Leaving CinéDOC Summer Film School in Gori

Istanbul airport, gosh it is big. Lot of walking from gate to gate. And the two times I have been going to/from Tbilisi via Istanbul, gates have been changed – and flights delayed. But this has given me the time to think about the week in Gori at the Summer Film School and the film projects and rough cuts, which were presented there – from Georgia, Armenia, Aserbadjan, and Germany, the five students from the Konrad Wolf Film School in Babelsberg. I have in a previous post on FB praised their contribution, a 15 mins. docu short on Gori. Well done, entertaining, with atmosphere and you could see that they enjoyed making this one-day excercise.

Monday was the day where the rough cut participants presented the results

after consultations first of all with editing consultants Albert Elings and Dana Bunescu, and with colleagues and Merle Jothe, the German camerawoman, who came with the students mentioned above and was a tutor like me.

Very promising. Good films are coming and good film projects could end up as good films. Let’s see. The summer school gave several of the filmmakers more confidence and ideas on how to proceed. Like Nikoloz Bezhanishvili ‘s film on Stalinists in Gori, the dictator’s birthplace. He came with hundred of hours of material, he left with an edited scene that for me had the right focus and rythm and could constitute the opening of a film that i think will have a big potential. The same goes for Giorgi Parkosadze, who for years has followed a mother and her son, who live far away in the mountains, strongly connected to each other as a magical moment scene from the beginning of the film demonstrates beautifully. Reminded me a bit of this year’s documentary super hit « Honeyland ». Another mother and son scene is in the upcoming work by Armenian Nairi Hakhverdi, «Sweeping Yerevan », where she wants to portray a mother who with a blind man and some children need to have more than a one job to make ends meet. Is it going to be a social documentary, I asked her. No, of course with a social angle but a positive film with life and humour and showed, having gone back to her rushes, a magnificent scene, where the mother is sewing with her son helping her – close up of both, lovely, a whole story is silently being presented here. Poetry ! And f… all the talk about dramaturgical archs.

Have these coming films in mind, dear festival people.

Totally different is « About Revolution » by Vahan Khachatryan, also from Armenia, apparently « just » a recording af what happened, when Armenia got its revolution, recordings, much better word is observations from the streets of Yerevan, from policemen being lined up, from the Parliament and scenes with the director and his pals before the revolution. Thematically it reminded me of Juris Podnieks films from the Latvian fight for independence in the beginning of the 1990’es but without the passion and enthusiasm in Podnieks films. Still impressive, hope it will travel, the film of a film buff and festival organiser Khachatryan, who was one of many interesting personalities at the Summer School. And I will forgive him that he did not bring a bottle of Ararat brandy to Gori !

I mention that, as a Summer School of course also includes gatherings, where toasts are being delivered – and toasting is a disciplin where Georgians are masters. Tributes to each other, to Life, to Love, to the future of the film projects and rough cuts, to Peace in the world, to Peace between Armenia and Aserbadjan… – it was all done with heart and passion.

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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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