CPH:DOX 2014 /Davis Simanis

ESCAPING RIGA by Davis Simanis

One of those screenings where everything worked out as it should. Young Latvian director Davis Simanis (looking at you from above on this page) travels to Copenhagen, where he has never been before. He walks from the hotel through the city together with the one, who has posted this text, they have a glass of wine in one of the autumn dressed squares in the centre of the city. The director – and I – are a bit worried that there will be nobody at the screening of ”Escaping Riga”, a film in b/w, shot on super 8, about two local heroes, who both left the Latvian capital: the passionate and wild artist Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein and Isaiah Berlin, philosopher, historian and essayist. Not an obvious attraction for a festival audience, one should think…

But we were wrong. More than 100 were in the cinema to a screening that was introduced by Karsten Fledelius, Danish university professor, a man who seems to know all about the Balkan countries, who is a tour guide to Turkey and other countries, and who in an elegant way gave the audience basic knowledge about the two in the film. After that a fine projection quality, good reactions from the audience and a warm welcome to Davis Simanis at the Q&A that he managed so well with a competent festival moderator next to him.

At the end Fledelius asked a question to Simanis – you have a personal intro in the film, having worked on the film for such a long time, who are you closest to? Simanis answered that he had always aimed to be like Eisenstein, involved and controversial, but “I always end up as Berlin”, the reflecting observer. Bravo, thank you cph:dox for bringing the film, that has one more screening at the festival, see link below.


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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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