Controversial Catalan Documentary Raises Debate

This morning Joan Gonzalez, director of DocsBarcelona, sent me this message from his iPhone conveying hope for what documentaries can do in Catalonia:

“Last 24 hours has been very explosive in doc terms. Yesterday the documentary “Ciutat Morta” (corruption, police, Barcelona) (shown at DocsBarcelona 2014) was at the center of debate in the networks. Yesterday it was broadcast on channel 33 (the second channel of TV3, Catalan public television). Today the network is full of comments after a result in audience of 19% = 569.000 viewers to become program number1 in all channels in Catalonia. Very, very historical if you remember that Channel 33 has an average of 4% of audience.”

Here is what I wrote in May 2014: “Ciutat Morta” by Xavier Artigas and Xapo Ortega has changed my view on Barcelona as this nice and friendly city full of beauty and football… The film is a shocking cinematic documentation on police brutality and corruption, young people being tortured and put in jail for no reason – and a moving interpretation of the tragedy of a young poet. Here is the synopsis from the catalogue:

”June 2013, 800 people illegally occupy an old movie theater in Barcelona in order to screen a documentary. They rename the old building after a girl who committed suicide in 2011: Cinema Patricia Heras. Who was that girl? Why did she kill herself and what does the city have to do with it? That’s exactly what the squatting action is about: letting everyone know the truth about one of the worse corruption cases in Barcelona, the dead city.”

http://www.docsbarcelona.com/en/

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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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