Paul Pauwels gives Pitch Advice

“Don’t be afraid of showing your passion. Prepare yourself and do your homework. Try to find out who will be present during a pitching session and what kind of slots people are responsible for. Use body language, make sure the producers see you and remember your face. Entertain your audience! They will be grateful for it. Listening to a lot of pitches can be a dull job. Make sure your project stands out. Humor always works, but in the right measure. Don’t turn the pitch into a stand-up comedy routine.”

These are just a few sentences from Paul Pauwels, a veteran in documentary sessions all over the world, a producer – and an always strong supporter of filmmakers, who have something important to say.

Of course there is no recipe for how to pitch but down-to-earth advice conveyed in an entertaining manner as does Pauwels in three texts for POV, on their website, as a guest-blogger, is good reading and useful for beginners as well as for those, who have been in the business for years. Year after year I have seen professionals doing bad presentations at the idfa Forum because they had not done their homework.

Pauwels makes his focus on the written and the verbal pitch – and (see quote above) “when you are in the room”.

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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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