DOK Leipzig/ History

Take a close look at the photo that is to be found on the website of the festival in Leipzig in connection with a very interesting article written by Andreas Kötzing, who has written several books on the festival. Written because the festival this year celebrates its 60th edition. Amazing! Let me quote his opening of the article:

Unannounced screenings after midnight? Films smuggled over the border in a suitcase? Hotel rooms bugged by the Stasi? Legends about the Leipzig film festival abound. Many of them date back to the GDR days when the festival was still called Internationale Leipziger Dokumentar- und Kurzfilmwoche für Kino und Fernsehen. And as always with stories that have been retold again and again over the years, it’s hard to tell where the truth lies. Impressions of the early days are entering oblivion. Take this famous photo from 1964 for example.

Group photo 1964. First row (f.l.t.r.): Jean Lods, Santiago Alvarez, Basil Wright, Paul Rotha, Frances Flaherty, Richard Leacock, Alberto Cavalcanti, Dolmetscherin, Bert Haanstra; Second row (f.l.t.r.): Andrew Thorndike, Henry Storck, Gianvittorio Baldi, Goverhandas Aggarwal, John Grierson, Ivor Montague, Karl Gass, Bruno Sefranka, Joris Ivens, Walter Heynowski, Annelie Thorndike, Václav Taborski, Chris Marker, Saad Nadim, Gerhard Scheumann, Dušan Vukotič.
Photo: Bundesarchiv, DR 140/ Bild (1964) / Alfred Paszkowiak.

Oh yes, this is film history. Looking at the photo makes me think about the great films these nicely dressed gentlemen and a couple of women (Frances Flaherty and Anneli Thorndike) have made. Basil Wright (Night Mail) puts himself in the foreground, Richard Leacock (Primary and hundreds of other films…) talks to Cavalcanti (editor champion of Night Mail and director of the Paris film Rien que les Heures), Bert Haanstra (Glass and all the films about Holland), Henry Storck (Borinage), John Grierson (the Godfather of it all), Joris Ivens (no introduction needed), Heynowski and Scheumann (the GDR political documentarians, remember Congo Müller!), and the master of them all Chris Marker (Sans Soleil…)… One could make a week long (or more) film historical session from this photo from 1964.

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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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