American Documentary Film Festival 2015/1

After 10 hours and 40 minutes of flight Copenhagen to Los Angeles and a good night’s hotel sleep off to Palm Springs for the fourth edition of the American Documentary Film Festival that opens tomorrow March 26 and goes on until March 30. Transportation manager Tim Alexander picked us up at the hotel, was great to see him again after many joyful moments at last year’s edition. On the freeway that Danish director Jacob Thuesen made a documentary about (Freeway, 2005), by the way. Now resting at Villa Royale Inn in Palm Springs, an oasis of green, swimming pools, gourmet restaurant and cosy rooms.

Business tomorrow – the festival that is founded by and programmed by enthusiastic and energetic filmmaker Teddy Groya has also what we in Europe call an industry event: The American Documentary Film Fund that gives financing for new film projects. 12 projects are to be pitched tomorrow with a visual as well as a verbal presentation. The winners (I think it was three last year) are announced at the end of the festival that also has awards for participating films. I was invited to take part in the selection in both categories. I got to watch American documentaries that never reach European film festivals – and European documentaries that in many cases shamefully have been overseen by European festivals.

… and Opening Gala Night features Peter Bogdanovich, who I remember for especially two films – a documentary he made on John Ford (Bogdanovich is also known as a film historian and critic) and wonderful ”Paper Moon”. Here is a promotion quote from the website of the festival:

“One Day Since Yesterday: Peter Bogdanovich & The Lost American Film” (directed by Bill Teck) is the story of maverick film director Peter Bogdanovich’s love for both the late Dorothy Stratten and his “lost” film “They All Laughed.”  Murdered by her estranged husband as Bogdanovich was editing “They All Laughed,” “One Day Since Yesterday” summons up the romance, heartbreak and devotion present as Bogdanovich bought his film back from the studio when they studio threatened to shelve it, and his efforts to distribute it himself, almost to his own ruin. A real life love story of passion and belief in the power of art. “One Day Since Yesterday” is an homage to the lost era of the 70s American Auteur, staking a claim for “They All Laughed” as the last great film of that time.

Through the story of Peter’s journey with “They All Laughed,” “One Day Since Yesterday” explores all of Bogdanovich’s career (The Last Picture Show, Saint Jack, What’s Up Doc, Paper Moon), and his challenges to see his personal vision vindicated in an era unsympathetic to the bold and unique visions he risked it all on. It’s the story of a lost film, which played The Venice Film Festival in 1981, unavailable in any medium for years and it’s triumphant re-appreciation, championed by filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach, and of the sweet, makeshift family that’s sprung up around They All Laughed’s tragedies — bonds still strong even 30 years later. “One Day Since Yesterday” is a wistful valentine to art, love, loss, redemption and the power of cinema…

Bogdanovich will be there to receive an award for his contribution to American cinema.


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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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