East European Forum – Television

… having said so, I hurry to say that the films that I mention in this post are also creative, but they have in their presentation thought of television as the channel to an audience, at the same time as many presented their projects  to be made in two versions, one for cinema and festivals and one for television.

Let me begin with a story that includes retro dancing in Moscow, a warm film in a cold city, with old women who go to dance, who want to live even if the conditions age-wise and socially are difficult. Director is Tatyana Soboleva (photo from the pitch together with her French producer), I have had the pleasure to know her and her films for some years, is the right one to do this film called ”Open Air”, she has an eye and a heart for people, 52 mins. long it will be. Equally ”For Mother’s Sake” by Serbian Nikola Ilic will be an audience hit judged from the trailer. Three generations: the director, his mother and his grandmother. HE is married to a Swiss woman, they live in Switzerland and what to do, when grandmother dies and there is noone to take care of the mother, who had a stroke when a child? She dies and the son must take care of her but how – when he lives in another country but comes from a country with a strong family feeling, where you don’t send mothers to homes? I put this in the television category even if tv people in the round table session hesitated! Come on, this is universal.

More obvious chances for these two: ”Avtovaz” with Czech journalist Petr Horky, who went to Russian Togliatti, that used to be a super Soviet city with a famous car factory that produced Lada but now suffers from the crisis. A Swedish manager was called in to modernise, he sacked thousands of people, wanted to change the working culture – and was himself sacked some days ago. A fascinating trailer with Bo Andersson, as his name is, was shown plus some other material with workers and sacked workers, but how do the filmmakers cope with the new situation? And – we stay in Russia – ”Over the Limit” by Polish Marta Prus, who in terms of quality of cinematography came up with the best trailer and a story that must be something for television: the competition of three Russian gymnasts to go to the Olympics in Rio this summer. They are friends but only two will be picked, who? They are beautiful and innocent these girls, whereas the coach, a woman with a hat, seems to be a good bitchy character.

Let me finish with the award winning ”When the War Comes” (again supported by HBO Europe) directed by Jan Gebert, the most actual film in its description of nationalism and refugees in Europe today, read this short text: Hundreds of teenagers join the paramilitary grup in Slovakia to get ready for the final clash of civilizations and to fight whoever intrudes their country… It will go to festivals and television in long and short versions.


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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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