Anders Østergaard: Burma-VJ

… that has the subtitle, ”reporting from a closed country” is content-wise a totally shocking experience. There you are in the middle of a military brutality that is filmed by courageous video journalists, who know that a documentation like this can only be done by them, and not by the foreign news teams that get into the country. And the reason why it touches you so much, is the stylistical approach that Østergaard has chosen. In an unsentimental, almost cool tone, he builds a story with a main vj character who is a kind of executive producer for all the cameramen, who turn up whenever there are demonstrations, most of the time with hidden cameras, and constantly reporting back by mobile phone on what happens. A drama is created through a classical dramaturgical structure but there is space left for the audience to think about what is shown.

We know many of these shootings before from the tv news, but here they are put into a context of a well told story that will catch the attention of an audience all over the world. A cry for help!

The film won first prizes at cph:dox and idfa 2008.

Danish journalist Lars Movin has interviewed the director and his editor, veteran master Janus Billeskov Jansen in the English language magazine ”Film”. A very interesting inside to the story of the film.

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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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