Istanbul International 1001 Doc Film Festival/2

Learning by watching – still the key quality challenge for the documentary film maker. At the festival in Istanbul your film-journey constantly took you to places, where you could not go yourself or where you would never dream of going due to the simple fact that you did not know of the existence. You go from the cinema, from the confrontation with the magic screen, you have experienced something new, and you leave for the Istanbulian street reality, where armed policemen guard on the Taksim Square. On television at the hotel it is being reported that what was seen “live” some hours ago, was one more Kurdish demo for the improvement of living rights in the Turkish society.

Back to the cinema, where ”The Children of Adam” by Georgy Paradanov (Russia, 2007, 50 mins.) took me to the Ezids in Armenia in a classical visually impressive film language, that stressed the director’s intention to let the images speak for themselves. The key scenes in the film are from a wedding that ressembles scenes from the old master Pelechian’s film ”Four Seasons”, one of the best documentaries ever made.

As the Russian film insisted on the image and not on the word, so did the Israeli filmmaker Ada Ushpiz who brought the ”Desert Brides” (Israel, 2008, 86 mins) to the Turkish audience. A film from the Negev desert in Israel, about polygamy centered around 3 bedouin women, who live with husbands, who have several wives. The story is told in a fine cinematic language and the director has clearly been able to get very close to the women. There are wonderful conversation pieces between the women, the men are treated without the easy pointing the finger-at-them, they are there, also discussing in fine scenes full of humour. Or the camera follows in direct style scenes what goes on when the man goes from one wife to the other. The more I think about that film, the better it gets… Take a look at the photo of one of the women, who is a wedding photographer, married to a man who also has several wives!

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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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