East Doc Platform Lecture on Editing

EDP (East Doc Platform) characterises itself as the largest industry platform for Central and Eastern European documentaries. From my experience touring documentary meetings in the vast region, I agree. And can add that with the parallel running huge One World Festival, the documentary festival in Jihlava, the vod DocAlliance, the East Silver and a succesful initiative like dok.incubator the Czech Republic is a place, where a lot of good is done for the documentary. With the EDP organised by the IDF, Institute of Documentary Film.

At the EDP filmmakers run from room to room in the Spanish Cultural Institute, Cervantes, to have meetings with experienced filmmakers or sales agents or distributors – to relax once in a while by listening to interesting lectures in the so-called Open Programme.

I was there yesterday to hear what an old friend from the Baltic Sea Forum, Phil Jandaly, had to say about his profession. Editing. Called « From Pre-

production to Post-Production Magic » he did an excellent 90 minutes talk with clips and reflections. Pedagogical and charming it was. Canadian Jandaly , who lives in Sweden, has edited fiction films, but prefers documentaries. In fiction, you have a script in front of you… « I don’t like to listen to/read about intentions of a film, I want to listen to the material, what is in it, is there a film… »

To illustrate that, he showed an 8 minutes long pilot called « Nelly and Nadine», which was extremely interesting to watch, coming from the material that Swedish director Magnus Gertten already has made two strong films out of, « Harbour of Hope » and « Every Face has a Name ». The unique material shows liberated concentration camp survivors coming to Malmø in 1945. One of the prisoners, an Asiatic looking woman, had been in the mind of the director for years, who is she, what is her story. At a screening in France the director was approached – I think I can help you, a viewer said – and what came out of this was an amazing, fascinating story about two women, who fell in love with each other in Ravensbrück. Archive photo from the lives of the two in France was found, an interview made with the grandchild of Nelly, who sits with her diaries, which were kept away while the mother, i.e. the daughter of Nelly, was alive. It was painful reading for her, to know about her mother’s love story. Is there a film, Jandaly asked himself, and has asked the director Magnus Gertten, oh let’s hope for that!

Jandaly, who has been the trailer expert for years at the Baltic Sea Forum, took us to the editing room and showed us the wall full of poster notes in different colours – the building of a film. He talked about a Kenyan documentary on what it means to be homosexual in the African country. The director and editor Jandaly communicated often in front of the poster notes… what happens with that scene if you move this from here to there etc. He showed two different openings of the film, his own and the director’s, quite different, which led to his reflections on how much information you should give the audience from the beginning and how much you should leave for discovery. Obvious that Jandaly goes for holding back information and that he had a different interpretation of the material than the director. It is for sure going to be a very strong and courageous documentary about what it means to be gay in Kenya. Ouff!

Phil Jandaly told me after the lecture that he is working on a Russian film that was presented at the EDP 2017, “Provincial Town of E”, directed by Dmitry Bogolubov and produced by Vlad Ketkovich. The editing of the film takes place in Prague as the Czech company Hypermarket is a co-producer. To give you an idea of the content, I quote from the IDF’s dokweb site:

Elnya is one of thousands of small provincial Russian towns. The only remarkable about Elnya is that it was the first Russian town freed from German forces during World War II. Since then Elnya freezes in time. There is nothing happens in here except endless military celebrations of heroic soviet past. Military propaganda becomes regular background of everyday life in Elnya. Most people still believe in chimeras of Soviet past what is very handy for modern authorities. Unable to provide decent social perspectives, authorities manipulate on patriotic feelings of the common people, cultivating a loyal electorate. They create an image of an enemy, who becomes a good reason of declining living standards. Propaganda infiltrates into all areas of life of an everyman from his childhood to his private adult life. Filming Elnya for several years we catch this process…


Share your love
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.

Articles: 3872