Not all films can go to the competitive sections, of course not, so festivals arrange strands like Panorama and Masters, at IDFA both are there, with 32 titles in the first and 29 in the latter, where also older films are brought into the spotlight.

As a visitor for five days I know it is impossible to watch all the films, which are listed in the masters section. Luckily there are several that I have already seen and that we have written about on this site, and luckily there are films that we can take a look at later in the long dark winter nights coming up in our part of the world…

This is really gonna be a slate of name-dropping: Malek Bensmail tells the story behind Pontecorvo’s ”The Battle of Algier”, Andres Veiel has made a film on ”Beuys”, Romanian ”The Dead Nation”  by Radu Jude ”is a documentary-essay, which shows a stunning collection of photographs from a Romanian small town in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The soundtrack, composed mostly from excerpts taken from the diary of a Jewish doctor from the same era, shows us what the photographs do not: the rising of the anti-Semitism and eventually a harrowing depiction of the Romanian Holocaust, a topic which is not very talked about in the contemporary Romanian society.”

I am so much looking forward to seeing Agnès Varda’s ”Faces

Places” as well as Brazilian João Moreira Salles ”In the Intense Now” a title that stems from ”the radiant faces of the French students on the streets of Paris in May 1968 that they are living in a magical moment, the “intense now” of an imminent revolution.” And to stay in the French, Raymond Depardon has made a film, ”12 Days”, a quote from the catalogue: ”… One person has committed a serious crime or is suffering from delusions, while another wants to go home to commit suicide. All are involuntarily patients at a psychiatric hospital. According to legislation passed in France in 2013, if doctors want an involuntary hospitalization to be extended, it has to be approved by a judge within 12 days, and if necessary every six months. The celebrated chronicler of French society Raymond Depardon was granted a unique opportunity to film these hearings…”

Younger masters… Danish Phie Ambo with ”When You Look Away” (, Mikala Krogh’s new film ”A Year of Hope”, homeless children in Manila, I have seen it, it is brilliant, Slovak Vit Klusák’s ”The White World According to Daliborek” (, Boris Mitic with ”In Praise of Nothing”, which stands high on my viewing list.

Number one, however, on that list is Frederick Wiseman with ”Ex Libris. The New York Public Library”. If anyone is a master… 

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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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