DocsBarcelona: Audience & Form

On the way back to Vilnius after two succesful screenings of “Wonderful Losers” at DocsBarcelona, Lithuanian Arunas and Alge Matelis met Joan Gonzalez, director of the festival who was happy to tell them that 210 students in Granollers, a city at 30 km from Barcelona, one of the 9 cities where people can see some of the docs of DocsBarcelona, had seen their film.

Likewise I was happy yesterday to attend the screening of Hendrick Dusollier’s “Last Days in Shibati” (Photo) with a full house at the CCCB Auditorium. As a selector for the Panorama and What the Doc! of the festival, I do not review films in these sections but great to experience that the reception from the audience was overwhelmingly positive. The film’s theme – the demolition of an old Chinese quarter to make space for a new China – is interesting as is the form and method the director has chosen; he comes back to the quarter, makes friends with a trio of people, and he comes the first time with almost no knowledge of the language, the second (6 months later) and third time (6 months later) it is better with the language and he is accompanied by local people, who speak the language. He just goes there to visit… and he knows what he is looking for. Authenticity in the situational sequences.

The same, achieving an authenticity, goes for “Hasta mañana, si Dios Quiere”, which will be shown later in the festival. The film – quote from the catalogue – is “A joyful story about how seventeen women live in a convent of Franciscan octogenarian sisters…” but where the film from China lives from improvisations, Ainara Vera, the director, has very carefully chosen a style, made an aesthetic choice, that makes the film beautiful to watch.

The Documentary genre has many faces! Hurrah for that!

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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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