Alan Berliner: First Cousin Once Removed /2

I was lucky this year (December 2012) at idfa. The first film I saw, was the one that got the award for being the best film of that year’s festival. And it deserved to be, it did stand out, no other film could compete. This is the beginning of the review on this blog written just after the screening:

”Famous for his film about his father, ”Nobody’s Business”, clever and funny with an excellent, playful montage, it was simply great to watch the newest documentary by Alan Berliner, also with a family member as main protagonist, also with a playful montage and also a tribute to Life even if it deals with Edward Honig, who has Alzheimer’s disease, sits in his chair through the whole film, with family archive material flasbacks here and there and everywhere, shot over five years, a wonderful experience, because Edward Honig was wonderful to meet, a poet and a translator of poetry, among others Portuguese Pessao, a man on his way away from the Life he had been praising again and again, sitting in this room full of books and papers not knowing why and where and what and who…”

Alan Berliner comes back to Europe these weeks. He goes in persona to Istanbul to the Documentarist festival (June 1-6) invited by Emel Celebi, the festival director, semper ardent, who has organised a retrospective of Berliner’s work. In Istanbul the director holds a masterclass, which is introduced in this inspiring way:

Alan Berliner will take us on a guided tour through the sounds, images, themes, and storytelling strategies that have helped define his filmmaking career for more than three decades. Berliner will show examples from his films that help us understand both the risks and rewards of using one’s own life as a “living laboratory,” and how and why he’s devoted his life to exploring the personal, familial, and cultural dimensions of identity, memory, aging, love, family relationships, and the fragility of the human condition. Berliner’s master class will also focus on the process of editing, using clips from his films to illustrate how he creates compellingly dynamic montages from the compilation, collage, and counterpoint of a wide variety of personal, poetic, historical, archival, and musical sources — and how he creates films in which the way a story is told can be as interesting as the story he is telling.

 You can’t be in two places at the same time, but his film can, therefore the Barcelona audience can watch First Cousin…. at the upcoming DocsBarcelona, where it will be screened 3 times. Check the site and go and watch, doc people in Barcelonaa – and Istanbul.

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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.

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