Baltic Tour: Estonia

I went to Tallinn, Estonia to update my almost 20 year long love story with Baltic documentary. And to watch films for DOK Leipzig. I saw more than a dozen from last year’s Estonian documentary production at the premises of Estonian Film Foundation in the old city of the capital of Estonia.

The professional level is obvious. The Estonians have maybe more than the two other Baltic countries succeeded to establish a healthy infrastructure for – taken the size of the country into consideration – spending the public funding money for film in a sensible and often very tv-targeted way. The Film Foundation collaborates with ETV, the public broadcaster, which is quite active and has for a long time had a documentary connaisseur to support – with little money yes, as everywhere – and to take home internationally recognised films for the local adience. Her name is Marje Jurtsjenko, her documentary film consultant counterpart at the Film Foundation is Raimo Joerland.

I will mention one filmmaker name from each country I visited. The Estonian name is Jaak Kilmi, who directed the funny and original “The Art of Selling” and now as a producer stands behind two films that I think will travel the world: “Nazis and Blondes” and “The Last Russian Revolutionaries”. The first one has support from Eurimages and deals in a creative way with local film history – when Soviet films from the second world war were to be made, the actors for the nazi roles were all picked in the Baltic countries. Clips from the films, interviews, an arranged award ceremony for the films… You will get to see that film in one or another festival near you. Jaak Kilmi plays for the moment perfectly the double role as director and a European orientated producer.  Photo: Jaak Kilmi and Jan Kaus.

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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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