DOXBOX Damascus Diary 1

This is a small report from the first day of the new DOX BOX documentary festival in Damascus. At the opening yesterday there was full house in at the Al Kindi Film Theatre, where the DOX BOX team, headed by Diana El Jeiroudi and Orwa Nyrabia welcomed the flight-delayed foreign guests – and first of all a full house of an audience, that watched the classic “Light & Shadows” by Omar Amiralay, Mohammad Malas and Ossama Mohammad from 1994, followed by Pirjo Honkasalo´s “3 Rooms of Melancholia”, that will be subject to a masterclass, where the Finnish director will be accompanied by Danish editor Niels Pagh Andersen.

The atmosphere is all very generous and full of hospitality, the catalogue is fine, the organisers are nervous, it is as it should be for a first edition of a long awaited festival in a country where the tradition for documentaries is not really existant.

For the Danish readers – the Danish Institute in the soukh of Damascus is exactly so beautiful as the rumours had announced. The Institute supports the festival and we are several who think about projects that would qualify one to stay in the historical building so wonderfully kept with courtyards that are second to none when it comes to beauty.

The film programme starts in a while: Nicholas Philibert, two Arabic documentaries that I will write about, Herzog with his “Lessons of Darkness” and Remunda´s “Czech Dream”. Cross fingers for audience!

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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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