such as those on the informative level (where are we, who is who, what is the question/dilemma/conflict/quest of the film, what is the role of the back story, etc.), which make the film unclear and messy and at the same time full of too much detailed information. Very often the need just to finish the film already, to get rid of it or too get the film to a certain festival makes the team think: „we have to finish the film now“ and rush it… But in fact, very rarely the film has to be ready immediately.
Written 07-04-2015 04:18:38 by Tue Steen Müller
In my sculpture, I attempt to detach myself from the subject. Although my earlier works were rather expressionistic with oubursts against war, crime and violence in general, I now find my most successful pieces are less topical and idiographic. They are naturalistic or illusionistic which results in an element of shock, surprise and psychological impact for the viewer. The subject matter that I like best deals with the familiar lower and middle class American types of today. To me, the resignation, emptiness and loneliness of their existence captures the true reality of life for these people.
Consequently, as a realist, I am interested in the human form and especially the faces and bodies which have suffered like some weather worn landscape erosion of time. In portraying this aspect of life I want to achieve a certain rough realism which speaks of the fascinating idiosyncrasies of our time. I want my sculptures to convey a certain sense of stylelessness which will capture the contemporary feeling of reality.
(Contemporary Artists, St. James Press, 1998, p. 480)
Written 04-04-2015 21:20:01 by Tue Steen Müller
In documentary workshops and film schools all over I have forbidden the participants to use the term ”poetic” talking about films. It’s banal, over-used and what does it really mean? Nevertheless this is the only word to be used for this film, here it does fit perfectly, to summarize a wonderful intimate chamber play featuring mother and son in a room, he the filmmaker, she the 94 old mother, he wants to make a film with. Always in her bed, declared by the doctor to have only a few days more to live – eight months ago!
Read more / Læs mere
Written 03-04-2015 20:21:35 by Sara Thelle
First I have to make a confession, I didn’t make it to the end of the 5 hours long film! Not because I was bored, I just had a painful neck. But I did see about 240 minutes and I will be writing about those.
92 years old Jonas Mekas’ latest film Scenes from the life of Raimund Abraham is a portrait of his friend, the Austrian architect Raimund Abraham (1933-2010), who lived and worked in New York for more than four decades. Abraham was a radical and consistent architect and an important figure at the Cooper Union, a renowned progressive architecture school in New York.
Mekas generously sent the film to the Copenhagen Architecture Festival at his own initiative with a handwritten note saying that he thought this would fit in well with the festival. And it certainly did.
The film is not an integrated oeuvre in the sense of As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief glimpses of Beauty (2000), which is a true work of poetry. No, Scenes from the Life of Raimund Abraham is more of a footnote to the latter, a thread to be followed where the caption could be “Friendship”. And within the friendship lies the admiration for the work of the architect. The method is the same, an interweaving of old and new material, the new material filmed with a small handheld DV-camera (with the image and sound that goes with it), recordings of life as it happens around Mekas. A lot of cooking and eating meals, drinking wine in bars, gatherings of family and friends, discussions between friends about work, art or just this and that. But we also meet Abraham at work, the hectic end to the restoration of the Anthology Film Archive, Mekas’ lifework, and the construction of the Austrian Cultural Forum, designed by Abraham down to the smallest detail, which we follow until the opening in 2002. A crazy 26-floor building squished in on a tiny stamp-sized site on the crowded eastside of Manhattan, an impressive and beautiful piece of architecture.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 03-04-2015 02:40:53 by Tue Steen Müller
After five days of watching documentaries on a big screen in Palm Springs, USA, back to the MacBook Pro screen to promote another fine offer from the unique DocAlliance, this time linked to the Swiss documentary festival Visions du Réel – short films made by (60!) directors, including Peter Mettler, Bartek Konopka, Nicolas Humbert, Jérome le Maire, Jukka Kärkkäinen and J-P Passi, Laila Pakalnina, Fernand Melgar, Max Kestner, Thomas Heise (photo from Material), Peter Entell and Jay Rosenblatt. What a (short) film festival you can make out of this! Here is a long quote from the press release of DocAlliance:
The beginning of the new Doc Alliance season is drawing near! The Swiss festival Visions du Réel is traditionally the first one to pick up the documentary baton. However, even before the opening of the 46th edition, the festival has a spectacular online surprise for all impatient viewers; 60 short films by renowned local and global directors in which selected personalities celebrate the past anniversaries of the festival and introduce their vision of the future. What is the “Trace of the Future according to...” like? Watch from March 30 to April 12, 2015 at DAFilms.com for free!
