East Doc Platform 2021

Thanks to Veronika Zýková from IDF (Institute of Documentary Film) in Prague I got access to watch the pitches and trailers of the East Doc Platform that went online some days ago (https://dokweb.net/activities/east-doc-platform/2021/east-doc-forum). 10 projects were selected for the presentation plus the 12 from the Ex Oriente workshop, that includes three week long sessions. This one being the final one. Spread over three days with one day reserved for documentary series and interactive projects. As for the latter I popped in to watch producer Christian Popp being a fine moderator for two projects presented by Bulgarian Martichka Bozhilova and Croatian Dana Budisavljević. 

One of the 10 projects “outside” the Ex Oriente workshop was presented by good Latvian friends producer Guntis Trekteris and director Davis Simanis, who are not the best in verbal pitching but had a very inviting trailer for a film about (our?) the wish  for immortality, with the title ”Frankenstein 2.0”. I had contact with Trekteris after the presentation and he said that there were quite many meetings – unexpected, the experienced producer said.

I guess there was also interest in the project by talented director Russian Alina Rudnitskaya with Finnish Pertti Veijalainen as the main producer accompanied by Polish Dorota Roszkowska. The film project was also presented at the Baltic Sea Docs in Riga September 2020, „The Trans Syrian Express” with a trailer of high quality. Mikael Opstrup, representing DocsBarcelona picked the project to be presented at the Catalan event late May with this precise motivation:

”„Sometimes reality is so grotesque, that it takes an artist’s interpretation to fully comprehend it. This is the case with Alina Rudnitskaya’s The Trans Syrian Express, where her camera registers and undresses the militarization of the Russian society. Alina only managed to shoot a few scenes with the people who are exposed to this mindset before Covid-19 made further shooting impossible. But the tenderness of these scenes promises a film that, when all the shooting is done, will open the closed windows for us outsiders, hopefully enabling us to, if not understand, then at least experience what is at stake in Russia. Good luck with the rest of the shooting and welcome to Docs Barcelona.“

Yes, good luck to several other projects that I visited online. Like ”Expedition 49” by Ukranian Alisa Kovalenko, like ”Lagoons. A Battle for Paradise” also with a director from Ukraine, Sergey Lysenko , who won the main award of the East Doc Platform supported by strong producers Anna Kapustina, Oleksandra Kravchenko, not to forget ”Blix” about the Swedish diplomat of honour Hans Blix, who said that there was no evidence that Sadam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction… Blair, Bush and many others has a different opinion, well you know the story. Greta Stocklassa visits the fine old man in his home in Sweden, looks fascinating.

Even if I don’t understand why there should be so long from one project to the next at the online presentation… even if I don’t understand why all the participants end by saying the same ”we are looking for coproduction, pre-sales etc”, that’s why they are there, right, I salute the IDF for having selected good film projects that will be – hopefully – also good films when they are finished post-pandemic…

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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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