Arunas Matelis – Class with a Master

Confession: I insisted to be the one to talk to Lithuanian Arunas Matelis in the class that the organisers of Docudays in Kiev had set up to celebrate the director and his work for the last 25 years with his short documentaries, his ”Before the Flight Back to the Earth” and the new one, ”Wonderful Losers”. As you can see from the photo he was also in the jury – one of them – of the festival, watching 6 Ukrainian feature documentaries and a short film program.

Insisting… as I have known Matelis since the beginning of the 1990’es where he with Audrius Stonys came to Bornholm to the Balticum Film & TV Festival as young talents impressing us all with their word-less visual poems, a word Matelis used at the class, where around 25 people attended – many more will have the chance to see what we talked about, when Docudays put the recorded talk online.

I put two short films into the program: ”Flight Over Lithuania” that he made with Stonys for an Expo Exhibition in 2000 and ”Ten minutes Before the Flight of Icarus” from 1990, a film that was shot just before the country, the beautiful country described in ”Flight Over…”, became independent.

Arunas Matelis is a man of reflection, a man who – now he does more than when I met him 25 years ago – does not like to talk about his films because words take away from the images, the visuals that he put so much emphasis on. I am in Paris now coming from Kiev this morning and I see with great pleasure that some of his films – as well some made by Audrius Stonys – are shown in the festival I attend, Festival des Films Autour de l’Europe. It is therefore more than appropiate to say that Arunas Matelis is un grand auteur. 

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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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