Haskell Wexler 1922-2015

Legendary Haskell Wexler died yesterday, 93 years old. Long obituaries giving information on his impressive career are to be found in Hollywwod Reporter, Variety and Indiewire (links below), several FB friends salute his strong contribution to film history and social documentary.

I met Wexler briefly at the American Documentary Film Festival in Palm Springs this year in March. He was on stage with colleagues, one of them being Joan Churchill, who is currently making ”My Dinner With Haskell” – here is a short quote from her website:

“My Dinner with Haskell” is a feature length documentary about the legendary cinematographer and inspirational activist filmmaker, Haskell Wexler, who we follow over a 2 year period as he interacts with the people & events in his life, using his influence to promote his message of social justice and hope, both within & outside of the Hollywood system…

A clip was shown from that upcoming film with Churchill herself behind the camera and Wexler and Pennebaker in debate about “to set up scenes or not to set up scenes”, the latter making films according to what was formulated in the prologue to the seminar by Robert Drew’s son: recording life as it happens, whereas Wexler said the vérité films – another word frequently used over there in the US – is all fiction, somebody’s fiction, ”a lot of what I did in “Medium Cool” was scripted.”

The 93 year old Haskell Wexler was wonderful in Palm Springs, concluding the session by saying ”forget about How and Technique, what matters is Why”.

I took the photo of Wexler (left) and the organiser of the memorable seminar, colleague of Wexler cinematographer Fred Goodrich.





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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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