The theme of the past was a key theme of the past edition of the Doc Alliance festival Visions du Réel. The 45th edition offered two important anniversaries for celebration; 45 years since the founding of the festival in 1969 and 20 years of the festival’s history under its current name Visions du Réel. The events of the past and celebrations of the present are inseparably linked to the visions of the future. That is why the festival asked internationally renowned filmmakers who have a long-term connection to the festival about their idea of the future. What traces will we leave to the future generations? What traces will be left by documentary film?
Exactly 60 filmmakers were selected and asked to carry out a task that seems simple at first glance; to make a short film that is approximately 3 minutes long. However, how to capture the future within the merciless limit of three minutes? Whose future – the personal one, the national one, the global one, or perhaps the future of film? You can see how acclaimed documentarists and audiovisual artists coped with the task; for the first time online and for a whole two weeks!
Written 01-04-2015 22:20:48 by Tue Steen Müller
Marseille. The city of Zinedine Zidane. A multicultural melting pot with areas/quartiers, where violence is a daily menu with gangs operating, murders and huge social problems. If Zidane is an icon for football fans, Yvan Sorel is it for practioners of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). He is the character of this impressive piece of observational documentary at its best – camera Joseph Areddy.
Yvan Sorel – whose face reminds me of Karim Benzema, full of aggression and vulnerable at the same time – has his ”Team Sorel”, where he and other fighters teach kids and teenagers the sport and how have to behave in the world. He is a father figure for them, being tough if they have not attended school or having lied or other matters that do not fit into good manners. Contrary to the teachers I had in school, Yvan Sorel does this by swearing the worst in the French vocabulary and/or promising them ”to beat the hell out of them”. In French!
Read more / Læs mere
Written 01-04-2015 20:49:37 by Tue Steen Müller
Esther’s father married and divorced 5 times. Why? And how might that influence my life, the director wants to find out and makes a film that ends with footage from her own marriage, where she is walking the aisle with her grandfather – the father would not come to Toulouse for the wedding. To be said, Esther is French/American.
The father is the main protagonist, who does not want to be in the film. Well, he is in the many archive clips that his daughter uses for the film and we see him being married for the sixth time and on several other occasions. But he is never in a conversation with the daughter behind the camera. So the answer to the Why, we don’t get from him.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 31-03-2015 23:51:19 by Tue Steen Müller
Peter Bogdanovich joked about himself, ”I master the namedrop”, he said, referring to his enormous knowledge of films and film stars, actors and directors. What I am about to do now is precisely the same, namedropping, films and directors, which I have seen during the 5 day festival here in Palm Springs. Some films will in the coming days get their own longer review.
