Guardian Film Awards and Post Oscar Recognition

For me the best English language newspaper critiques and general film coverage is to be found in The Guardian and New York Times. It was therefore with great pleasure that The Guardian, in their first Film Awards, placed The Act of Killing on the top as best film:

The Act of Killing has taken the top prize at the inaugural Guardian Film Awards. Joshua Oppenheimer’s surreal study of the Indonesian death squads of the 1960s was nominated in three fields – best director, biggest game-changer and best film. It triumphed in best film over the Oscar winners 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, as well as two other foreign language films, The Great Beauty and Blue is the Warmest Colour.” In other words not in a documentary category. You can read more about the award and the voting clicking on link below.

From the NY Times – you need a subscription – I receive every friday a list of all new theatrical releases, including news and features. Melena Ryzik, who predicted that ”Twenty Feet from Stardom” would win the Oscar as the best feature documentary, had this week a fine article titled ”When the Battle Is Over, What remains Is… Art”. She writes after having reported on the Oscars for five years: … (I’ve learnt) about moviemaking, about celebrity and mostly about how to keep artistic faith in balance with professional cynicism. It’s true: The Oscars are a popularity contest, with prizes conferred for a career narrative as often as for an individual performance, and undoubtedly there are politics at play. Otherwise, the campaigns would be dull, and the consultants wouldn’t be paid all that money…

At the end of her article she puts the spotlight on Sara Ishaq’s “Karama has No Walls” (photo). She had talked to the 1ad Abdurahman Hussain, who said that at first, they wanted to make a YouTube video, but then they realized it was a bigger story. Their 30-minute short, “Karama Has No Walls” — “karama” is Arabic for dignity — uses footage shot guerrilla-style by those in the middle of the action. The director, Sara Ishaq, a Scottish-Yemeni woman, submitted it to film festivals, which led to its Oscar nomination. The Oscars are not well known, culturally, in Yemen, Mr. Hussain said. Still, after the nomination, the filmmakers met with the Yemeni prime minister, and there have been government-sponsored screenings.

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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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