Alexandru Solomon Tribute

The Thessaloniki Documentary Festival is one of the best when it comes to communication – and programming. This text is taken from the website, a very well deserved tribute to Alexandru Solomon is planned for the festival, that takes place March 13-22:

Incredible stories from the past, shocking truths and lies, memory and reality: this is the work of Alexandru Solomon, one of the leading political documentary filmmakers in Romania.

Filmmaker, cinematographer and producer, Solomon was born in Bucharest in 1966. He studied in the Film and Theater Academy School and started working as a cinematographer, before he moved to documentary directing. An active producer as well, he has been developing projects since the 90s, focusing on co-productions with countries like the UK, Canada, France and Germany. He is also teaching at the Film School and within the Arts Academy in Bucharest. His films have participated in numerous festivals internationally.
Solomon’s work does not subscribe to a single, given genre, style or narrative methodology. Through either observation or detailed journalistic research, Solomon looks to the past in an exploration of history, politics and society that allows him to succinctly comment on the present.

Kapitalism: Our Improved Formula (2010) is one of his most characteristic documentaries. Driven by the idea that Ceausescu has returned to check contemporary society, Solomon interviews Romania’s millionaires, creating the portrait of a country in limbo between communism and capitalism, that has surrendered to a never-ending cycle of corruption and impunity.

“Every city has the traffic it deserves”, says Solomon and sits with Apocalypse on Wheels (2008) next to five different people who are driving daily through the streets of Bucharest – chaos and lack of human respect emerge as the protagonists of an irrational system that places Romania among the countries with the highest traffic-related death rate in Europe.
Cold Waves (2007) goes behind the scenes of the legendary Radio Free Europe station, which initially started out as a CIA propaganda tool back in the 50s, but later became a comforting companion to Romanians during Ceausescu’s rule – the latter famously recruited Carlos to “take care of” the situation. The past is also recalled in Clara B. (2006), where the mysterious (fictional) protagonist’s life is reconstructed by a museum archivist in a meditation on archives, memory and twentieth century history.
Another incredible true story is the one told in Solomon’s documentary debut The Great Communist Bank Robbery (2004). Interviews and archival material expose a hard and tragicomic side of communism: in 1959, a group of prominent members of the Romanian Communist Party organize a bank robbery, get arrested and later agree to play themselves in a film that reconstructs the crime. The film was released after their execution.

Another retro-tribute is given to Hubert Sauper.

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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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