DocsBarcelona: Women Talk Documentaries

”New Directions and Perspectives in Documentary Films” was the title of the 90 minutes long panel discussion at the CCCB friday afternoon, moderated in a professional and warm manner by Debra Zimmerman from Women Make Movies in New York, the organisation that has 600 films in its catalogue. After one hour Zimmerman said, ”Sooo, I am sure you have noticed that I have not yet asked you what it means to be a woman filmmaker…”.

Instead we got a very interesting one-by-one presentation of the young filmmakers, who showed a clip from their films and told the audience how they came to make documentaries. A classic comment came from Roser Corella, Catalan director living in Berlin, ”I used to work in television but I wanted to try on my own, develop the creative part”. Her film is ”Grap and Run” about bride kidnapping in Kirgizstan”, a film that has had a big audience at the festival.

As has indeed ”Amazona” by Clare Weiskopf, filmmaker and journalist. The opening film of the festival, a film about

motherhood, she said, where I had ”to find my own voice”. At the beginning she did not want to be in the film, but ”I was drawn into it”. What did your mother say when she saw the film, Zimmerman asked. ”She saw a rough cut and said that I could be harder with her”.

Lucija Stojevic, of Croatian origin, is the director of ”La Chana”, that closes the festival tonight sunday. The main character had not been dancing for 30 years when she came back to the stage. It is a film about lost love and reinvention, the audience favourite at IDFA 2016 (my comment), ”it took me five years to make it”, when I showed a rough cut to ”la chana”, she hated it, later she loved it, when I told her what other people thought!

Bobbi jo Hart, American living in Canada, got the biggest applause for her trailer for the film ”Rebels on Pointe”, that is about ”les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo” that (from the catalogue) ”has become a symbol of transvestism making parodies of great ballet classics”. Bobbi Jo Hart has made several films on groups especially within the sport world. ”I grew up as a sport girl”.

Karin Steinberger, co-director of ”The Promise”, is the German journalist who has been following the case of Jens Soerling, the German who has been in an American prison for 31 years. Steinberger told the audience how she met met him 10-11 years ago, how she was in contact with him in March, how the intelligent Jens hopes to get out when still new evidence comes out…

To be a woman filmmaker… Karen Steinberger as a co-director with a man, ”I had to fight to get to the microphone at interviews”. Jo Hart: ”All my films are about women. I love what I am doing and am proud of it”. Lucija Stojevic: ”It was hard to pitch a film about an old woman”. Clare Weiskopf: ”I was told when we came to marketing: you never put a photo of an old woman on the poster!”. Roser Corella: ”I have seen how sceptical woman are when they see that I do the camera”. Karen Steinberger: ”It’s very sad that we still have to talk about it”.

Any advice for upcoming filmmakers, Debra Zimmerman asked? ”Take the risk” ”do it!”, ”stick to your intuition”, ”respect yourself”, ”you have to have a thick skin, it’s easy to be lost in the jungle”, ”time is the keyword”, ”documentary is a life style”.

Photo from the lively and funny lunch before the panel discussion, from left: Debra Zimmerman, Roser Corella, Karin Steinberger, Bobbi Jo Hart, Lucija Stojevic, Clare Weiskopf and our host Carmina. 

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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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