The programme of the Finnish documentary film festival reflects again that the festival selectors know what they are doing – and they should in a country that has such a high standard in documentary culture.

From January 22-27 more than a hundred films will be shown. Personally I am not sure I like the thematic curating approach that is used to section the films to be screened on the website, I find it confusing, but behind headlines like ”Der Prozess”, ”Hard Day’s Night”, ”Higher Ground”, ”Home Sweet Home”, ”Kaleidoscope”, you find many exciting works like Eugene Jarecki’s ”The House I Live In”,  Jerome le Maire’s ”Tea or Electricity”, ”Private Universe” by Helena Trestikova, ”The Gatekeepers” by Dror Moreh and ”The Reluctant Revolutionary” by Sean McAllister – to mention those seen by this blogger.

There is a retrospective of films by Mario Ruspoli, ”surrealist as a documentarist”. Have to confess that I know his name but do not remember having seen any of his films. I quote from the site of Cinema du Réel 2012, where a retrospective was held: “Mario Ruspoli (1925-1986), one of the pioneers of the modern documentary, explored and experimented with image and sound techniques, yet his work remains unfamiliar to many despite its richness, its eclecticism and its historical importance. This year (2012), Cinéma du réel is proposing some of his classics and little gems.” And now DocPoint does the same. Bravo!

There is – of course – a series of New Finnish documentaries, 13, with good names like Susanna Helke, “American Vagabond”, the original and touching “Finnish Blood Swedish Heart” by Mika Ronkainen and “Hilton” by Virpi Suutari. There is “North by Northwest” with films from Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Norway and Denmark. I mention the films that have been reviewed on this blog: “Winter go Away”, “The Will” (“Testamentet”) and “Documentarian” – at the same time as I would like to raise attention for Lithuanian Giedre Beinoriute’s “Conversation on Serious Topics” (photo) that will be reviewed here as soon as I get the final version of a film, I was priviliged to watch when in rough cut state.

And there are more sections ending up with the “Winners and Bestsellers”, 12 films and I am happy for the Finnish audience that they are to watch “I am Breathing” by Emma Davie and Morag McKinnon and many more films that have been at DOKLeipzig and idfa.

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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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