BSF in Riga now and Next Week

… BSF meaning Baltic Sea Forum that with this edition holds edition 21… organised by the National Film Centre of Latvia, helped by EDN, European Documentary Network and with ”the largest financial support from the EU funded Creative Europe Media Program”. BSF includes a project development workshop with pitching at the end (18 panelists) of the 24 projects that have been selected, all of them thematically connected to the region, and many of them touching indirectly on the present political situation with the tensions between Russia and her neighbours.

I will – I have been there all years – be present to tutor the filmmakers, which is a privilege and an experience full of joy. I learn so much from these sessions as I am sure will do the colleagues Mikael Opstrup from EDN, filmmakers Daniel Abma and Ester Gould from Holland, Noe Mendelle from Scottish Documentary Institute, consultant in all documentary matters Peter Jaeger and film editor Phil Jandaly, who is there to help the filmmakers to shape their trailers.

The workshop runs from the coming wednesday September 6 till sunday September 10, but already a documentary film program runs in cinemas in the Latvian capital – and it is good:

”On the Edge of Freedom” by Anita Mathal Hopland and Jens Lengerke – that was pitched last year’s BSF and reviewed here –

my review starts like this: ” I heard myself saying “don’t do it, stop” several times, alone in front of the screen, when the young Russians and Ukrainians were climbing unfinished buildings and cranes. To take photos of themselves. Or videos. Scary like hell. And I am after having seen the film not sure that I understand why they challenge themselves in that way. Says someone from another generation…

And wonderful Irish documentary ”In loco Parentis”, which now has the title ”School Life” by Ní Chianáin and David Rane, reviewed here –

A quote from the review: For John, rock music is another subject to Math, English, Latin and religious education. He cherishes a special kind of youthful revolution by teaching responsibility and independence in equal respect, wrapped in heavy metal or pop, encouraging the children to play whatever they want in the school basement rock club. For Amanda, the key liaison with children is a book and she uses all ways to catch young minds. The children sit as transfixed when she leads them on magical journeys with fantastic heroes of different stories… I am sure the way these two teachers teach will provoke a fine discussion after the screening on wednesday.

As will Daniel Abma’s ”Transit Havana” on friday, where there will be a meeting with him and chair of association of LGBT and their friends “Mozaīka” Kristīne Garina”. The film is reviewed on this site – – I wrote ”a well told character driven, emotional and informational, visually excellent documentary from a country, where the president’s daughter Mariella Castro is ”heading a new state program for transgender care”.

And there are Fredrik Gertten’s discussion piece ”Bikes vs. Cars” that gone to all big cities, Mia Halme’s ”Every Other Couple”, Albert Maysles last film ”Iris”, ”Radio Kobani” by Reber Dosky – not to forget the artistically best, the amazing (love) story ”Bobbi Jene” (Photo) by Elvira Lind, produced by Danish Sonntag Pictures and selected for competition at the Nordisk Panorama and many many festivals all over. The fantastic expressive dancer Bobbi Jene filmed over several years, there is energy in every scene, intimacy, honesty, it is painful to watch, tense, how could she get so close to the core of life! Wow. Go and watch it.

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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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