… is a phenomenon. I have known him since the Balticum Film & TV Festival on the island of Bornholm in the middle of the Baltic Sea, going on from 1990-2000. He came there several times and 6 of his films were shown. He always came with his car on his way to Copenhagen or to Paris where he had things to do related to research for a new film or to his museum in Pärnu. It used to be called Chaplin Centre, now the name is simply Museum of New Art.

Sooo, filmmaker, art museum director and festival director of a festival that had its 28th edition this year in July. And on top of that, together with his wife Svea, Soosaar on the small Kihnu island Manija (35 inhabitants) has goats and sheep to take care of.

This is where we went for a visit. We (producer and cameraman Uldis Cekulis, filmmaker Kristine Briede, sound engineer Arvids Celmanis and me) came monday evening and left tuesday morning. Soosaar showed us around, milked a goat, great taste and talked about his current filming on the bigger Kihnu island. 3 half hour

documentaries are being made about the life of kids. On the 1st of September he had filmed the first school day. We were on a research trip for a film about the masters of the poetic cinema in the Baltic countries, and Soosaar is the obvious choice for Estonia. His many films about Kihnu are clear witnessing his respect for history and tradition and the lives of human beings.

On the photo (taken by Cekulis) you see the setting for the conversation we had late evening at the fire (Svea on the left, then Soosaar and me). Most of the talk was about Soosaar’s engagement in the situation in Ukraine. In his art museum in Pärnu, that we visited tuesday morning, he has every year what he calls a nude art show, ”Man and Woman” – this year he changed the perspective inviting Ukranian artists to exhibit their works in the museum, a fine gesture of solidarity that was followed up by legendary Czech photographer Jan Saudek and his wife Sarah, whose nude photos were sent to the exhibition, an equally fine sign of support for the Ukranians in their fight against the Russians.

Mark Soosaar, born 1946, is a young man with an incredible energy and a true believer in art, be it film or visual art or the radio broadcasting he does once a week, in Kihnu language!

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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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