Dokumania: Senna

Danish Dokumania, the Tuesday creative documentary tv slot of DR, broadcasts Asif Kapadia’s great archive based documentary tomorrow, August 28th. To be highly recommended. Here is a repeat of one of many previous texts about the film:

In a report from the Moscow International Film Festival the following I wrote the following about the film about legendary Ayrton Senna: (the film) has a classical straight forward narrative, simple it is, and should be, with its focus on the career of the formula 1 driver, Brasilian Ayrton Senna, his fight with French Alain Prost, a love-hate relationship, his importance for his poor nation, his charming appearence. It is all built on archive, not a talking face, all comments come off the image, an excellent solution for a film that appeals to a broad audience.

In an interview in the Guardian, Saturday July 9, done by Stuart Feffries, the information is given on a film “that quietly (has) broken box office records to become the surprise hit of the summer. Now the picture is poised for a US release that might well put it in the frame for an Oscar.”

Continued by the following: “The 39-year-old Hackney-born director’s film powered away from an unpromising position on the starting grid. It grossed £375,000 on its first weekend, three times more than Kevin Macdonald’s 2005 documentary about two British mountaineers’ near-death experience in the Andes, Touching the Void. After that impressive start, Kapadia’s film looks set to become one of the most successful documentary films ever released in the UK. “At the moment, we’re in third and chasing down second,” laughs Kapadia. His film has accelerated past Justin Bieber’s concert film, Never Say Never. It’s now grossed more than £3m and is bearing down on the 2005 nature documentary March of the Penguins. “There’s only one documentary we’ll never overtake – Fahrenheit 9/11.” Michael Moore’s 2004 documentary has, like Ayrton Senna in the 1993 Brazilian grand prix, an unassailable lead in this race.”

The interview gives an  excellent background to a film that was also very well received at the festival in Moscow.

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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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