Gianfranco Rosi at IDFA

It was here that it started, Gianfranco Rosi said looking at the almost empty Tuschinsky Theatre, where his very interesting and inspiring talk with artistic director of IDFA Orwa Nyrabia took place. I attended the first part of it and took notes but had to leave to raise a glass for and cry a bit for Valentina Pedicini, who passed away the same morning as the talk took place; it was Rosi, who told Nyrabia, who then communicated the tragic loss to the viewers in the theatre and online.

Going back to Rosi, who claimed that the key words for him as a filmmaker is Time Trust and Encounters. It was here that it started – my first film „Boatman“ (1993) was shown here. It was through making that film that I learned about documentary filmmaking. I graduated from the New York University Film School, went to India, visited the Ganges, met Gopal, the boatman, was there for two months without filming, took my camera for a one-day tourist trip with Gopal, saw the material and discovered that it was not good enough for a film. Went away and came back again and again to shoot with Gopal. I just went, there was no telephone contact, but he was always there on the river.

At that point of the talk Orwa Nyrabia showed a clip from the 50 mins. long – yes it is – magnificent film, shot on 16mm, lovely format (my comment), a clip where Gopal talks about the foreigners, who always come with their “why, why, why, why” related to – that we see – corpses wrapped in white cloth being dropped in the same water, where people take their baths.

I was asking questions, said Rosi, you can see that in the beginning of the film, but I stopped and have since then NOT put any questions from behind the camera. The film actually became an emotional reconstruction of that day, where I was a tourist. With this film I learned what it is about: waiting for the right moment. And Time Trust and Encounters.

Rosi is a classical observational poetic filmmaker. He is at IDFA as a guest of honour with his 6 films and he has put together his Top Ten. For accredited guests you can watch Boatman online – and/or you can go to the DocAlliance vod, where you can stream it for very little Money:

Photo from his last masterpiece “Notturno”

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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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