Magnificent 7 2013/4

Ilian Metev, director of ”Sofia’s Last Ambulance”, started his friday masterclass at Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade playing Bach on his violin, quite a generous gift to the workshoppers from the young Bulgarian artist, who had a career as a violinist, has studied fine art in London and ended up at the National Film School in Beaconsfield in England, where he graduated in 2008 with the very succesful film ”Goleshevo”.

Metev made the link from music to the ambulance film saying that ”I often think of films as tensions and releases, like in music”. That is indeed a perfect reference to a film that is so much linked to the cases that the three in the ambulance meet on their shifts in the Bulgarian capital. People suffering in the back of the ambulance, people talking to doctor Krassi and nurse Mila in the appartments, you never see the patients, perfect choice, always tension and then the more uplifting moments of smoking and relaxing between the cases, small talk about life and love, or getting out to get some apples from a tree…

There is no music in the film, and yet, as said Metev, ”the ambulance is like an orchestra” of sounds. He told us how the sound was recorded separately, he explained the position of the cameras in ”the cockpit” of the ambulance, and how he, in the editing was ”constantly hunting for eloquent moments”.

A lot of questions from the workshop participants were about the three wonderful people in the ambulance. How they are today, what they earn – which is nothing more than 300€ per month – that is why the driver Pramen has two other jobs – and about Metev’s frustration that the film is considered as a piece of art (indeed it is!) but far too little attention has been put on the social reality that it shows, when it has been screened in Bulgaria.

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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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