MIFF Free Thought Documentary Programme

I asked Georgy Molodtsov, a young filmmaker, who I met at the DoxPro in St. Petersburg, and who is working for the Documentary section at MIFF – to give some background on the festival’s documentary development. Here are clips from his text:

“Free thought” was created by Sergey Miroshnichenko (director of the excellent 7UP Russian version project called “Born in the USSR” (photo)) together with producer, programmer and promoter Grigory Libergal in 2006. Their idea (which was reflected in their catalogue foreword from that year) was that modern documentaries might be compared with serious literature and philosophical publications. But the author should not lose his thoughts and ideas, carried away by the freedom of form. 

For the selection: “The aim of our noncompetitive program is to present a selection of outstanding documentaries from the last year – winners of prestigious film festivals as long as films with good box-office revenue.”  Overloaded halls in all editions on almost every screening gave us a chance to develop our program.

Last year public the TV-Channel “Kultura” (Rossia-K) invited the two to make a weekly talk-show “Watch and Discuss” with a screening of best feature documentaries, mostly those which were presented in “Free thought” program. Every Saturday evening 4 experts, group of young film critics, bloggers and filmmakers and prominent Russian film director Vladimir Khotinenko watch and discuss full-length creative documentaries. Last season we`ve screened only 18 films, but we hope that from the next season there will be more. At the moment that is the only strand on Russian terrestrial TV dedicated to creative documentaries and, as we see from the ratings, it has its regular and wide audience.

Our 2011 competition program (see above) is based on the idea of audience orientation. We wanted to show the selection of the films, which are aimed on audience and might have good box-office in their countries or around the world. 


Still: Sergey Miroshnichenko: Born in the USSR. From dutchdocaward.nl.

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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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