Paul Pauwels: Hurrah, We’re in a Crisis

Below the beginning of the speech that the new director of EDN (European Documentary Network) held in Sheffield June 11th, invited by the EBU Documentary Group. The whole analytical text – that should be read by all documentarians – is to be found on the site of EDN named EDN Director’s Blog:

On behalf of the independent documentary sector that I have the honour to represent here, I want to thank you for having invited me to deliver this keynote address.

I would like to use this occasion to inform you about how the independent producers look upon the current production situation and the relation between “content providers” and “content distributors”, and to share with you not only our worries and fears, but also to extend an inviting hand to tackle together the many current changes in the media landscape that drive us out of our comfort zone and that force us all to become more daring and innovative than ever before.

I think I can say with absolute certainty that today there are no certainties anymore. Every single current media-model is under pressure and although there are many questions about where the future will take us, there are no clear answers yet to put our minds at ease. I don’t think that I’m the only one who experiences this kind of situation as disruptive, paralysing and threatening. But it’s not because many of us feel disrupted, paralysed and threatened that we should sit back, pretending that nothing is going on and that if we just wait and sit still everything will go back to normal. I’m not the smartest guy on earth but one thing I do know for sure; as far as our common professional activity is concerned, nothing is ever going to go back to how it was before.

Over the past months, I have been talking to many professionals and from these discussions resulted an analysis that I have recently presented to several documentary film makers – directors and producers alike – under the very optimistic title: HURRAH, WE’RE IN A CRISIS.

While I was preparing today’s speech, it dawned on me that although I’m now addressing the players at the other side of the pitch, I might as well use the same title. I own the copyright anyhow, so I can use It for free. Very important in these times of severe budget cuts…

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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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