Nina Hedenius

It is all about making extraordinary films about ordinary people… I don’t remember who said so, but it could be a characterisation of the work of Nina Hedenius, the unique Swedish filmmaker who makes all her films for SVT, the Swedish public broadcaster, that provides her with the funding for her films. She does everything on her own (camera, sound, direction), over a long period and without any interference of film consultants or commissioning editors from television. In Belgrade where she took part in the Magnificent7 festival, with the masterpiece ”Way of Nature” (”Naturens Gång”) from 2008, she told the audience that she had to do her films in that way, and that she could not have anyone look over her shoulder. That would make her nervous and confused.

I pick up the name of Nina Hedenius tonite after having seen her fine work, ”The Art of Cleaning” (”Konsten at Städa”), which is from 2003 and runs for an hour. Again Hedenius takes the viewer to Dalarne, the beautiful region of Sweden, and lets him/her experience the daily life of a cleaning lady, Wally Petterson. You might expect a social indignation over hard work, but Hedenius never turns to that side. What interests her in this case (like with the characters in ”The Old Man in the Cottage” and ”Way of Nature”) is the calmness and harmony that is inside and outside a woman, who cleans, cooks, takes care of grandchildren and relaxes at the lake with her fishing rod. ”We are ere to help other people, are we not”, Petterson says in a film that refrains from the many words. The camerawoman, who is also the director, dares. To go close and stay close, to fade out in grey, to let clouds drift by, to let a face stay so long that you start to make your own interpretation or drift away from the film or maybe into the film’s universe. I saw the film in a garden house and could turn my head to the right and be with nature images and a sky similar to the one in Dalarna. Pure beauty and independent filmmaking. A filmmaker with her own signature.

Some of the films of Nina Hedenius are available on dvd – check the website below and contact svt, and for people who are able to get to SVT, Kunskapskanalen (Knowledge Channel) the film has a rerun on sunday May 16 6.05pm. And to know more about Hedenius you can see an interview with her (in Swedish) on

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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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