Taking them in the order that I watched them: ”On Beauty” (31 mins., Joanna Rudnick) was a fresh tv-portrait of fashion photographer Rick Guidotti, who left the celebrities and top models
Read more / Læs mere
Written 31-03-2015 20:30:34 by Tue Steen Müller
Sunday morning in the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs. The headline of the morning discussion in the festival’s panel series is ”The Mating of Documentary & Narrative Cinematography”. And the panelists are ”Award winning D.P.'s Haskell Wexler ASC, Joan Churchill ASC, Stephen Lighthill ASC and Frederic Goodich ASC, who will discuss the pros and cons of current digital image capture and the impact of newly devised languages on both traditional reality capture and formal fictional narrative.” ASC stands for American Society of Cinematographers.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 30-03-2015 19:42:00 by Tue Steen Müller
A morning seminar moderated by English film critic Neil Young. Subject: International Film Festivals. What to remember if you go to them as an American documentarian. 20 people listening, asking questions. Basic information was given, especially from Neil Young, who visited 26 (!) film festivals during 2014. Yes, twentysix…
Tips from Young: Things you have to check out before or when you arrive to the festival: Find a cheap laundrette in the neighbourhood, it is far too expensive to use the service offered by the hotel. Remember to bring business cards and to make notes on those you receive and write a ”thank you for the meeting we had etc.” If the festival offers you three nights at a nice hotel, check the cheap and crappy hotels – and ask the festival if they will accept a change so you can stay for more nights for the same price. The quality of the hotel is not important as you are only there to sleep…
Veton Nurkollari, artistic director of the Dokufest in Prizren, Kosovo, told that at his festival – and at many other, like the one here in Palm Springs - you can stay with families. In Prizren there is also a camping possibility to use for almost no money. And why not share rooms, Young said, who has been with colleagues in twin rooms many times. By the way, he added, remember to break away from the festival industry and go visit the most horrible bars – if someone tells you not to go to that bar, go! The panel that also included Manolo Sarmiento from Ecuador, filmmaker and festival director of e-doc, also discussed the prices of a festival pass, provoked by the amount asked by the Sundance festival – 150$ was mentioned – and if you have to travel from Europe it is another 150$ and if you have to stay at a hotel… Sarmiento mentioned that 26$ gives you access to all events, Nurkollari said that people should not be shy to ask for a free pass. Idfa was mentioned many times as the place to go with or without a film, and go to the many receptions and you can easily reduce your costs for food.
Written 29-03-2015 17:53:12 by Tue Steen Müller
Ohhh, film history and personal history for me as for many others, I am sure. Let’s get the last matter settled first: When I was studying at the Library school in Copenhagen in the beginning of the 1970’es, my teacher Werner Pedersen showed us few students specialising in film and tv, ”Directed by John Ford”, made by Bogdanovich and later on my other mentor Niels Jensen, who has written the best Danish book about film history – with John Wayne on the front page – taught me why he, a true connaisseur of the director found him to be the important American film director.
And there they were in the film that Bogdanovich had revised in 2006: James Stewart, what a storyteller, giving us anecdote after anecdote from films that he had played in. John Wayne doing the same. And Harry Carey. And formidable Henry Fonda. In the new version including Spielberg, Scorcese, Eastwood and Walter Hill, all of them analysing films and scenes from works that had influenced their filmmaking.
Bogdanovich knows how to link the interviews with clips so you want to revisit films – right away after the experience and knowledge that this well made director-film has given you. Home again dvd’s of the films will be bought and enjoyed.
John Ford is in the film, of course, sitting in a chair with the landscape we know from several westerns in the background. Answering yes and no and maybe to Bogdanovich, playing with him, but sitting there with his enormous charisma and his cigars. Great Great stuff, I said to myself sitting outside the hotel room enjoying my cigar later in the evening. Thank you American Documentary Film Festival for showing this piece of wonderful film history!
Written 28-03-2015 18:28:25 by Tue Steen Müller
Had they pitched this project in Europe, producers and financiers would have hesitated committing themselves as the brothers are debutants. And would have continued ”don’t start before you have all the money”. In this respect there is a difference between filmmaking in Europe and over here. In the US filmmakers take risks, well they have to, as public funding does not exist.
The brothers Hussin went off to do their first film with very little funding. From a production side point of view crazy and impressive! Noah and Tim Hussin went biking, 5000 miles in two years. On bikes built by themselves. America reCycled. Many case stories on how they made this happen, must be waiting for them - out there at festivals in the US and in Europe.
