DocsBarcelona: When Directors Intervene

Look at the photo. Gaudi. La Pedrera, built between 1906 and 1910, 92 Paseo de Gracia. A must-see for visitors to Barcelona. But also the yearly venue for master classes at DocsBarcelona like yesterday, where (from left to right with badge in hand) after the session Brian Hill (City of Dreams – a Musical), Sean McAllister (A Syrian Love Story), me as moderator, Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami (Sonita), with Greek director Apostolos Karakasis as participant, were talking about intervention in documentaries with their films as examples:

Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami changed the life of Sonita by helping her to make the music video that became a hit on the internet, went with her from Iran to Afghanistan to settle visa and passport so she could go to the US, where she is now. McAllister was arrested in Syria, his material was confiscated, the couple in the film, Amer and Raghda, had to flee the country for that reason, with their children as they were on the director’s tape. McAllister followed the couple when they ended up in exile in France and participated actively in the problems they had in their marriage. Brian Hill went to the Bombay school and made the kids and their teachers sing their social stories in the genre that he has created, the musical documentary.

From Gaudi’s architectural pearl after a good 90 minutes session to Aribau Club cinema where 120 people watched ”A Syrian Love Story” with a very, very pleasant surprise: Amer and Raghda, the son of Amer, and the 9 year old Bob, the child of Amer and Raghda came on stage to receive a more than a warm applause and to answer questions from the audience.

They will be there again tonight at the screening at Aribau Club 1 at 18.15.

Photo by Maria Cilleros

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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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