Istanbul International 1001 Doc Film Festival/1

The 12th edition of a festival that has grown in volume and importance. You felt it immediately when you were with the Turkish organisers and their young group of volunteers – all together people from or linked to the Association of Documentary Filmmakers in Turkey: This festival is made out of passion and commitment. They want people to come to see the world, ”and the truth”, as they phrase their slogan. Entrance to the many screening places (7, including cultural institutes like the French and Italian) was free, and almost all of the screenings took place in the area of Taksim in Pera (Beyoglu). Many of the screenings that I attended were full and there were around 20 foreign guests invited – thanks to the Danish Embassy for helping the festival to cover my flight expenses.

Learning, this is what it was about for us guests, and for the organisers and their Turkish filmmaking colleagues. I was there 6 years ago and saw with great joy that Turkish filmmakers now also make films about current social and political issues, not to forget documentaries that deal with horrors of the past. At my previous visit I watched a majority of nice cultural films about life in Anatolia, rituals, legends, anthropological and sometimes touristic stuff, this time it was different with a more outspoken criticism of the society and a choice of controversial themes.

One film will stay in my mind, ”Prison Nr. 5: 1980-1984” (PHOTO) by Cayan Demiel, who tells about the undescridable horrors that took place in the prison of Diyarbakir following the military coup in 1980. Most of the prisoners were Kurdish accompanied by socialists and communists. ”Turkification” was the aim of the regime and torture was the means. I will later this month review this extraordinary documentation.

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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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