And they have made an impressive film! They allow us to meet
Read more / Læs mere
Written 27-03-2015 18:20:48 by Tue Steen Müller
So there he was, Peter Bogdanovich, conceived in Serbia, born in the US – as he has put it himself – 75 years old, still a great storyteller and imitator of voices, which was proven when he gave us in the audience anecdotes from his film life as a director, a film historian and one who knew them all, the big names: Cary Grant, Jimmie Stewart, Orson Welles, John Ford about whom he has made a film, ”Directed by John Ford” to be presented here at the festival: ”a new, updated version of the original 1971 documentary which was written and directed by Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show, What's Up, Doc?, Paper Moon and Mask) and profiles the life and works of the acclaimed director”, as put by the TCM on their site, including interviews with Eastwood, Scorcese and Spielberg.
Why is cinema important, Bogdanovich had asked Jimmie Stewart, who told that he once met someone on a set, who said to him, ”I remember the poem you recited in a film, you were good”. About cinema: ”You are giving people little pieces of time they will never forget”, Stewart said – the film the man remembered was 20 years old.
Bogdanovich, full of humour, he could have gone on for hours, said that for him direction was an extension of acting, himself being an actor in numerous films. To be seen in the film tribute to him, 90 minutes long, by Bill Teck, entitled ”One Day Since Yesterday: Peter Bogdanovich & The Lost American Film”, a documentary that premiered in Venice to have a revised version here in Palm Springs. The film puts a focus on the films of Bogdanovich and on the life of the director, whose love for Dorothy Stratten is in the centre of the story. Stratten who was murdered in 1980 and plays in ”They All Laughed”, a film that flopped with the audience, that Bogdanovich bought back the rights for, and a film that Tarantino praises in the interview he has given for the documentary. Lots of clips from the film with adorable Audrey Hepburn and amazing Ben Gazzara makes you want to watch the film.
Written 27-03-2015 17:39:25 by Tue Steen Müller
It all started at 10am Wednesday March 26 with the Film Fund Competition (with around 15.000$ awards to be distributed) in the Camelot Theatres, the main venue for the festival. Moderated by Teddy Gruyoa, festival director, 12 projects were presented in a way that is pretty much different from the usual European way. Where ”we” give the pitchers 7 minutes of presentation (talk and trailer of maximum 3,5 minutes) the pitch here starts with 5 minutes of trailer/teaser/visuals, whatever you will call it, followed by another 5 minutes of questions from professionals in the audience. This year there were critic Neil Young (Hollywood Reporter), university professor John Osborne who after retirement is involved in several productions and has helped with the selection of films for this year’s Amdoc program, Joel Douglas (son of Kirk and Michael’s brother of ”One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”), Adam Montgomery from the Sundance Festival – and me.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 25-03-2015 23:34:59 by Tue Steen Müller
After 10 hours and 40 minutes of flight Copenhagen to Los Angeles and a good night’s hotel sleep off to Palm Springs for the fourth edition of the American Documentary Film Festival that opens tomorrow March 26 and goes on until March 30. Transportation manager Tim Alexander picked us up at the hotel, was great to see him again after many joyful moments at last year’s edition. On the freeway that Danish director Jacob Thuesen made a documentary about (Freeway, 2005), by the way. Now resting at Villa Royale Inn in Palm Springs, an oasis of green, swimming pools, gourmet restaurant and cosy rooms.
