Greek Tribute to Jon Bang Carlsen

The 18th edition of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival includes a retrospective of films by Danish director Jon Bang Carlsen, indeed not the first time this director has been, much deserved, presented as one of the most interesting documentary directors of our time. A man who went “hybrid” long before this word came into the documentary vocabulary, read what he said at a masterclass in Thessaloniki:

“I have a special approach towards documentaries. I don’t exactly know what a documentary is. When I graduated from Film School – it might as well be… a hundred years ago – I wanted to look into the harmony offered by life in the countryside and so I started doing research on this story I had chosen. When I attempted to put together the shreds of the reality that I was trying to depict, I did so using free associations, but when we started shooting I got the feeling that I had destroyed the beauty of my character’s life. I came to realize that the only way to depict this story would involve a reconstruction of reality. What prevailed was the need to approach my heroine’s reality in the most honest way and as accurately as possible. From the start, I was taught by my teachers that documentaries are related to the truth, that you have to follow life through the camera and show the truth. This was not directly related to what I sought to do. Also, because I also make fiction films, I don’t see such a big difference when I make documentaries. I believe that my documentaries are similar to the way someone paints a landscape. I don’t want to shoot inside a studio, but to look outside for shreds of reality and use them to narrate the story”.

The films shown from the huge filmography of Jon Bang Carlsen was “Addicted to Solitude”, “Cats in Riga”, “Déjà Vu”, “Hotel of the Stars”, “Phoenix Bird” and “Portrait of God”.

At the upcoming DocuDays festival in Kiev, Ukraine, Jon Bang Carlsen will be present to present “It’s Now or Never”.

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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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