MakeDox 2017/ Notes From a Juror

Go home Alexandra, she kept on saying, the dog-lover from Karelia in Finland, producer Kristina Pervilä. We were on our way back from a restaurant half an hour from Skopje. Good food, amazing location at a lake, and good company, a tour of adventure organised by the Makedox festival couple Petra Seliskar and Brand Ferro.

Going to a festival means that you meet old friends and get new friends. For me a pleasure to see Pervilä again after many years, remembering years of teaching at Ex Oriente seminar, where we were having drinks at the teachers appartment at the Czech film school FAMU with a view to the bridge and the castle, where Vaclav Havel resided.

And Roberto Blatt who has been to this festival several times. Last

time I saw him – years back – was in Buenos Aires, where the man, who lives in Madrid and in Montevideo Uruguay, was in a panel for pitching at the time, where he was working for Multicanal in Spain. Blatt is now retired, writes books but when a panelist he was always great to have because of his clever and encouraging comments to filmmakers. And of course it is wonderful to meet a man, who is interested in and knows about football… in Buenos Aires we watched Atletico Madrid, his team, against Barcelona, my team, together with Jordi Ambros from TV3 Catalunya. Blatt was not happy with the result.

As he was not happy with the development of television at the Under the Fig Tree Talk yesterday at the festival. This daily event starts at 6 and goes on until around 7.30, where the call for prayer from the mosques makes a fine and natural end of the session. How to get to the audience was one of the themes, what about all these pitching sessions, are they good, is there money around, are there too many of them, how to build networks… etc.etc. Pervilä and I could talk about the privileged situation in our Northern part of Europe, with well functioning public support of documentaries, Ilona Bicevska from Latvia advocated for the (upcoming, the 21st edition!) Baltic Sea Forum, and I dared to say that one of the reasons for the success of Georgian documentaries right now is that the filmmakers have travelled, made contacts, raised a bit of money here and there, won awards. Made themselves visible. Georgian documentaries are in focus at the festival (as it will be at DOKLeipzig this year) with 7 films, including ”City of the Sun” by Rati Oneli, who won in Sarajevo a while ago, ”When the Earth Seems to be Light” by Salome Machaidze, Tamuna Karumidze, David Meskhi, the beautiful ”Listen to the Silence” by Mariam Chacia. They are building a documentary culture in Georgia that also is strong right now in fiction – There is a festival, CinéDoc-Tbilisi run by Ileana Stanculescu and Artchil Khetagouri, and there are Sakdoc filmmakers who have for years arranged courses for pitch and projects development Anna Dziapshipa and Salomé Jashi.

Jashi was here at the festival, showed her ”The Dazzling Light of Sunset”, and was one of the four filmmakers, who took part in the  sessions of the workshop called ”Visual Narration”, where she talked about her camerawork and showed clips. For those of you who have seen the film: we talked about the beginning of the film, the only camera movement in the film, a unique emotional start of the brilliant film. Audrius Stonys was there to talk about the camerawork done by Audrius Kezemys in the mountains of Kazahkstan for ”Woman and the Glacier” as was Piotr Stasik with his amazing ”21 x New York” 100% filmed by himself and Miroslav Janek with ”Normal Autistic Film”. The veteran who has been to film school but stressed that he has been at ”The School of Life”. Oh, you see that in his films. We showed clips from his masterpieces ”Unseen” and ”Cha-Ci-Pe”, both of them dealing with kids.

People come, people leave at this – as with other festivals. I have just had a nice morning coffee with Kristina Pervilä and Selin Murat, Turkish/Canadian producer and programmer for the RIDM festival in Montréal. The two of them are in the Young Onion jury for newcomers/talents together with Talal Derki, the Syrian documentarian who made ”Return to Homs”. He should have been here but could not get a travel insurance… I know which film they will award, but I will not tell you before tomorrow!

Go home Alexandra… Kristina Pervilä did not give up. It was obvious that the dog, who had been with us during the dinner, wanted to come with us. Of course not possible but she led us to the car and ran ahead. We saw her looking at us from the side, when we passed in Brand Ferro’s big car. Emotional moment in real life, as we have seen so many of at this unique festival in Skopje, Macedonia.

Photo from the opening film of the festival, title ”Avec l’Amour” which is made by Ilija Cvetkovski, a very sweet film and a precise description of the feeling you sense that the organisers want to communicate to us visitors.

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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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