Business tomorrow – the festival that is founded by and programmed by enthusiastic and energetic filmmaker Teddy Groya has also what we in Europe call an industry event: The American Documentary Film Fund that gives financing for new film projects. 12 projects are to be pitched tomorrow with a visual as well as a verbal presentation. The winners (I think it was three last year) are announced at the end of the festival that also has awards for participating films. I was invited to take part in the selection in both categories. I got to watch American documentaries that never reach European film festivals – and European documentaries that in many cases shamefully have been overseen by European festivals.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 24-03-2015 11:05:13 by Tue Steen Müller
You must have a passport or an id, the woman at the desk said. Mikael Opstrup from EDN and I were at the entrance of the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest an early morning and we wanted to enter to see the palace of Ceausescu. I showed my official yellow health card and told the lady that I had several cards with my photo on. Little did it help, no passport or id no entrance. Opstrup, who had brought along his passport, went in, I stayed out prepared to sit on a plastic chair for an hour in an ugly entrance hall. Luckily I could go into an equally ugly hall where there was a very fine photo exhibition of photos taken by students at photo schools in Romania. The one I have chosen is by Alma Ghiuela called SFF05, she must have seen paintings of Paul Delvaux or Giorgio de Chirico.
I was happy to meet Laura Capatana again. She was way back a participant of the Ex Oriente workshop, where I was tutoring and where she developed ”Here... I mean there”, 73 mins., a touching story from a Romanian town about two sisters, whose parents work in Spain. Over years the director has followed the girls and their development and struggles with themselves. In the house where they live with their sweet granny.
She is still in touch with the girls and I think she should make a sequel. We the audience have got to know the girls so well that we want to know what happens in their lives. The youngest, Sanda, still lives at home, the parents have returned, what happens with Sanda, when she flies from the nest?
Capatana, observer at the Cooking a Doc workshop, and her husband, actor Gabriel Spahiu, parents of Hugo, 3 years old, drove me to the hotel one night. I have something for you, Spahiu said, and played NHØP from his car radio. Danish jazz bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen talked in Danish-English and played the melancholic ”I Skovens Dybe Stille Ro”. Wonderful end of a nice evening!
Written 23-03-2015 18:23:28 by Tue Steen Müller
We normally do not promote individual film projects on this site but exceptions were invented to be done... Yesterday in Bucharest, Adrian Pirvu, at the One World Romania's "Cooking a Doc" went on stage to present (photo by Adi Marineci) an amazing film project about himself. He showed a touching clip with his mother, who tells how Adrian's sight was (almost) saved just after he was born. This is one of the most intriguing stories I have heard for a long time. Adrian Pirvu needs a producer, eventually a co-director, in other words help to develop, and funding for research! Here is his own fine text written for the workshop:
A documentary by Adrian Pirvu
90 minutes, 4K
Stage of production: Development
Budget: 72 800 EUR
What are the biological citizens of Chernobyl, born in 1986, doing for the 30th anniversary of the nuclear accident that changed their lives and the continent they live on?
I started on the path to becoming a filmmaker on the 26`th of April, 1986. I was not born yet but a nuclear accident in a country that my pregnant mother was visiting, set me on the journey to make this film. In late July, I was born with all fingers and all toes, a little overweight but completely blind. I have partial vision in one eye now, thanks to a very dedicated doctor, a cornea donated by a fresh corpse and 28 year old country girl with the strength of a lioness, my mother.
Read more / Læs mere
Latest posts / Seneste indlæg
Latest comments / Seneste kommentarer
Peå Holmquist: there is a war in Israel in the cultural sector - The new minister of culture is very conservative and has threatened to close down several theatres...
Gunnar Agerskov: Er der mon nogen derude, som stadig ligger inde med dette podcast?Jeg har sådan nydt at lytte til det, men nu er det væk og jeg kan ikke finde det ...
Mikkel Stolt: Måske ikke overraskende, men jeg er helt enig i din skarpe analyse, Allan. Formen, som filmen anvender, har nået et mætningspunkt - det er for forudsi...
Allan Berg: Fotografiet er fra pressematerialet, det originale foto indgår som arkivmateriale i filmen i en vigtig scene, og det er et godt billede. Det er begrun...
Per Berthelsen: Per Bertelsen er IKKE med på billedet. Forstår ikke helt hvorfor sådan et foto anvendes, hvor flere uden fast tilknytning til bandet figurerer....