Phie Ambo Retrospective at DocPoint

The Helsinki Documentary Film Festival DocPoint takes place January 29 to February 4. It is as usual a festival that picks the best of the best and of course has a focus on new Finnish documentaries.

But allow us to put on a Danish perspective and salute that the festival had decided to set up a retrospective with Danish director Phie Ambo. DocPoint will screen one of her short films, Songs from the Soil, and five features: Gambler, Mechanical Love, Free the Mind, Good Things Await, …When You Look Away.

Ambo will do a seminar at the festival. I have heard her talk many times, I can assure you it will be good.

We have been writing about/reviewing the films of Ambo since this site was set up. In November 2007, the year we started, I wrote this: … Phie Ambo is one of the most obvious talents in new Danish documentary film. She showed great observational skills in her last film “Gambler” about the filmmaker Nikolaj Refn Winding (the “Pusher” trilogy), skills she is also using in her “Mechanical Love”, which is primarily about the robot research and fabrication done in Japan.

And in September 2017, Allan Berg wrote this – in Danish – about ”… when you look Away” (PHOTO) that he found was the best Danish documentary in 2017: … Phie Ambos vidunderlige film træffer mig øjeblikkelig, mens jeg er uforberedt åben et meget personligt ellers næsten glemt sted, en næsten glemt erindring, en erkendelseshemmelighed, min tidligste tanke om kosmos. Juno, filmens første medvirkende, ligger og skal sove, det er åbningsbilledet. ”Er jeg et menneske eller et dyr?” spørger hun Phie Ambo som taler sagte med hende.

We have given highest marks for ”Free the Mind” and ”Good Things Await” as well as for a radio broadcast, where the director talks about film music.

Let me add to this small tribute to Phie Ambo that she follows her films the whole way through to the audience putting a lot of effort on the promotion and distribution of her films – into a cinema release.

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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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