DocuDays Opening Problems

Below you can read about the snow storm in Kiev outside the Cinema House, where the festival ceremony took place last night, March 22nd. But compared to what happened inside that was nothing. The nicely dressed presenters on the stage were suddenly pushed aside by representatives of the authorities, who declared, on behalf of a certain Mr. Pomodorov, that the festival would be cancelled due to its oppositional approach to the same authorities. In walked – see photo – uniformed militia with shields being lined up to protect the speaker from attacks and tomatoes… Some protest shouting were heard from the audience and some negociating took place, I could see from my seat on the second row – the soldiers left and the ceremony could take its beginning.

Clips from the many sections followed plus the opening film, Fortress, a film school film from Prague/FAMU by Klara Takovska and Lukas Kokes telling us, in a satirical tone, about The Transnistrian Moldovian Republic, its leader for more than 20 years, Smirnov is his name, an election process, visits to people who live there, a little bit of everything, and a lot of tv propaganda, which evoked a lot of laughter in the auditorium due to the constant reference to the Russian dominance but nothing more than that, in terms of filmic quality. For me the film sometimes crossed some ethical borders making fun of the naïve people living there.

At the end of the opening ceremony we saw the soldiers/militia people again on the big screen, they were out in the snow, suddenly turning their shields to use them as snow boards. The festival slogan came up: ”There is a Choice!”.

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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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