Jon Bang Carlsen – The Inventor of Reality

Danish master Jon Bang Carlsen is in Bucharest these days. He has been invited to present a retrospective of his works at the International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, One World Romania, that runs until March 17, like the one in Prague, ”in memory of Vaclav Havel”. With a reference to his films shot in Ireland, ”It’s Now or Never” and ”How to Invent Reality” the Romanian organizers presents Bang Carlsen as ”the inventor of Reality”. Here is a clip from the text:

This year One World Romania organizes a retrospective dedicated to the Danish documentary filmmaker Jon Bang Carlsen. Fairly unknown in Romania, but considered a legendary director who reinvented documentary film, Carlsen will be… a special guest of the festival. Between the 11th and the 17th of March, the audience will have the chance to see more than half of his works, produced between the 1970s and 2013, and to participate in debates with the director.

In his work, Jon Bang Carlsen has always explored the land between fact and fiction. From 1977 onward, mise-en-scene with real characters plays a very important part in his productions, and this method is detailed in his meta-film, How to Invent Reality (1996) – which will also be screened in Bucharest. His documentaries are often visually and symbolically powerful staged portraits of marginal figures and milieus that involve compelling stories…

There are many other films at the festival, ”Shoah” in its full duration and ”Act of Killing” just to mention two masterpieces.

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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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