Baltic Sea Docs Pitching

Yesterday where the news broke that Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov is free and back in Kiev, the pitching of the 23rd Baltic Sea Docs ended. The photo (taken by Latvian producer Guntis Trekteris) shows three smiling Ukrainian filmmakers around the time, where the information went viral; at lunch time when they had finished their succesful project presentation. From left the director Olga Zhurba of ”Roma” and one of her producers Darya Bassel and to the right the producer of ”Roses. Film Cabaret”, Oleksandra Kravchenko. Both film projects were met with applause by the panel and I am sure with contacts to broadcasters and sales agents that can further the development of the films.

I knew both film projects from March this year, where the „Ukrainian Doc Preview“ took place at the DocuDays in Kiev,; Olga Zhurba did yesterday the most touching presentation of the two days of pitching talking

about her relation to the boy Roma from meeting him on Maidan in 2014 until today, where he is 18. ”There is no happy ending, but there is hope”, she said.

… and Kravchenko presented a clip from ”Roses”: dynamic, energetic, feminist approach, 7 women „from the freak cabaret Dakh Daughters Band“, poetry, music, provocative and enjoyable from start till end. It’s gonna be a hit!

Two Russian projects also stood out, „How to Save a Dead Friend” by Marusya Syroechkovskaya with Ksenia Gapchenko as producer, and Gayane Petrosyan’s ”The Transition”. The latter tells the story about the director’s daughter, who goes from being Evgenia to Evgeny, a nice young man with a beard who is now married, living in a country that is not really welcoming a gender transition. Petrosyan stressed that it is ”the story of my family”, I would add with many layers.

Hate to use that word but „How to Save a Dead Friend” is sensational – Marusya S. filming Kimi from 2005-2016, where he fades away due to overdosing on meds and hard drugs in a state of total self-destruction. It’s a love story, ”about a feeling when you know disaster is coming but there’s nothing you can do, just sit and wait for it, it’s about a total internal freeze in the face of a catastrophe ».

I have mentioned 4 out of 24 projects – they will go international for sure and as many of the projects from Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Latvia and Lithuania they are cinematic, and brought forward because they are important for those behind the camera. Because it was necessary to express something from the heart.

Read more about all the projects on

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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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