EDN Interview with Claas Danielsen

Cecilie Bolvinkel from EDN is responsible for extensive ”Member of the Month” – interviews, that can be found on the website of the association. A fine one came out two days ago with Claas Danielsen because ” DOK Leipzig 2014 will be Claas’ last edition as Festival Director – EDN has talked to Claas about the festival’s past and present and his own future.” I have taken a text quote, but please read the whole interview, link below:

“The funding is and has been a huge challenge. It is as complicated as putting an international co-production together and the requirements literally get more bureaucratic every year. It’s unbelievable how many small sources of income we have to generate to make the festival happen.

Secondly, it was not easy to win the trust of many people closely connected to the festival who were suspicious of me as a “Wessi”, a person from western Germany. Having worked for an organisation branded by Discovery Channel before, some thought that I wanted to change their “Dok Film Week” into a TV festival. To modernise a festival with such a long tradition was a huge task for me.

Another challenge for every festival organiser is the competition between festivals for films and professionals attending. With IDFA only three weeks away, this of course is a problem for us like it is for the other autumn festivals.

My background as a filmmaker helped me to make a clear decision: I will not play the premiere game and only insist on a national premiere for films in competition. Although many world or international premieres end up in our four documentary competitions the decisive criterion for us is the artistic quality of each individual film. After ten years in this job, I still deeply believe that festivals should first and foremost serve the films – and not the vanity of festivals. To stop a documentary that had its national premiere in spring from traveling to festivals in other countries till the end of the year only to get the international premiere harms the film as it will be too old for the other events next year.

The most rewarding experience definitely is to see the general audience growing from year to year. People want to watch documentaries and better understand what’s happening in the world! To see young people storm the festival cinemas is extremely uplifting – especially as it proves decision makers in public TV wrong who claim that they can’t win an audience with this genre. The truth is that this audience has turned its back towards television, especially young people.

(photo credit Christian Hueller)

http://www.edn.dk/news/news-story/article/edn-member-of-the-month-claas-danielsen/?tx_ttnews[backPid]=220&cHash=c349da043e8362c03071abbfe98c9832

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: 3862