15 Young by Young/ Premiere

The Latvian national premiere of the 15 Young by Young documentary series – 15 short films of 15 minutes from the former Soviet republics – young filmmakers making films about young people and their lives in today’s independent countries 20 years after the fall of the empire – took place with a galla screening in Riga saturday, followed by a screening in Sigulda, a town one hour from the capital, very well known for its winter sport but also the town that hosted a seminar two years ago where the shaping of the series started with directors and tutors present. I was invited back to Sigulda to watch the films and enjoy the company of the directors. And it was indeed joyful to sit in the cosy cinema in the culture centre of Sigulda, to see the directors being lined up with flowers from the mayor, having an ice cream, a banana and a glass of red wine in the break of the around 3 hour long screening, that was well attended by locals. It reminded me very much of ten years of film festival in Bornholm, Denmark, great unpretentious atmosphere, warm-hearted.

The premiere(s), organised by the producer Ilona Bicevska and her team, also included an outside internet broadcast of a debate (in Russian, the language all directors spoke) that took place in a park in Riga and that you can find online. “Is it Easy to be Young”, the moderator said with a fine reference to the classic documentary of Juris Podnieks. The answers were different depending on the country, the director lives in. Goes without saying that a young person in a Baltic country have better conditions than someone from Belarus or from Moldova or Kirgisztan or… if you talk in materialistic terms.

The series has already been broadcast on arte, hopefully many other channels (and festivals) will also take this unique insight to countries that we need to know more about as they are only present in the media when revolutions or catastrophies happen. Unique the series is also because it presents many different ways of making a short film, from pure observation to fictionalisation, and put together there is freshness and talent to experience. The link below invites you to know much more. With clips to enjoy. Do so! 15 countries. 15 directors. 15 stories. (Photo from the Russian short in the series)


Share your love
Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

Articles: 3862