DocsBarcelona The Baltic Way

He said many clever things, Audrius Stonys, at DocsBarcelona, where his film ”Bridges of Time”, directed with Latvian Kristine Briede, at two screenings had a good audience as had the masterclass with the Lithuanian director.

Festival director Joan Gonzalez, whose knowledge about Stonys until then was very little, asked Viktor Kossakovsky if the Lithuanian is good, ”oh yes”, the Russian director had said – and Kossakovsky is not known to give away many compliments. Gonzalez picked up what Stonys, a brilliant talker and inspirator, had said after the first screening of ”Bridges of Time”. ”I saw my film again today and when I saw the woman, who had watched the film she took part in as a child, hearing her say that she was so happy to see her mother again, alive in the film… I thought this is why we make documentaries, to keep people alive. In other words: Life After Death.

Gonzalez quoted Stonys at the closing ceremony, much appreciated, as it was

for me to see the audience interest in not only the mentioned Baltic meetings but also with directors from the Eastern part of Europe – Kossakovsky, Stonys, the film of Mindaugas Survila, “The Ancient Woods”, the winner “Honeyland” from the Balkans – and several filmmakers at the industry section, from Belarus, Lithuania (last year’s participant Arunas Matelis (“Wonderful Losers”) was pitching a project with Aiste Stonyte, the sister of Audrius), the Czech project “Tap Tap” by Radovan Sibrt, that won an award at the Rough Cut session…

Being with Stonys and Matelis brings me down memory lane, remembering – see the photo above of me and Uldis Brauns – who I had the luck (thank you Kristine Briede and Uldis Cekulis, who took the photo!) to meet in 2014, when “Bridges of Time” was at the research and development stage.

I went with Briede and Cekulis to visit the most gentle and fine man – and his wife – in the countryside. I had never met him before, only knowing what Herz Frank had said to me on several occasions: Uldis Brauns is the best director of our time. Frank was Braun’s collaborator on the film “235.000.000”, the masterpiece from 1967, that was censored by the Soviet authorities – an original version has recently been found, when restored it will hopefully have comeback screenings at festivals all over.

Brauns, who passed away in January 2017, has a key role in “Bridges of Time”. He was never at the Balticum Film & TV Festival on Bornholm, where I met Matelis and Stonys for the first time – and Herz Frank, Mark Soosaar, Ivars Seleckis and Henrikas Sablevicius, the Lithuanian documentary godfather, the teacher of Stonys and Matelis. Watching “Bridges of Time” is for me a walk down memory lane, remembering moments from the 10 years on Bornholm, where I also met Juris Podnieks, Roy Andersson, Jan Troell, Sergey Dvortsevoy, Viktor Kossakovsky and where our own director Jørgen Roos, who taught me so much came to visit.

After the masterclass at DocsBarcelona, we – over a good meal – shared memories from Bornholm remembering all those, who are no longer with us but who are alive on film. Life after Death…

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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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