Greetings from Hanoi

I am in Hanoi, on vacation going with wife and friends from North to South of Vietnam! Its like going to a place that you think you know a lot about and yet you know nothing. You have seen Vietnam on film, you were standing outside the American Embassy as a young person and suddenly you look at the lit de parade of Ho Chi Minh… or is it really him. The Vietnamese people we have met so far are smiling and hospitality is wonderful, as is the generosity… and the food and the winter weather, which is like spring and summer back in Copenhagen that we left last saturday.

We went to a morning visit at the Vietnamese film school, organised by my travelling companion Ole John, Danish filmmaker and teacher at the Danish Film School. After polite exchange of words with the professors and department heads of the school we had 90 minutes with the students. Ole talked about the Danish Dogme rules and I about documentaries.

For the latter they showed interest, stating however that the audience does not really have an interest in documentaries, yet… which was confirmed later on by the man who is head of directors training at the school. 15 documentaries are supported yearly by the government – for fiction it is the same amount, 5 of them supported by private funding.

Censorship? Well, there is a committee that looks at the proposals for films and at the finished films – and 3 points are not allowed: antigovernmental criticism. sex. violence. Buts there are other films than the governmental ones and things are moving.

The students watch documentaries on tv and on the internet. They know how to get to the sites, its normal for them in a country with internet cafes all over.

Biggest problem: language… the English skills are very bad. Out of 15 students in the room, 3-4 understood most of what we said, the rest were depending on the interpreter.

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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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