New Talent/Jànos Richter

“Guanape Sur” by Jànos Richter has been selected for the Premiers Pas section of “Visions du reel”, that runs in Nyon Switzerland from 7-13.April 2011. The director graduated from the Zelig Documentary Film School in Bolzano last year. His film, with brilliant camera work by Jakob Stark, has been quite a festival succes: IDFA Students competition, Amsterdam 2010.
PLUS Cameraimage, Poland 2010. True/False Filmfestival Columbia/Missouri (USA) 2011. European Film Market – Berlinale, Berlin 2011.

Here is a very accurate and intriguing description of the film: A barren rock island off the coast of Peru. No soil, no water, but hundreds of thousands of birds. For a period of ten years, only two guards may live on Guañape Sur. In the eleventh year though, hundreds of workers arrive for the harvest of the birds’ excrement.

A long line of men stand on a Peruvian beach. Life vests are handed out. A small boat bobs in the breakers, waiting to take them to a ship further out. A voice from onboard calls out, “Lima is calling! Why this delay?” And then the ship takes the men to Guañape Sur, a guano island 15 miles off the coast of Peru. Once every 11 years, a group of around 200 men spend eight months on this barren cliff – barely deserving of the epithet “island” – collecting the excrement that the hundreds of thousands of seabirds deposit on the land here. Rare meteorological conditions mean that rain does not wash away the excrement. Instead, it hardens to form a layer rich in phosphor and ammonia, which means that it is an excellent fertilizer. But first it must be chipped off, and that is dangerous work: bacteria in the excrement can cause illness or even death. Slow shots show the men as they climb on and off the cliff, shrouded in clouds of powdered excrement, heavy sacks on their backs. A record of a bizarre phenomenon.

Director: Jànos Richter. Camera: Jakob Stark. 24 mins., 2010 (trailer for the film)

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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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