Claas Danielsen – New Job

His name has been on since our site started as I have been covering the DokLeipzig festival, where Claas Danielsen was the festival director from 2004 till 2014. Before that I worked with him when Documentary Campus was Discovery Campus – well our friendship goes long back to the 1990’es, where Claas as filmmaker came to the Balticum Film & TV Festival on the island of Bornholm shortly after he had graduated from film school.

His love for documentaries is big and his talent for developing initiatives like the mentioned (as well as the Dok.Incubator) is obvious. Now he got an offer he could not refuse – to become the CEO (in German Geschäftsführer) of Mitteldeutschen Medienförderung MDM following in the footsteps of respected Manfred Schmidt, who set it all up in 1998. The MDM operates in Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt und Thüringen. Claas starts in his new job by December 1st.

The budget of MDM is (according to a FB post by DOK.Incubator)

€12,8 mio. I know that the MDM is to support all kind of film genres including documentaries, and that Claas (who now can stay in Leipzig with his family) probably will have a lot of administrative duties… nevertheless, want to remind him of fine words from his opening speech of DOKLeipzig in 2009:   

…  what is special about documentary film. Documentary films are constantly surprising. I discover the unknown or re-discover seemingly familiar things through the filmmaker’s eyes. Documentary films often tackle uncomfortable, suppressed issues and go straight for the core.

The filmmaker’s attitude allows me to change my perspective, get a fresh look at the world. A really good film is marked by an attitude that I recognise in the choice of protagonists, in the images, words, sounds, rhythm, even in the elisions. This subjective and authentic attitude reveals the filmmaker, just as the protagonists are revealed in front of the camera. Of course it makes them vulnerable, too – precisely because they reveal themselves.

A good film opens up a space – a space for reflection, for association, for understanding, for finding meaning. It does not explain everything, has the courage to leave gaps, has no qualms about being irritating and thus ultimately brings me the gift of intellectual freedom.

A good film also opens up a space for emotions, enabling me to gain an emotional understanding of the world. And it leaves interpretation to me – I am taken seriously as a unique spiritual and emotional being…

Congratulations to Claas Danielsen.

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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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