Amdoc 2016: The Silences, Abdul & Hamza, Robin Wil

Margot Nash, experienced Australian filmmaker, whom I had never heard about, gave me the best documentary of friday in Palm Springs, ”Silences” (73 mins.) and demonstrated how beautifully English can be spoken with a text of high literary quality. Her family story about mental illnesses from generation to generation, about a sister who died as 12 year old after having been institutionalised away from the parents home, she was never talked about, a mother with no ability to express feelings, a father who travelled, was never at home and suffered from depression… was extremely well built on photos, letters, diaries, conversations between the director and her sister. A very private film that talked to me, who is from the same generation and have my own family stories. The film has been in cinemas in New Zealand and Australia, bravo that Amdoc brought it, and come on European festivals! The photo shows the three sisters, the director to the left.

”Be Robin the Movie” refers to late comedian Robin Williams, who also suffered from depression and therefore – the film says –  was a man, who could understand homeless people, many of whom also suffer from depression. The main character of this reportage-like film by Kurt Weitzmann (41 minutes) is Margaret Cho, a charismatic energetic young woman, who performs with musicians and comedians in the streets of San Francisco to collect food, clothes and money for the homeless.

Would be difficult to call that a film, whereas Marko Grba Singh from Serbia with his ”Abdul & Hamza” (49 minutes) shows great visual talent with many no-purpose, sometimes symbolic and surprising sequences. And silence. Two Somalian refugees at the Serbian/Romanian border in a film that is different from all the films we see about the biggest issue in Europe right now. The film was brought by the Kosovo documentary festival DokuFest as part of the NSDN (North South Documentary Network), initiated by Amdoc director Teddy Grouya.

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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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