Piss them off Once in a While

Sean Farnel, former programming director at the festival Hot Docs, and one of the few North American with a deep knowledge of the European documentary scene, has written an interesting and refreshing article that touches upon many essential questions about documentary filmaking of today. One of them is the potential for European films in North America – here is a text clip, but READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE:

“In fact, from DocLisboa and through Jihlava IDFF, DOK Leipzig and CPH:DOX, one enters a bizarro nonfiction film universe. The majority of the films I see on this tour will not make it over the festival rainbow. North American distribution? Ha! Many of these works have long takes, lack narrative (or narration) and big music cues. Sometimes there’s no colour. And often one cannot even tell if they, the films, are “real” or not. It becomes evident, in comparison, that most of what is represented as political or “social issue” filmmaking in North America seems to be pitched, formally speaking, at audio-visual infants. I submit that film festival programming can be a political act too, and I would like some of the more radical acts of Euro curation exported to my homeland. There a responsibility not just to feed an audience, but to nourish and sharpen their senses, too. And even to piss them off, once in a while…”

Photo from “Winter, Go Away” by the students of Russian Marina Razbezhkina. Sean Farnel writes about the film in his article.



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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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