EFA – Sergey Dvortsevoy, Documentary

Sergey Dvortsevoy thinks it is important to reflect on WHY you make documentaries, well film in general. He started late as a filmmaker, he made ”Paradise”, ”Bread Day”, ”Highway”, ”In the Dark” and now ”Tulpan”, the latter a film with actors, nominated for a Discovery Prize af the EFA last night in Copenhagen… as if this brilliant filmmaker had not been discovered before due to his excellent documentaries. There are too many superficial films, he says, you have to go deep, you must have something important to say.The camera can´t think, all starts up here, he says and points at his forehead.

I met him at the Radisson lobby, a happy man, fluent in English contrary to 10 years ago when he came to Copenhagen with ”Paradise” – but expressing the same spontaneous, almost childish joy out of the fact that his new film from Kazahkstan, that took him four years to make, is going very well on festivals, winning prizes to support the director and his family. And with the coming cinema release in several countries.

I went away from documentaries, he said, because of moral problems. I thought I could not any longer make art out of tragedies… I interrupted him, but ”Paradise” is not a tragedy… For you and me, maybe not, but the main character of this small film got a lot of problems from the authorities after the film. How can you allow someone to film a woman washing her hair without shampoo, why do you only show the bad sides of our country and so on so forth. You make us look stupid, they said… The new film with actors and a script that the director followed 20% (!) is also having problems, but they are actors and the audience knows that. Food for thought. His ”Tulpan” is not yet available on dvd.

Photo: The unique scene in “Paradise”, the child that eats.

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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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