Festivalists on Magnificent 7 Festival

I have often been calling for festival criticism coming from outside the festivals themselves. The site Festivalists is a place to check once in a while. Here is what it is – quote from the ”about” on the site:

…Festivalists is a team of high-profile film journalists and critics from all over the world who cover for you the real magic of festivals, special events and independent cinema in general. Our community exists thanks to FIPRESCI‘s trainee programs in Rotterdam or Berlinale and gets constantly inspired by projects like Dana Linssen’s Slow Criticism. As we manage to keep in touch and work together thanks to social media, we thought it is a good start to share our passion with you, no matter if you are an industry professional or a cinephile…

Greg de Cuir, living in Belgrade, delivers a Festivalists article on the Magnificent 7 festival, three weeks after  it happened. Two quotes:

Magnificent 7 is like the midway stretch in the crowded Belgrade festival calendar, and it has a clear advantage in timing with its end-of-January setting. Furthermore, Magnificent 7 is the purest audience festival in Belgrade and probably the most popular. I never tire of looking behind my front-row seat in the immense Sava Center theater and seeing around 2,000 or more viewers packed in – for a documentary film no less, and more often than not by a relatively unknown director. It is also endlessly enjoyable to hear those directors introduce their films and remark how they have never presented their work in front of such a large audience, while pulling out a camera to take a picture of the venue for non-believers back home… (Photo by Filip Knezic: Finnish director Virpi Suutari takes a photo of the audience, Zoran Popovic to the right, Tue Steen Müller left)…

…The sum is greater than the parts at Magnificent 7. By the end of the festival week, you feel like a member of an extended family, with the patriarch and matriarch being the husband and wife team of Zoran and Svetlana Popović as festival co-founders and directors. Zoran introduces the films, moderates the post-screening discussions, and translates for everyone involved. Taken together, the films presented give a nice snapshot of major European documentary production in a given year…

de Cuir, who watched six of the seven films, was not impressed by the quality of this year’s selection, except for the film of the closing evening, “Rules of the Game” by Claudine Bories and Patrice Chagnard.


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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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