Poul Martinsen and DR

The article below includes words about one of the most prominent Danish tv documentarians, Poul Martinsen, employed at DR for decades as the director of documentary programmes and films that are still remembered by the Danish viewers. Both because they were good, but also because they were produced at a time when DR was the only broadcaster. For documentaries these were the golden days with a strong department, DR Dokumentar, that combined the journalistic and artistic documentary storytelling. Today it is diffferent and what seemed important for the people behind yesterday’s programme on Poul Martinsen was a constant reference to Martinsen as the man who sort of invented reality tv (Big Brother and Robinson) before this was even thought of. Martinsen himself refers to the Maysles Brothers as his inspiration!

DR today, well the broadcaster presents itself like this, and it all sounds so fine but the reality… I am sure you can refer this to other public broadcasters:

“The mission of DR is to inform, entertain and inspire. DR provides programmes and services for everybody. DR gives the general public plenty to choose from, plenty to think about, to puzzle over, to laugh at, to feel provoked by, to absorb them and to adopt as their own.
DR aims to be the frame of reference for the whole population, helping us to understand ourselves, our times and the people around us, and enabling us to act accordingly.
DR must constantly provide the general public with an independent, high-quality alternative to the commercial media.”

Photo: Talent 2008. One of DR’s current successes, a high-quality alternative to the commercial media? The man in the middle is Zentropa’s Peter Ålbæk Jensen, one of the three talent “judges”.

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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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