Baltic Sea Docs 2015/ 1

It has been a standard question – followed by a lovely standard answer – from me to Elina Cire here in Riga: Do people come to watch the documentary films in the cinema (K Suns)? They do, there are full houses, says she, who is responsible for the fine selection. A photo from the opening night documents that she tells the truth, and proud was the Danish producer Sigrid Dyekjær that ”The News Room: Off the Record” by Mikala Krogh was chosen to bring a debate on media responsibility to the Latvian audience with the main protagonist, chief editor of Ekstra Bladet Poul Madsen as one of the panelists.

Nine films are in the programme, remains to be screened are two films tonight and five on sunday, so if you are in Riga… link below will give you the titles and times.

Today was the first day of pitching at the Baltic Sea Docs with a good panel of so-called decision makers. Some of them have visited the event several times like Danish Gitte Hansen from First Hand Films in Zürich, Jenny Westergaard from YLE in Finland, Russian Grigory Libergal and Marje Jurtshenko from Estonian television. And some were new like Flemming Hedegaard from DR K in Denmark, Kate Townsend from BBC’s Storyville, Antoinette Koering from Arte and Xavier Henry Rashid from Film Republic, a sales agency that specialises in arthouse films, a recent one being the Polish ”Call Me Marianna”.

13 out of the 23 film projects were pitched today to be followed by individual meetings on the 11th floor of the Albert Hotel that has housed the training workshop that has led up to the two pitching days. I can’t mention all projects, let me pick three that for me will turn out to be good films: ”The Pioneers Palace” by Georgian Ana Tsimintia, who made the wonderful ”Biblioteka” and with her trailer for the new film demonstrated that she has an eye for people and situations. The artistic quality of Ukranian ”Delta” is also evident from what Yulia Serdyukova, the producer, showed. A warm voyage to people who live by the Danube, nothing about Maidan and war, said Serdyukova, who also stood behind the strong ”All Things Ablaze”. The final film to be pitched today was ”Release Oleg Sentsov” by Askold Kurov, who has made ”Children 404”, ”Leninland” and was one of the directors behind ”Winter, Go Away!”. Kurov is one of the students of Marina Razbezkina’s film school in Moscow and a good friend of Sentsov, who two weeks ago was sentenced to 20 years in prison. An important film to be made from a personal point of view of a courageous director.

Photo: Agnese Zeltina.

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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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