DocsBarcelona Pitching Forum

… edition number 14 it was on February 3 and 4. For those readers who are not familiar with the terminology – pitching in the film world is about filmmakers throwing film ideas and proposals to broadcasters, film funds, sales agents and distributors. There were 23 of the makers at the DocsBarcelona and 29 of the film proposal receivers at the table. All was professionally organised at this public pitch where a lot of people had signed up to observe. I had the pleasure – together with Mikael Opstrup from EDN (European Documentary Network) – to moderate the two day session.

The Forum is a very good moment to check the status of the market, when it comes to television and the so-called creative documentary. Although the panelists (15 out of the 29 mentioned) were extremely supportive, and encouraging in their constructive criticism, it was obvious that they were no longer able to take risks on an international level. They have to play safe and ask for more material to watch, in many cases at a rough cut stage and in others, the comment was ”this will be a possibility for acquisition” when it has been done. For that reason DocsBarcelona could be considered the promotional step for many talents to have their proposal given a first check by competent people. Like Jenny Westergaard from YLE, who told the audience that the Finnish broadcaster is undergoing a restructuring process with a new management where things will be changed at the most internationally orientated broadcaster in Europe. Like Ali Delici, first time at the DocsBarcelona, commissioning editor from Arte France, dealing with arts and culture, a man with a good sense for the young filmmakers, as has Reinhart Lohmann from ZDF/arte who is working with thematical evenings for the European cultural channel. On the Spanish side Andrés Luque from the public broadcaster TVE was there for the first time to give us all the impression of a classical broadcaster that goes for strong content, whereas veteran Jordi Ambros from the local TV3 has a slot for more artistic documentaries that he coproduces when there is a Catalan producer involved, and buys from all over the world. Roberto Blatt, however, runs Chello Multicanal that includes a lot of thematic channels, and also he is a committed and enthusiastic film lover, who often said that he would help the filmmakers to have their works financed.

The distributors around the table were Peter Jäger from Autlook in Austria and Gitte Hansen from First Hand Films in Switzerland. They both have strong titles in their catalogue and I am sure they will pick up projects from this DocsBarcelona when they are further developed. Market-wise, these two companies think of both broadcasters, festivals and cinema releases, the audience is to be found not only in television but also at other – to use a modern term – platforms.

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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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