Edkins & Vehkalahti: Steps by Steps 1

The subtitle of this book is ”the making of the Steps for the Future documentary series”. The writers are the two key initiators of this, the most important international documentary coproduction and training initiative, I know of. To remind you what that is, here is a quote from the site


”From seven different countries of the Southern African region comes a unique collection of films. Positive, provocative, humourous, brave – unusual stories about how individuals are confronting their lives and how societies are having to change under the impact of HIV/AIDS.”

The book is as wonderful as the series. It is written and edited with pride and passion by Vehkalahti from Finnish YLE and by producer Edkins from South Africa. They bring the whole story behind the building of the project, the production and the use of the films. The latter, the local distribution, taken care of by Edkins, is still going on 8 years after it all started. In the epilogue, the two write:

”One of our original aims for the project was that the films could be used to reduce stigma and discrimination of those living with HIV and AIDS. We feel that through the films, many people who would not normally have been heard, have been given a voice, and most importantly, as in any good documentary film, they have been allowed to finish their sentences. They have told us that actually, life is a beautiful thing.”

BUT the book, great layout, photos and different colours, includes ALSO a lot of general documentary information that makes it (the book) a must for all documentarists, not to mention film school students. Precisely formulated considerations and definitions of what is a documentary. Far from Academic language. See the next entry.

The book is accompanied by a dvd with 8 of the around 35 films that were made.

ISBN: 9781920196097. Published by Jacana Media May 2008. Recommended Retail Price: R165 incl. VAT. (No European distributor yet). Photo: One of the writers at his desk. 

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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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