CinéDOC Tbilisi Third Day

3 Rooms on Melancholia” by Pirjo Honkasalo: The film is from 2004. I had not seen it for many years and it was a different experience today. The film was the same but I had changed. There are children in my life today, grandchildren, small children like the ones in the film. Who suffer because of the war in Chechnya. Who have no parents and/or come from socially hard backgrounds, alcohol, sexual abuse, illnesses. Looking at the kids and their faces and their tears. Heartbreaking.

When was the last time you saw the film, I asked Pirjo Honkasalo at the masterclass that followed just after the screening for a full hall in the Amirani Cinema. I have not seen it since it was premiered, she said. I make the film and give it to the audience to make their film in their heads.

The two hour masterclass with the legendary director, who was the special guest of the festival, could have lasted much longer. Honkasalo gave the audience the story of the film from a to z talking about how to gain trust with the characters, how her ratio (this time 6:1) was much more than usual (!), how she and her producer Kristina Pervilä got the permission to film at the military academy in Kronstadt, how she does not like to pitch, how she does not make scripts, the writing she does is to get the money, ”but of course it helps to write, makes things clearer for yourself as well”, how she had decided on the form before filming, the triptych that the film works from – with the headlines ”longing”, ”breathing” and ”remembering”. And how she insists on having the final cut. No compromises!

Today ”Tanjuska” is being screened. We did not have time to talk about that film or ”Mysterion” or ”Atman” – but Pirjo Honkasalo touched upon the ethical questions connected to Tanjuska and to the Atman-film.

A pleasure to be with a great film director. The audience was inspired, I am sure.

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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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