The 20th edition of the St. Petersburg International Film Festival ended with an award ceremony yesterday night in the Dom Kino. There were a large number of prizes to be given, I will limit this posting to include those in the documentary categories.

The prize for the best long documentary (US$ 2000) was given to the director Yossi Aviran from Israel for the multilayered description of the reflections and lives of an Israeli and an Italian man living together for three decades in Paris. The Israeli man doubts whether to go back to Israel for the rest of his life, the Italian, a bit younger, is the constant optimist, and enjoyer of life. A beautiful film about life and death coming nearer, title ”Paris Return”. The short documentary prize (US$ 2000) was given to the Slovak documentary, ”Arsy versy” (photo), by Miro Remo, original and fresh in its approach to the theme of mother and son, the latter being obsessed with bats. It has rythm and passion.

The Grand Prix (US$ 5000), the jury (that I was chairing) had chosen was ”Draft” by Timofey Zhalnin, young Russian director, who had managed to make a light and yet deep film about the drama of a woman who is recording herself on camera in order to compete for a role in a theatre play. She is, however, constantly being disturbed by the ”intrusion” of reality – family, friends in the small appartment. Documentary and fiction.

The national competition for short documentaries decided not to give a first prize for quality reasons, and the critics chose ”David Wants to Fly” by David Sieveking.

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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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