… and the Winner is

no-one, when it comes to the exclusivity rules of film festivals! There is nothing new in the fact that major festivals insist on having premieres (world, international, European or whatever they want to call it) and therefore block for screenings in other festivals before their events take place, and it has been discussed again and again whether this makes sense or not. The festivals in Berlin, Cannes and Venice do so – but also documentary festivals like idfa in Amsterdam and Visions du Réel in Nyon (a major festival?) make this point to the filmmakers, producers, distributors and sales agents.

I am writing this in anger as I have just experienced that two films that we wanted for the Magnificent7 non-competitive festival in Belgrade late January will not go there as they are eventually to be screened in Berlin a couple of weeks later! Both filmmakers, a young talented Dane and a world famous experienced French, had accepted to go to this festival that put the director in focus, but had to reject the invitation because of an eventual Berlin screening.

… and the losers are the filmmakers and the audience. Would it matter the professional visitors to the Berlin festival, not to talk about die Berliner, the films being enjoyed by an audience in Belgrade? These exclusivity rules are ridiculous, do not make sense and are contradictory to the promotion of the creative documentary to a broader audience!

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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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