Andrei Kutsila: Summa

I was very happy to know that the new film by Belorussian director Andreu Kutsila received – in the midlength category – the main award at IDFA for “Summa”, a Belorussian/Polish coproduction with Miroslaw Dembinski as the Polish partner.

In 2015 Kutsila won the main national award with “Guests” at the Listapad festival in Minsk (

3 years before he was the Belorussian director, who took part in “15 Young by Young”, the documentary short film series initiated and produced by Latvian producer Ilona Bicevska. Some words from the brief review of “Guests” I wrote 3 years ago: “He has found the right, slow rhythm, he lets the scenes develop, he gets close but does never lose a respectful distance…”. Which are words that fit perfectly on “Summa”.

Andrzej Strumillo is an elderly Polish painter, around 90 years old,  Maryia is a young artist from Belarus. She leaves Belarus to come to visit lonely Strumillo, who is happy to have her around. He lives in a spacious house, he breeds horses, the house is close to a lake where he goes, they sit and talk at the table, eat, mostly it is the old man who talks, and she listens if she is not interrupted by calls from her boyfriend/husband, who seems to be jealous – she wants and decides to stay longer, you can understand that – the director who is also the cinematographer understands you see clearly – Kutsila caresses the characters, he has taken his time to compose images of the beauty of the quiet place, he creates a meditative atmosphere. Graceful it is. “It’s sad life is so short”, Strumillo says, at the same time as he remembers the life he had with his wife, who died in 2011, their travels, their being together.

His paintings are shown, they are dark, impressive, religious maybe, at least mysterious; and yet the film is not a portrait of an artist and his work, it is a meeting between youth and wisdom, beautifully interpreted by a director with a vision.

Poland/Belarus, 2018, 51 mins.

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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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