Documentaries in Riga

Riga hosts two important documentary events this coming week. On wednesday, September 3rd, a small festival opens for everyone under the title: “Is it Easy to be Different”, a reference to the Juris Podnieks perestroika classic, “Is it Easy to be Young”. Readers of this blog will know how often I have claimed that “East Beats West” when it comes to creativity, originality and actuality in current documentaries. The festival demonstrates this point perfectly, showing films like “Blind Loves”, “Klucis – The Deconstruction of an Artist”, “Stone Silence”, “Music Partisans” and “Little Bird´s Diary”. You can read about these films on this blog. International premiere is given to a film from Belarus, “Journalists”, and there are also a couple of films from outside the East of Europe.

At the same time the Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries take place with more than 20 film projects to be pitched to a 15 persons strong panel of commissioners from channels like arte, BBC, YLE, svt, DR. Together with five colleagues I will be there to train the producers and directors to pitch in the weekend of September 6-7.

The organiser, the National Film Centre of Latvia, has, as in the previous years, made a beautiful catalogue that for me stands as an example on how to promote quality documentaries. The cover, and the picture that you look at, is from the film “Art Star and the Sudanese Twins” by Pietra Brettkelly, New Zealand.  

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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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