It’s a beautiful and elegant website to enter, the one from FipaDoc in Biarritz that introduces itself like this:

“We believe in true stories. Stories from here and there, of laughter and tears, stories simple but extraordinary, brave and surprising. Stories that open our eyes to those around us, that change the world, that inspire and stay with us forever. We believe in documentary films.”

Voila, and looking into the program, there is a strong film line divided into categories and an industry section with pitching and meetings. With a lot of festival categories being competitive. So there are juries with well known names like Nordisk Panorama’s Anita Reher, producer Iikka Vehkalahti, director Salomé Jashi, producer Uldis Cekulis, director Rachel Leah Jones, producer Alexandre Cornu, director Marta Prus and festival director from Ukraine’s DocuDays Vika Leshchenko…

Just to mention a couple of titles – in the Musical Documentary section Jørgen Leth and Andreas Koefoed are represented with beautiful “Music for Magic Pigeons”, in the International section there is Davide Ferrario’s “Umberto Eco – a Library of the World” that I would love to watch, in the Impact section there is Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s impressive “Matter out of Place” and in the French “Godard. Seul le Cinéma” by Cyril Leuthy. When you surf on the website you can watch the trailers and the one about Godard looks great.

Industry Days: There is a special focus on the Baltic countries and Finland, “Dive into the Baltic Sea” (hmm…), with Latvian Zane Balcus as moderator, there are pitching days organized by my old colleague from EDN Ove Rishøj Jensen and of course Ukraine is the guest of Honor under the headline “Visions of Ukraine”. 9 films have been selected and there is a Ukrainian panel present for a discussion: Viktoria LESHCHENKO,Docudays UA, Olga GIBELINDA, director, Ivanna KHITSINSKA, producer, Roman BLAZHAN, director, Andrii LYSETSKYI, director, OLHA BESKHMELNYTSINA, producer. Lysetskyi’s fine “Liturgy of Anti-Tank Obstacles” (2022) is shown in Biarritz as is “Ukrainian Sheriffs” by Roman Bondarchuk, produced by Latvian Uldis Cekulis. With whom, allow me a small flashback, I was in Biarritz years ago, with Archidoc, where Cekulis made a case study on his wonderful “Klucis. The Deconstruction”.

And there is much much more to experience, put together by producer Christine Camdessus and her team. Wish you a good festival, starting today.

 Still: Umberto Eco Library

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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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