Message2Man Festival in Saint Petersburg

By this time, end of August, I am always pleasantly bombarded on FB with Messages from the (sorry!) Message2Man festival (September 14-21) in Saint Petersburg, a festival that I have attended so many times, enjoying the city and the rich programme. This year it is the edition number 29 and the FB information bombardment is a daily professionally presented – title by title – presentation of the films in the International Competititon of full-length documentaries, the short documentaries, short fiction, short animation, the National Competition of documentary films and the unique „In Silico Experimental Short Film Competition“. Contrary to much other communication through Google Translate, or do the Russians use better translation tools?, maybe translators?, the English text that follows the Russian is ok and the Danish thereafter is understandable contrary to the google translate’s often nonsense translation.

The three curators of the programme, all people with a strong film knowledge, also of what happens outside the big country are Alexei Medvedev, Mikhail Zheleznikov and Eugenia Marchenko.

To mention some films I know from the Intl.section, again again „Honeyland“ by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, lovely „Los Reyes“ by Chilean directors Bettina Perut and Iván Osnovikoff and impressive Polish The Wind. A Documentary Thriller by Michał Bielawski.

… and two films in the National section, both of them I saw at IDFA in Amsterdam: „The Potato Eaters“ by Dina Barinova, a tough social document and „How Big Is the Galaxy?“ by director Ksenia Yelyan, a charming film on kids in Arctic Siberia. There are twelve films in this section, I count on friends at the festival to tell me if there are titles I should watch.

The President of the festival is director Alexei Uchitel, the founder is wonderful “Misha”, Mikhail Litvyakov, who of course is always at the festival, although not totally involved but enthusiastic and warm in his approach to cinema and people of cinema.

I have many fine memories from the festival, I will not be there this year but as before: Respect and good luck!

Photo from one of the opening ceremonies of M2M at the Winter Palace!


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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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