Maite Alberdi & Viktor Kossakovsky

I have had the pleasure – a couple of times –  to present Russian master director Viktor Kossakovsky at festivals. For instance at DocsBarcelona, where I was meant to be the moderator. Not really a possible job as the director takes over immediately, talks with passion and love about what filmmaking means to him. Entertaining. No need to have someone asking questions.

With surprise I saw that Kossakovsky was to be moderator in a Q&A session with Chilean Maite Alberdi as director. It was organised within IDFA by Chiledoc. And the film to be talked about was Alberdi’s newest work „The Mole Agent”, a lovely and playful film. See below if you want to know what else the director has done… She’s is excellent. And that was exactly how Kossakovsky started the Q&A. Declaring his love to the film and the director. Followed by a couple of questions and Kossakovsky:   

„I want to cry now”… „I am very happy for you”… „tell us what you want to say”. Kossakovsky had got answers to his questions, had been touched by scenes in the film and there were not really other questions coming in from the online audience. A bit more than 30 mins. Enough for the passionate moderator – and good answers from the smiling equally charismatic Maite Alberdi. The film – here is a copy paste from the IDFA catalogue  

„In this quirky blend of spy flick and observational documentary, 83-year-old Sergio goes undercover in an old folks’ home. This friendly, elderly man is hired by private detective Romulo to act as the “mole agent” for a client, who suspects that her mother is being mistreated in the home. 

Director Maite Alberdi deploys the film noir tropes convincingly, but Sergio is no natural-born detective. His first obstacle is all the technology—pen cameras, smartphones, and the other devices he’ll need to gather evidence and report back to Romulo. But an even bigger stumbling block is that Sergio, a recent widower, is unable to maintain the emotional distance necessary for carrying out his tasks as a spy. He quickly befriends several other tenants. 

With a wryly comical undertone continuing throughout the film, what begins as a detective yarn gradually evolves into something more intimate, resulting in an original view of affection and loneliness in old age.”

Maite Alberdi, Chilean director, is known for her warm-hearted films, to be mentioned ”Tea Time” from 2014 and ”The Grown-Ups” from 2016, many times awarded, both of them got the main award at DocsBarcelona. She co-directed in 2016 the short film ”I’m Not from Here”, with Giedre Zickyte from Lithuania.

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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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