DocsBarcelona – Festival

In terms of number of films DocsBarcelona is a small festival. 30. Where other documentary festivals invite the audience to choose between 100 or even more films, we make it easier, as we have already made a strong selection among hundred of films to come to this point: “Here you have 30 films, make your choice, we are sure there is something for you”. “There is something for whatever taste you have, except for the bad…”

Yes, we use the buzz words of today: Diversity and Quality. The documentary has many rooms. Those days are gone, where the documentary was considered to be a boring visual lecture meant for the classroom, being the truth about a subject or a theme. Especially…

when films are touching on sensitive subjects, political or social. Like Vitaly Mansky does with Putin’s Witnesses, where he is using material from what became a promotion film for Putin, when he was elected president in Russia after Jeltsin. His view on the president has changed completely since then! Mansky no longer lives in Russia… The same goes for Italian Claudia Tosi, who with I Had a Dream gets involved in the political lives of two wonderful women, who as politicians try to change « Berlusconi-land ».

Women’s issues are indeed the focus of Chachada by Marlén Viñayo from El Salvador, a touching story – full of humour – about five women, single mothers, poor, who have quite some stories to get rid of in the theatre play, they are performing together.

Documentaries mirror the world, we live in, for good and for worse. I am happy that we got hold of Tiny Souls  by Palestinian director Dina Naser, a film that takes its audience to meet Syrian children in a refugee camp, shot over several years, a debut film as many of the films we show are. It would be right to say that we are hunting for talent.

Documentaries put focus on current issues in time. Climate change, of course. The opening film, Aquarela by Victor Kossakovsky, for me the best film in 2018, is far from being a debate program but through its formidable poetic cinematography and an amazing sound score, it makes an indirect comment to what we are doing to the planet.

On the same level – remember that films should be seen on a big screen – is Lithuanian Mindaugas Survila with The Ancient Woods, and Honeyland by Macedonian Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, who a couple of months ago took three awards at Sundance.

… and then there are 23 other films that conclude the program of a Documentary Feast.

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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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