DOK Leipzig/ 11/ Being at the Festival

I am writing this in the train back to Copenhagen from Leipzig. The journey is 8 hours long but for one, who has done enough airports in the last 25 years it is just a nice and relaxing experience that gives you time to think (and write) about the last days at DOK Leipzig, four nights, three full days for films and meetings with those, who have made films and those who tell others about them either by making festivals or write about them or sell them.

They treat you well at the festival. The cost for the four nights were covered at the brilliant hotel Arcona Living Bach14, a new one opposite the Thomas Kirche and the sculpture of Johan Sebastian Bach, including the restaurant WeinWirtschaft, where breakfast is taken, and where evening meals with a superb wine list can be enjoyed.

From there the walk took me to the Festival Centre at the Museum and the

DOK Market on the second floor with a digitized system, where you can choose between 263 films from 64 countries. You just sit down, put on your headphones, sign in with name and password and voilà the film wanted is there. It is efficient and there are booths enough to cover the demand and it is comfortable – and actually available for screening at home after the festival, until April next year.

But don’t you go to the cinema? I did and wished I had more time as the quality of the screenings at the Cinéstar cinemas is excellent and of course (also) documentaries should be watched on a big screen. I watched Marianna Economou’s ”The Longest Run” there and Polish Krzysztof Kopczynski’s impressive socio-cultural-historical ”Dybbuk” from Uman in Ukraine, where Hassidic jews go every year to honour Rabbi Rachmann and where Ukranian nationalists oppose them visa versa; it was shown at the Polnisches Institut on the big square, a very good address and an ok screening place.

Otherwise the films were screened on big flat screens in the booths at the market that you get to via a 4,5 meter high lift that is very often serviced by an elevator man/woman!

Four nights are too little to do the work of watching for Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DocsBarcelona and filmkommentaren.dk, I did not get time enough for more cinema experiences and to enjoy the wonderful autumn colours of Leipzig. I will be back for longer next year.   

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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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