Lithuanian Talents

It’s not everyone, who leaves the country – even if one of the students said that the amount, who does, equalises one full airplane per day. Going away from Lithuania to live and work in another country. He said so at the film school department of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, where I was invited to teach for a week. But they should stay, these young people, even if the funding possibilities are small. The teacher said. There is a fine tradition for artistic documentaries in your country – we have written about it again and again on this site ever since it (the site) started 10 years ago. Names… Henrikas Sablevicius, Arunas Matelis, Giedre Zickyte, Giedre Beinoriute, Audrius Stonys. The two latter are teachers at the school. And are referred to again and again by the students.

Yes, I spotted talents during the week. I saw material of films

coming up, I felt energy in many of the students and curiosity to know more about what goes in the documentary world. Inspiration, that was why I was there, I could not teach them to make documentaries but I could show them how more or less experienced filmmakers have found solutions to make films that can touch heart and soul. And I could make them tell stories from topics I gave them, several of them dared to be personal, include fragments from their own lives.

Apart from directing the students to sites of festivals and vod’s and markets and workshops etc. I showed clips from many films. Every day ended with a full duration film, there was space for five films I like and know about, having met the directors. Shown on the big screen in the fine cinema of the Academy:

”21 x New York” by Piotr Stasik,

”Twilight of a Life” by Sylvain Biegeleisen,

”Normal Autistic Film” (PHOTO) by Miroslav Janek,

”The Dazzling Light of Sunset” by Salomé Jashi

and Elvira Lind’s ”Bobbi Jene”, that I will write about, a review based on talks with the students.

And we talked about – with clips shown – Robert Frank, Jon Bang Carlsen, Herz Frank and Juris Podnieks (”Ten Minutes Older”, I never leave a workshop without showing that film), Loznitsa, Kossakovsky, Jørgen Leth, Wojciech Staron, Glawogger and many others.

Thank you students, hope to see you out there ”in the jungle”!    

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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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