Idfa 2013 /2

… the headline could also have been ”3 Days at idfa”, with the subtitle ”personal small talk”, so now you are warned about this piece, written at Schiphol airport waiting for the SAS 548 to take me home to Copenhagen.

Sooo, a small flashback: you arrive to idfa, you go to get your kilos of catalogues, brochures, find your hotel, three days have been reserved to you by the organisers, who have asked you to be a consultant at the idfa-academy. You go there, The Compagnie Theatre at one of the canals is the location, a perfect place for a meeting as it has been for years for the Forum, and is at the moment where this is being written and filmmakers from all over the world launch their stories in the big hall of the theatre or in one of the smaller rooms.

The academy is for ”emerging filmmakers”, who are invited to four days of lectures, debates and so-called one-to-one meetings. Also they are there to learn and to get feedback on their projects. Most of them have trailers/teasers to show, most of these are not yet good enough and do often not really correspond to the project idea. You have talks and try to get into the project, to understand, and by asking questions hopefully also give food for thought to the filmmaker. It’s a great initiative by idfa and the participants I asked were extremely happy to be there. It’s all about inspiration and encouragement.

One film screening on the first evening, ”Return to Homs”, reviewed below,

followed by a strong whisky and a cigar on the Rembrandt Square, talking to the makers. Just great and emotional to meet with the friends from Dox Box Damascus, all of them out of the country now doing a big effort to tell us what goes on.

Talking about whisky… the brilliant SDI (Scottish Documentary Institute) invited to a reception, I tasted two small single malts, met a lot of friends, kisses and hugs to lovely Flore Cosquer and Finlay Pretsell from the office, the latter working hard to realise his film on charismatic bicycle racer David Millar.

Further talks and food with dear friends Arunas Matelis from Lithuania and Krzysztof Kopczynski from Poland, the first one at idfa (also) with a bicycle race film, the latter as a producer of the competition film “Everything is Possible”. And being in that region so dear to me, I was happy to notice that two Eastern European filmmakers, Martichka Bozhilova (Bulgaria) and Uldis Cekulis (Latvia) are now members of the Executive Committee of EDN (European Documentary Network) that held its General Assembly Sunday morning, with energetic professionalism led by the new director of the association, Paul Pauwels.

Sunday night reception (idfa calls it ”Guests Meet Guests”) with my employer, DocsBarcelona. It is impressive how popular these informal receptions are even if it almost impossible to have a civilised talk. It is a hallo-hallo event and ”nice to see you again” and ”how are you” etc. And it is fine enough like that, you get people introduced to each other and for a 60+ it was fine to go to the lobby, sit in a nice chair and chat with Emma Davie, whose film ”I am Breathing” must be one of the greatest successes of the last year. Next to us we had Serbian couple Dragan and Jovana Nikolic (”Caviar Connection”), who are are in Amsterdam with their three children (the youngest 3 months) and their new fine film ”The Undertaker”.

Back again, a bag full of printed material, many films waiting to be seen via the Docs for Sale online catalogue.

Idfa is unique and thanks for clear, no-rain-weather.

Photo taken at idfa by Hungarian Julianna Ugrin, participant at the idfaacademy, with the project ”Train to Adulthood”, director Klára Trencsényi.

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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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