Baltic Sea Forum 2012/ 1

It is the third day of the Baltic Sea Forum 2012. A workshop goes on during the day, where 24 projects are being evaluated, trailers and teasers are being adjusted, wordings discussed – in order to have the filmmakers be focused on the pitching of their projects. Saturday and sunday a panel of 12 broadcasters and distributors will comment on what they hear and see. It is the 16th edition of the Forum, the format is well known and for many of the filmmakers this is the first step into a documentary market that is full of declining budgets and slots when it comes to television.

These were the words used by Charlie Phillips from Sheffield DocFest, who made a brilliant lecture this friday afternoon in the Cinema K. Suns. Phillips gave ”a overview of the documentary life on new platforms, recent developments and some succesful case studies”. The most interesting for me, who for Phillips is part of ”the old world”, 35+ (!), that is full of ”frustrated distributors and audiences” and only offer ”linear stories”, was his listing of online distribution platforms and examples of interactive projects, that – no surprise – included a couple of high class from National Film Board of Canada (NFB): ”Bears” and ”Welcome to Pinepoint”. ”Who pays” was the headline of one of the last pages Phillips put on screen – maybe it should have been ”who should pay?” because this is where the problem lies: The new fascinating and in perspective very important new ways for the documentary, both in terms of distribution and storytelling, do not yet have business models that can help the producers. Apart from some examples within arte, the NFB and funds like the Tribeca New Media Fund.

The day today also gave time to pay a visit to the cemetery where Juris Podnieks (photo) is buried. The perestroika director (”Is it Easy to be Young?”, ”Homeland”, ”Hello do You Hear Us?”…) died 20 years ago, June 23 1992. A couple of months before he attended the Baltic Film & TV Festival on the island of Bornholm, he gave an excellent masterclass and expressed the ambition to make personal films, ”no more political films”, he said. Audrius Stonys, Lithuanian director and I were at the masterclass on Bornholm and at Podnieks grave today brought there by Antra Cilinska, Podnieks colleague, producer, director and editor, who is today running Juris Podnieks Studio.

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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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