Dox Box Damascus 12

Summing up this morning in the lobby of the Fardoss Tower Hotel before colleague Mikael Opstrup and I return home from a Syrian capital, warm as an extraordinary Danish summer would be.

Summing up after a breakfast chat with Omar Amarilay, the most important Syrian documentary maker, who has made 18 films, shown all over the world – only two of them showable in Syria! A viewing commitee watches all films to be shown in the country in order to eventually grant allowance for public screening. A nice gentleman, a censor, from the Ministry of Culture told us yesterday about the procedure and the list of points to be considered for the committee. With a smile he added that he had seen 120 hours of films presented by the Dox Box organisers! Who off the record praises their censor, a man with love to cinema, who is doing his best to help films pass… Amarilay, on the other hand, was not so optimistic with the way the country is going politically and did not see a bettering of the conditions for arts and culture, at the same time as he expressed his admiration for the work done by the organisers of Dox Box, Diana El Jeiroudi and Orwa Nyrabia from ProAction Film. (Photo from “Dolls” produced by the company)

As outsiders who have followed the development of the festival from its beginning, we can only join the salute and say Bravo. What is being done with a high quality international festival programme, that appeals to an audience (they estimate 16.000 spectators this year), with a presentation of new Arab documentaries, with an ambitious Campus for Syrian and Arab wannabee-filmmakers, with the setting up of a distribution catalogue of films about women to be launched in the Arab world, with the publishing of texts, academic or popular, on documentaries… is an exemplary pioneer work, the best I have seen since the establishment of the IDF (Institute of Documentary Film) in Prague a decade ago. A film political and cultural effort that deserves all the support it can get from official European sources as well as from the international documentary community. The festival closes on the 11th of March. And by the way, Proaction Film also produces films and offers subtitling services.

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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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