Fourth edition of a festival – without Omar Amarilay, see below – that deserves a lot of respect for its ambition to show creative documentaries from all over the world to an audience that normally has no chance at all to get to watch them. For a bit more than a week Diana El Jeiroudi and Orwa Nyrabia, the founders and leaders of the festival, together with their team, offer the Damascus audience diversity and quality – at the same time as they develop their so-called industry section that includes a week of project development of documentary projects from countries like Syria, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, Egypt and Algeria. Danish Mikael Opstrup from EDN (European Documentary Network), American cinematographer Kirsten Jonsen, American editor Amanda Laws, Dutch/Croatian director and teacher Rada Sesic and this blogger are the tutors for a programme that also involves a pitching session to a panel of funds and tv channels, as well as a retrospective and a masterclass with documentary world star Kim Longinotto.

These films in the programme – I will write about the Syrian and Middle East films when I get to watch them – have been reviewed or noted on

Last Train Home, The Arrivals, Chemo (photo), Steam of Life, Katka, Nenette, Village Without Women, Armadillo, Warsaw Available and Men Who Swim.

Boxing Gym by Frederick Wiseman opens at this festival before it goes to cinemas in Paris… just to make you understand the sense for actuality that also characterises the festival in Damascus.

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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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