Docu Talents in Karlovy Vary

It’s such a fine idea and it works: Docu Talents from the East, the 13th edition, to take place during the festival in Karlovy Vary, July 4 14.00-16.00, organised by the always innovative people from the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival that I have had the pleasure of visiting a couple of times.

The concept is well-known: Director/producer behind 12 selected projects get 8 minutes to present their projects, all of them to have premiere late 2017 or in the first half of 2018. In other words a great opportunity for festival representatives, sales agents, broadcasters etc. to check out what is coming up from Eastern and Central Europe.

There are films from Kazakhstan, several from Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Slovakia, Serbia, Ukraine/Luxembourg/Estonia, Lithuania.

I know of some of them so these are the ones I will mention, read about all of them on the site, link below.

”D is for Division”, in post-production, is directed by Davis Simanis

from Latvia, praised on this site many times. Documentary and feature film director. I am very curious to see where this film ”had landed” – I know it from pitchings in Riga and Prague where it has created a lot of discussion. A quote from the description: ” A Latvian woman named Hermine Purina is shown in an archival photograph: she became the first victim of the Soviet invasion of Latvia in 1940 whilst trying to save her son, Voldemärs, with her body. It becomes an inspiration for contemplating film’s boundaries – both geographical and metaphorical. Russians and Latvians sense the import of historical realities in a completely different way. One side associates it with liberation; for the other side, it means the loss of freedom.” Production is in good hands: Latvian Guntis Trekteris and Czech Radim Procházka.

History is indeed also the theme of “Occupation 1968”, which has well-known director Peter Kerekes as producer. Description: “Occupation as occupants see it. Five countries from the Warsaw Pact occupied Czechoslovakia in 1968. Fifty years later, five directors from those countries will shoot short films about the invasion from the point of view of people who took part in it.

To get the most diverse views on this complicated topic, we chose one director from each of the former Warsaw Pact countries that participated in the occupation of Czechoslovakia – Russia, Poland, Germany, Hungary and Bulgaria. The result will be five 26-minute documentaries – five different view from inside the five countries. Mosaic subjective portraits will form a documentary series of five 26 minutes episodes for television, and a 130-minute documentary feature for distribution.” So interested to see what the directors Evdokia Moskvina, Magdalena Szymkov, Stefan Komandarev, Linda Dombrovszky, Marie Elisa Scheidt will come up with!

One more, directed by the eternal talent, Latvian Laila Pakalnina, pitched in Riga at the Baltic Sea Forum in 2016, “Spoon” is the title, super cinematographer Gints Berzins is behind the camera and Lithuanian Dagnė Vildziūnaitė is co-producer. Description: “Men can drill very deep, down to where the oil is. Large groups of qualified men equipped with machines can extract oil and transport it far away, to a place where other qualified men can transform it into plastic. The plastic is then taken to a factory, where still more men can turn it into spoons, which will be transported even further to all sorts of eateries and, likely, will be available free of charge. This meaningful life will last for one unceremonious meal. The film examines what society invests into the creation of a plastic spoon that effortlessly can be thrown out.” Yes, it will be different, surprising and that’s the kind of films we want, right?!

Photo from a previous Docu Talent session in Karlovy Vary.

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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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