IDFA Press Conference 2023

… was held yesterday afternoon with artistic director Orwa Nyrabia in the leading role after Head of New Media Kaspar Sonnen had introduced the DocLab: Phenomenal Friction. For more than an hour Nyrabia talked us through the 2023 program with a start of mentioning the atrocities going on in the world, the conflicts, the wars, stressing that the festival is also a place to debate – and let´s try to listen. He invited the audience to enjoy the new old place Vondelpark, that will be one of the venues for meetings and screenings during the festival. (I remember sitting there being in the jury in 1996 together with wonderful Diane Weyermann, who is no longer with us). Wang Bing is guest of honor and has chosen 10 films, Chinese, from 1999-2012, and he has a retrospective of 8 films of his own. Great initiative. And there is a chance to enjoy 5 films of Peter Greenaway + an unfinished film from the “dissident of Cinema” as Nyrabia characterised him.

Before going into details with two sections of the festival – “Envision” and “International Competition” – Nyrabia mentioned section after section, I sometimes mention a couple of director names: “Fabrications” (Safi Faye, Shirley Clarke), “16 Worlds on 16” mm (Varda, Maysles), “Corresponding Cinemas”, “Best of Fests” (Alisa Kovalenko, Mariam Chacia & Nik Voigt…), “Special Screenings” (Raul Ruiz with a film from the Allende period, restored after having been on the shelf as it was critical to Allende and Ruiz decided to nor show it after the death of the President), “Signed” (previously mentioned on this site, focus on the filmmaker rather than on the film), “Paradocs”, “IDFA on stage”, Competitions – youth, short, “Frontlight”, “Luminous”, where Nyrabia said that Love was a strong theme – and colonialism!

“Envision” – what is evident after Orwa Nyrabia became artistic director of IDFA is the diversity in geography. Here there are films from Brazil, Japan, Thailand, Russia, China, Tunisia and glad to see Macedonian Kumjana Novakova’s strong “Silence of Reason” selected, was also in Sarajevo FF.

And re: the International Competition, “the best films of the year”, Orwa Nyrabia was highlighting “The World is Family”, the first really personal film by Indian master Anand Patwardhan. But also the Danish surprise (for me as well) “As the Tide Comes in” by Spanish/Danish Juan Palacios on the island Mandø (the only time I did not understand Orwa Nyrabia’s pronunciation…) is there and “Limitation” (PHOTO) by Elene Asatiani and Soso Dumbadze from Georgia, really happy for them, they worked hard on the film (also) during the Film Mentoring Program of CinéDoc Tbilisi this year. And many many other films like Jaboly´s “Life is Beautiful” from Norway/Gaza, and films from Armenia, Central African Republic, Taiwan, Poland… Global? Oh Yes!

And the Opening Film, praised by a proud Orwa Nyrabia is “A Picture to Remember” by Olga Chernykh from Ukraine, 3 generations.

IDFA takes place 8-19th of November 2023.

Alas, I will not be there but hope to watch a lot from home with a newly replaced hip…

Yes, HipHipHurra for IDFA!

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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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