DOKer International Documentary Festival

It was a very pleasant festival to attend, the DOKer in Moscow. That ended last night. You sense immediately that the organisers are filmmakers, who spread their enthusiasm for the genre and want invited guests, fellow filmmakers to have a good stay in the metropolis. As a jury member you are treated perfectly – meeting questions like these all the time: ”Are you ok, is there anything we can do for you?”

For me it was the right thing to be at the festival during the whole period, watching films in a cinema and not online on a computer.

I was a juror in the short film competition, that had 14 films from 12

countries. Criteria for selection, my guess: Quality, Diversity, Geographical spread. And a thematic programming, if possible, like in this year’s programme where “family issues” were on the agenda. We jurors responded to this by giving honorary mentions to a film with focus on the mother/daughter relationship, as well as one that had focus on the father/son. See

Another theme – naturally – was „Russia“. There was a film called „The Patriot“ about young Vasily Vlasov, who ist he right hand of Zhirinovsky, the far right politician, who is always good for a racist or antisemitic or chauvinistic scandal. The young man is in the Duma, we follow him at home with wife/girlfriend and with his mother – both are more interesting than him.

The other film about Russia, 39 mins. long, « For Russia, for Faith », takes place in France at a summer camp, where young people with Russian blood in their veins meet to hear about and celebrate, what was before the bolchevik revolution in 1917. It started as a reportage but as it went along it had at least one character, who is being developed. One oft he DOKer key persons told me that in a way she found it touching to watch a film about thoughts and language before 1917, a bit of aristocracy, with another language than Russian of today and a deep religious belief.

I did not get that as I don’t speak Russian, what I saw reminded me of my short soldier time, where discipline was wanted and failed again and again. And humourous it was, when you see kids turn right, when left is being demanded. Vice versa.

And some few words about the winning short film, „Sanatorium“ by Masha Osipova, a complete film, amazing that it is a debut, it is so fine and precise and personal in its personal commentary about the unhappy child she (the director) was, when the parents sent her to the sanoratorium. Promising director you dare say!

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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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