Geyerhalter: Too Many Cheap tv Documentaries

This year’s Top 10 at the coming IDFA festival in Amsterdam is put together by Austrian filmmaker Nikolaus Geyrhalter. He has chosen films that have impressed him and that have played a role in his own development. Here is a clip from his motivation, where he praises Pirjo Honkasalo and her last big documentary:

”The 3 rooms of Melancholia” rescued a festival for me, which I would otherwise have left in frustration – I saw a lot of films there, most of which were very interesting in terms of their content, but formally lacked any kind of vision. It increasingly seems to me that people pay hardly any attention any more to the style of their film, as long as they have found a strong subject. At many documentary FILM festivals, I see films that hardly even reach the artistic – and often also technical – level of a cheap television documentary. Exceptional content is not enough to make a film into a good film. And I must also confess that I am not sure, that the film world has really been enriched by the democratisation that has been brought about by the advent of small cameras. True, this has resulted in greater output, particularly in the documentary field, and it is possible to make a documentary on a small budget, but the number of really great works seems to be in inverse proportion to the number of films being made. One of the few really great works of recent times is ”The 3 rooms of Melancholia”, which uniquely rises head and shoulders above the swamp of many small-scale documentaries, which call themselves films.

Still: The 3 Rooms of Melancholia

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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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