Oeke Hoogendijk: The New Rijksmuseum – The Film

Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, directors of the Magnificent7 Festival in Belgrade presents ”The New Rijksmuseum” that will be screened January 30 as the opening film of the festival. The text also includes words from the director:

In 2003, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the most important museum in all of the Netherlands, closed for a major renovation. The plan was to reopen in 2008, but what was to take five years took 10, with a budget that just kept on growing. Filmmaker Oeke Hoogendijk was able to follow this exciting, difficult and sometimes painfully funny process with the camera from behind closed museum doors. In beautiful images supported by powerful music, she captured the building as it was stripped to a bleak carcass, and as it gradually retrieved the old grandeur of yesteryear.

We watch from up close as various curators prepare the layout of their new rooms with tremendous passion and dedication. We follow the caretaker, who looks at the building as if it were his child and protects it against intruders, and the architects who constantly have to adjust their designs. And we follow the museum directors who must deal with financial setbacks, bureaucracy and squabbles – not to mention the activist cyclists. In the end, 400 hours of material was edited down to a single film that takes the viewer to the apotheosis: the reopening in 2013.

This exiting epic documentary took the award for Best Dutch Documentary in 2014 at the IDFA in Amsterdam, after the premiere at festivals and cinemas in USA. In the beginning of December it went in theatres across the Netherlands.

Director’s Word: What should have been a movie about the pride of Holland turned into nothing short of a Shakespearian drama, with failing project managers, cornered ministers and officials, quibbling contractors and foreign contract parties who were appalled to see how the slow decision-making process frustrated the renovations and eventually brought them to a complete halt. It was as if a great weight was pulling the project down and no progress could be made. In 2008, when the management announced that the museum would be closed for another five years, I too realized that I was to spend another five years behind the walls of the Rijksmuseum and witness five more fascinating years of struggle.

The Netherlands 2014, 130 mins.

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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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