IDFA Forum. We, the Commissioning Editors

Here we come, monday morning, entering the arena in Amsterdam. Big room, round table, space for audience. They are all looking at us, when we react to the pitching. For many of us the body language communicates fatigue, another pitching session, the BIG one, lots of kisses, hello hello, how are you, family feeling, and then the personification of all the mails from producers that you have not yet answered, all those ”no thank you”s that you have not yet formulated, there they are, face to face with eyes shining of hope. Lets talk later…

At the same time as we know that we are going to react to a lot of new proposals that we will, maybe, take home to pitch to our bosses, the ones who have their eyes fixed on the daily print-outs of ratings from the night before, where our wonderful creative documentary got far too few viewers… On the other hand we are the ones in power. ”They” expect you to be positive and clever, also when we say no. Which we do not do very often. It is difficult to be critical and say no when all these people are looking at us. It is better to put a question than say its bullshit.

Ok, lets go. Some of us are very well prepared, others open the catalogue for the first time. We trust that the tasters are made so you can easily comment on them. ”We” are (to mention a few of the main commentators, ed.) Franz Grabner from Austria, a film lover who regrets that he has to play safe again and again. Iikka Vehkalahti from Finland, often mentioned on, a showman in the arena, sometimes raising the level of discussion. If there is any! Olaf Grunert, the tabloid guy at Arte, as he says himself, jovial, in general positive to all. Hans Robert Eisenhauer, theme evening boss at ZDF/Arte, a fighter for international cooperation with a taste for actuality docs. Katja Wildermuth, Leipzig, a fine and committed editor to have with your side, can say no in public. Ingemar Persson, Sweden, old hippie who always has a ”but” after being positive. Tore Tomter, Norway, speaks often but does he ever go international? And then the good news, Tabitha Jackson from More4 and Cynthia Kane from ITVS, both knowledgeable when it comes to film, one could feel from their comments. With limited financial possibilities… Like all of them, actually. Nick Fraser BBC and Thierry Garrel Arte were not there. The first was at Emmy Awards, the latter has stopped. In terms of level of comments, they were missed.

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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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