Alina Rudnitskaya

At the DoxPro workshop in November 09 in St. Petersburg I met many talented Russian documentary directors, who deserve more attention from Western European broadcasters and festivals. I took several dvd’s back home to watch and comment, and I still have a pile on my desk. I can not write about them all on this site but I would like to share my enthusiasm with you for the films of Alina Rudnitskaya, whose ”Civil Status” was reviewed last year in September in connection with the Baltic Sea Forum in Riga.

Today I saw three other short films directed by the director from St. Petersburg, all three proving her extraordinary sense for situations and for the so called magic moments that no director can mise-en-scène. You can see that Rudnitskaya has the confidence of her characters, who are offering her film emotionally vulnerable moments and she is able to deal with sadness in a way that you don’t feel embarrassed being that close. Humour is very much present in all three short documentaries.

In ”Communal Residence” about the kommunalka (shared appartment) a poor real estate agent meets people, who do not want to move out. In ”Besame Mucho” (Photo) women in a choir dream themselves away from their tough life in a poor, flooded village. By singing and having warmth and solidarity towards each other. Finally it is tragicomical to be with the young women at the ”Bitch Academy” where they learn how to find a man! The camera reports what happens in the room between the male teacher and the women, and between the women themselves. But suddenly the reporting stops and to the film is added layers of existentiial insecurity and despair. The three short films  also demonstrate the emotional density in film language you can achieve with several characters in ONE place without playing according to the mantras of ”development of (few) strong characters” and ”strong story” that glues to the one-hour tv format.

Communal Residence, 2002, 13 mins – Besame Mucho, 2006, 26 mins. – Bitch Academy, 2008, 29 mins.⟨=3

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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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