Norwegian Documentary – a Critique

DOX editor and documentarian Truls Lie has written an article for the Norwegian Le Monde Diplomatique, in Norwegian and now also printed in the film magazine Rushprint. Lie attended a documentary meeting for the Norwegian documentary film community in December, where the main discussion point was the demand from the Norwegian Film Institute that ”Norwegian films should promote Norwegian culture, history and nature”. Which, according to Lie, means that Norwegian documentaries are almost not present on international festivals.

The article is written in Norwegian, readable for us Danes and the Swedes. The following quotes from the well writen, reflective article, are in Norwegian:

” I dag gir NFI drøye 30 millioner kroner til norsk dokumentarproduksjon og har dermed en enorm mulighet til å fremme uavhengig kvalitetsfilm. Men den særnorske «kulturtesten» hos NFI virker hemmende for internasjonal dokumentarfilm: Forskriftene krever at norsk dokumentar skal ha et manus skrevet på norsk/samisk, hovedtema være knyttet til norsk historie, kultur eller samfunnsforhold, samt at handling og opphavsmenn/kunstnere hovedsakelig skal være fra Norge, et annet EØS-land eller Sveits…”

“…Norge henger dessverre etter internasjonalt. Mikael Opstrup fra European Documentary Network (EDN) i København nevner at ingen av de danske, svenske eller finske filminstituttene har nasjonen med i deres formålsparagrafer. I Sverige skal støtten «fremme høy kvalitet, skape kontinuitet og fornyelse». Dansk støtte gis for at det samlede utbud av dokumentar «skal ha kunstnerisk kvalitet». Mens her i Norge dreier paragrafen seg om å sikre kontinuerlig og kostnadseffektiv produksjon, samt ha med norsk og samisk kultur og samfunnsforhold å gjøre. Hva er bakgrunnen for denne særnorske vektleggingen av nasjonen?..”

Something is rotten in …. and discussions will lead to a change?

BUT there are exceptions, photo from Margaret Olin’s documentary about the official asylum politics in Norway, “De andre” (Nowhere Home). a film that was shown at idfa 2012.

http://rushprint.no/2013/1/kvaliteten-som-uteble/

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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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