Mads Brügger: The Ambassador/ idfa

From the press release of IDFA today: The 24th International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) will open on November 16 in Pathé Tuschinski with The Ambassador by Danish filmmaker and journalist Mads Brügger Cortzen. In this documentary, Brügger Cortzen exposes the trade in diplomatic passports in Africa – a trade in which Westerners play a major role. The film also competes in the IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary.

Mads Brügger Cortzen (1972) previously made films such as The Red Chapel, with which he won a Jury Award at the Sundance film festival in 2010. He is also known in Denmark as a presenter of various television programmes.

The Ambassador, shot largely using a hidden camera, reveals another side of Africa: an underworld that cannot be recorded in any other way. Dressed in a neo-colonist style, director Mads Brügger Cortzen goes to the Central African Republic to become an ambassador for Liberia. Once there, he sets up a match factory, run by Pygmies, as a cover for his ambitions in the diamond trade. What Brügger is actually trying to do, however, is reveal the relations of power – and commerce – in that country.

The Ambassador is competing for the VPRO IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary. On Friday, 25 November, the winners of the various IDFA competition programmes will be announced at the closing ceremony in Tuschinski 1. IDFA will take place from 16 to 27 November on and around Amsterdam’s Rembrandtplein square.

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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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