DocuDays Award Ceremony

I have been to many award ceremonies at the Docudays ua festival in Kiev. I was there again last night. Online. Which was of course different from being in a cinema hall with hundred of other film enthusiasts. Who express their support with the winners through the atmosphere the always innovative organisers create in a tone that is far away from officialism.

No, I was sitting in a comfortable chair in a garden house in Copenhagen watching and listening. And it was nice and worked – when I had found out how to avoid having both the Ukrainian and English language in my ear!: two moderators in an isolated room leading the show, a phantasy character being the delivery guy to bring the awards to the post office, clips from the films, small “thank you”s from the award winners, artificial applauses, and the juries saying why they decided this and that film… Funny to see my countryman Mikael Opstrup, one of the jurors, motivating a choice from his home 20 minutes bike ride from where I was last night. Crazy world situation!…


And if I had been there, in Kiev, I would have invited him to go to have vareniki & vodka as I have had with – among others Lithuanians Arunas Matelis and Audrius Stonys and the dear friends from the festival, Dary’a Averchenko and Roman Bondarchuk. Or do as I did with Roman and one of his daughters, Agatha: go to the Georgian restaurant to have chacha and khinkali! Memories!

Back to the awards – the whole list you can get below via the link from the festival webpage, but to be noted: two awards to Hassan Fazili’s „Midnight Traveler” that is  available on online platforms, for professionals on IDFA’s Docs for Sale and in Denmark on Filmstriben. Did not see it yet. One award was given by Current Time TV, always helpful and committed Natasha Arshavskaya motivated the choice.

And as always the teenage jury not only made an excellent choice, but also an excellent motivation to award Russian “Immortal” by Ksenia Okhapkina ( – my review, the motivation, click the link below from the website.

The Ukrainian “War Note” – have not seen it – received two awards, including that of the audience, and could have had one more but as Oleg Sentsov said, words to that effect, we took it away from competition as “all films from Eastern Ukraine are important, we don’t want to evaluate them”.

AND – of course – there were awards to the masterly “The Earth is Blue as an Orange”. Two: One in the competition for Ukrainian new docs, and the main award in the international competition. Iryna Tsilyk, the director, was thanking and told us that she has not yet shown the film to the mother in the film – who has resisted to watch it on her smart phone. The mother… the hero of my review, here is the beginning, were I declare my love:

“It is an emotional journey that director and writer Iryna Tsilyk takes the viewer on. For 74 minutes. One full of beauty. Very much because of the mother in the film, Anna, the protagonist, whose face expresses, what it means to live in the war zone in Eastern Ukraine with four children, and her mother. You see her alone in the kitchen, worried, in a melancholic mood, that is understandable on the background of the war – she decided to stay with the family; they could have moved. You see her smilingly tell one of her small boys how to pull out a rock tooth! You see her fighting with the stove to make the house warm. You see her taking the train with one of her daughters, Myroslava, who wishes to study cinematography. They come to an eximanation – in Kiev it must be – the girl thinks she failed. They get a phone call, she did not fail, daughter and mother cries of happiness. So did this viewer!…”

Go to the website, there are recordings of conferences, interviews, the festival is strong on the industry side as well. Earth etc.)

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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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