CPH:Forum 2015/ Second Day

All right I thought after the first day – but where are the weird, ambitious, non-subject, non-linear, personal artistic projects that can only be pitched at CPH:DOX Forum. A couple came on the second day but raised for me the question whether they fit in to the pitching format that we have developed during the last 20 years? The most obvious example was ”Watermark” by iconic Lithuanian master Sharunas Bartas, a film that takes it origin from the essay of Joseph Brodsky, who for twenty years stayed in Venice during the month of December and wrote his famous essay. Bartas was not there and his producer Janja Kralj presented a trailer that was a screening of a (beautiful) text from the book plus some birds in the sky. The problem was that the panelists – apart from distributor Heino Deckert – did not know the two big artists – they could maybe have prepared a bit from home? – and that Bartas apparently did not see the purpose of making a trailer. He might be right, he does not work that way and he will start filming anyway and get the money later? And a film like that will end up at Cannes or Venice (obvious) and at CPH:DOX next edition.

The second one to be mentioned is ”Aeterna” by Swedish Jesper Kurlandsky

and Fredrik Wenzel, ”a non-verbal, audiovisual celebration of planetary diversity”, huge budget, a lot of money already confirmed, beautiful images but even if they explained that there would be chapters like ”work”, ”spare time”, that there would be a montage to ”embrace the opposite”, that they would have ”the overview experience”, I don’t think they were able to convey what they want in the standard 7 minutes.

Could the solution be: Fewer projects, more time for presentation and discussion, maybe have some panelists prepare their comments in beforehand having seen trailers…?

A big time problem came up for Canadian Peter Mettler and Scottish Emma Davie to tell us/show us what ”Becoming Animal” was to be. On paper (the Forum has made a brilliant catalogue) ”a cinematic exploration of how we perceive the natural world”, great visuals but a voice over the whole way through, difficult to grap and – Emma Davie told me afterwards – only two minutes of verbal presentation as the trailer was looong.

So, as it is now, you have to adapt to the formula, make a trailer that is both informative, gives a hint of the style of the filmmaker and plays with our emotions. Danish producer Sigrid Dyekjær knows how to do it and it helps when she has a strong director next to her: Pernille Rose Grønkjær, who again works with scientist Lone Frank, this time on ”Hunting for Hedonia” – one line from the catalogue: What if there was a place deep in the brain that can take you from pain to pleasure… on the historical background of the American Psychiatrist Robert Heath, who implanted electrodes deep within the brain of a human but – as it is written – was forgotten.


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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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