DocuDays UA Dana Bunescu and Niels Pagh Andersen

It was one of those moments he has called “The Authentic Now”, Danish editor Niels Pagh Andersen. In the Docudays online seminar the other day with Andersen and Dana Bunescu. The latter showed clips from the masterpiece she did with Andrei Ujica, “The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu” (2010) (3hours), unknown footage put together, 2 years of watching the material, 7 months of editing – a lot?, not when you have seen the film and immediately know that this film will stay in the book of world documentary history.

But back to the authentic moment that I enjoyed and which was not foreseen: Between two clips there was an unintended technical break, where editor Andersen suddenly was alone on the screen. He did not know apparently, smoking a cigarette, maybe a bit nervous, waving his hand in the air in the room of his appartment from where he was zooming. To get the smoke away from the webinar… I was looking at Andersen and associated to the Jørgen Leth film, where Andy Warhol is eating a hamburger without saying a word. He knew that he was filmed, Andersen did not. Pure documentary! Catching a man passionate with what he was doing, totally concentrated, profiting from the situation to have a cigarette.

The conversation between Bunescu and Andersen were informal and informative. They commented each other’s clips with respect and comments and questions. Bunescu: Today it seems that there is a fear of silence – a reference to the example of Andersen, “The Look of Silence”, that he did with Joshua Oppenheimer. Andersen mentioned that he was always working with hold-back, which is obviuos from the 10 minutes he showed in the webinar, the beginning of the film: “Don’t tell too much up-front, don’t kill the curiosity”. Bunescu: “In documentaries you search for the truthful, you can cheat but not lie”. Andersen: “Documentaries are today’s alternative to tik-tok, news, fiction, journalism – it’s first of all an emotional experience”.

90 minutes it lasted, the last 30 were questions from the audience. Thanks for this meeting to DocuDays. 

photo: niels pagh andersen (dfi)

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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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