Magnificent 7 2012

Countdown for the 8th edition of the European Feature Documentary Film Festival, always an adventurous experience for this documentary consultant and co-selector of the 7 films together with Svetlana and Zoran Popovic.

It takes place in Belgrade January 25-29, in the Sava Centre, the audience will be huge, and representatives (6 directors and 1 director of photography) from the films selected will be there to meet the audience and share their film view and practice in a workshop that takes place the day after the screening of their film. So join the party, come to Belgrade if you want to meet Gary Tarn, Miguel Goncalves Mendes, Audrius Stonys, Fernand Melgar, Gereon Wetzel, Xavier Arpino and Michael Glawogger.

Check the site. Here follows my welcome words:

January 25th 2012 at 7pm the opening of the 8th Magnificent7 film festival. I write film to stress that this is a festival for films that are made to be screened on a big screen to an audience that appreciates this mix of a social, entertaining and artistic experience in times where films (also) are meant for small computers, ipads, well even mobile phones. An audience who appreciates to sit with hundreds of other people and take in what comes from the screen to the heart and to the brain. I am sure that you will agree that whether you like the films or not, you will never leave the cinema untouched by what you saw.

I am one of those, who never leaves the cinema untouched and who comes to

Belgrade once per year for a week of pleasure focused on the finest film genre, some would say the only one that still gives space for the independent film: the documentary.

I am also there to sit among you fellow spectators and sense the reactions to the films, that we have selected after months of watching and joyful communication between Copenhagen, where I live and Belgrade, where Svetlana and Zoran Popović are at the Magnificent7 HQ.

We heartily welcome the comeback of two directors at the programme this year. The festival opens with ”The Prophet” (photo) by Gary Tarn, that comments on the world of today – including material shot in Belgrade, when Tarn was here with his ”Black Sun”. The Lithuanian master Audrius Stonys, who was here with ”The Bell”, this year introduces ”Ramin” to us, warm and compassionate film about an old man in Georgia full of life, wisdom and a longing for love.

Yes, love is definitely a theme at this year’s festival. As shown in Portuguese film ”José and Pilar” by Miguel Gonçalves Mendes about the beauty of the relationship between writer José Saramago and his wife, the journalist Pilar del Rio. Saramago, the Nobel Prize winner, is forced to travel around, tiring for a man at his age, a man who could have been tempted to stay in the old world, as it is beautifully conveyed in French director Marc Weymüller’s meditative look at people in the Portuguese Barroso region in ”La vie Au Loin”. A film that mirrors our time, and our dealing with time, as does Gereon Wetzel with ”El Bulli”, which could be seen as an indirect appeal to us all to slow down and dedicate passion and focus. And of course a fascinating insight to the art of cooking.

Caring for the other… is that what the staff does in Fernand Melgar’s heartbreaking institutional documentation from one of the richest countries in Europe. ”Vol spécial” is shot in a centre for refugees who have been refused to stay in Switzerland and wait to be sent home. The staff does its job, what they have been told to do, with an institutional empathy, one could say. Is this where civilisation stands today? Lack of love and compassion!

And for closing – Michael Glawogger, the Austrian director of many controversial films. This time he cares about prostitutes in his travel to Thailand, Bangladesh and Mexico. As with his previous globalisation films (”Megacities” and ”Working Man’s Death”) the camerawork is done by Wolfgang Thaler, who excellently interprets each location in its own way. ”Whore’s Glory” is done with sensitivity and respectfully tells us about prostitutes who offer moments of love. It is a stunning film that for sure will create debate about what documentaries can and should do – as all 7 films it is for the big screen, and for the social and artistic experience.

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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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