Baltic Sea Docs – Film Programme

Baltic Sea Docs (BSD) takes place from the end of August and one week into September. The industry programme involves a tutor-based workshop where the 24 selected projects are being discussed and the trailers shown and equally commented on. At the end there will be a pitching forum with invited experts from the international documentary community to give feedback. BUT parallel to this there is a film programme for the audience in and outside Riga the home of BSD.This is the content of this post:


I got an email from project manager Zane Balcus yesterday, where she wrote about the film program. Here is a quote: The opening film will be Acasa, My Home, which will play simultaneously in cinema (our only cinema screening this year at K.Suns) and online. It will be followed by recorded interview with the director Radu Ciorniciuc. We have also scheduled an interview with the director of Overseas, Sung-A Yoon (and her film will be screened at an outdoor screening, in addition to the online ones). And another activity around the film programme will be a discussion after the film Self Portrait  – moderated by a psychotherapist and focusing on eating disorders…

I went back to Zane Balcus and asked her for further comments: Zane is a film historian and critic, and she came up with these comments to the selection of 8 films to be screened during the 2020 edition of Baltic Sea Docs: 

“To make a selection of a small number of films is very challenging. If there were no deadline for completing the programme, it could last for very long time – there is always one more title to be checked out and tested against others to find the perfect match. We’ve tried to compose the programme with films that would appeal to different audiences, varied tastes for documentary. Among the films will be “Acasa, My Home”, which has turned out to be one of the festivals’ favourites this year (an interview with the director Radu Ciorniciuc will be part of the screening), and it will be our opening film. We’ll screen Scheme Birds (Ellen Fiske & Ellinor Hallin), Love Child (Eva Mulvad), Overseas (Sung-A Yoon), Self Portrait (Margreth Olin, Katja Hogset, Espen Wallin) – films with powerful stories and lasting effect on the spectators. In beautiful black and white image, and engaging narrative style will be Babenco: Tell Me When I Die (Barbara Paz). With no specific characters, but a natural phenomenon at its centre – The Wind  A Documentary Thriller (PHOTO) (Michael Bielawski). It is difficult task to find a more light-hearted film, the one for the spot this year has been The Lessons of Love (Kasia Mateja and Malgorzata Goliszewska). The choice of going online has also influenced the selection, and there are already a couple of titles that we’d love to show in cinemas next year that were not available for online screenings.”

No objections to this selection, high quality, I am sure the – primarily – online audience will appreciate this slate of films, which are brought to their homes – again primarily. Even if the scale is small the selection gives a good positive status of the artistic level of the genre in these years. Most of the films have been reviewed or noted on this site.

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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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