EDN Terminates DOX Magazine

A ”EDN Weekly” newsletter came out. In a subordinate clause there was shocking news: ”… I had to decide to terminate the publishing…” of DOX Magazine. Just like that. Voilà. A big big mistake! After more than 100 issues the magazine that has been a key element in the profile of EDN, the death of the magazine was declared by Paul Pauwels (PP), the director of EDN. An online issue is under discussion, coming from the office, probably more a member´s magazine than what DOX was – the international documentary FILM magazine. PP, the terminator, who always communicates on behalf of EDN in first person, had made the decision after consultation with the executive committee of the association. The reason: first of all due to financial reasons.

A mistake. Yes, a wrong priority from PP. When EDN way back took over the publishing of the magazine, we did so because there was a need for a documentary FILM magazine and because we thought this was the right way to tell our members that EDN is not “only” about money, where to find them, workshops, pitching etc. but also about the art of documentary. Side by side of Sight & Sound, that comes out on paper and online, like several other national film magazines, DOX, published by EDN but always independent editorially to avoid it being a mere communication tool for EDN, the magazine has had EDN members as main readers but it has also been spread around to non-members as it was this last week in Riga where Eastern European documentarians were offered a free copy – a service to filmmakers who can not afford to be members of EDN.

In Riga Emma Davie, always a true supporter of EDN, and I, former director

and one of the initiators of the magazine, discussed what went wrong. Emma was in contact with PP and wrote to him:

“But as part of this documentary family (EDN, ed.) – I have to say very clearly and strongly that I disagree.  If EDN focuses just on the business of documentary and not the culture behind it, it runs the risk of forgetting to feed the creativity which the market needs to thrive on.  Films like “The Act of Killing” do well not because they have listened to a market but because they come from a passion, an enquiry into form, an awareness of a tradition behind it. This enquiry is fed so little in any magazine. DOX is unique  for providing us with inspiration in this way. We need this as film makers to survive in this business as much as any strategies for dealing with dwindling tv sales…” 

What could have been done to keep DOX alive…

Another priority of course – cutting down in other activities.

Asking the members to help financially? Crowdfunding?

Finding a new publisher – or someone to collaborate with? Did you ask the festivals, PP, the DocAlliance, the DFI to increase their contribution together with other film institutes, or direct you where to go, private film buff sponsors…

Publish the magazine twice a year…?

And so on so forth. Dear Paul, dear friend, we all make mistakes, you made a wrong decision, it is never too late to change it. Become the innovator and not the terminator!

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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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