Prague: Football and Czech Docs

Elena Subira, colleague from DocsBarcelona, asked worried to my health after wednesday night’s football miracle, where Barcelona beat Paris 6-1 after having lost the first match 4-0. Heart attack…? No, but close to, amazing, 3 Barca goals in the dying minutes of a match that I watched in the good docu company of Mikael Opstrup, Iikka Vehkalahti and Peter Jäger. In a – yes! – English/Indian restaurant, lots of beer and a smell of curry. In the Stepanska street close to the Institute Cervantes, where the East Doc Platform takes place and to the Majestic Hotel, where we stay. Majestic was the football and majestic is the East Doc Platform.

And if all goes well some fine Czech documentaries are coming soon. To a festival or tv near you! Anna Kaslova from the IDF

(Institute of Documentary Film) had asked me to present five films which are in production and/or at post-production. I introduced the makers for a full hall of broadcasters, sales people, distributors, festival programmers and colleagues – each project was given 12 minutes for presentation, including visuals.

Filip Remunda, co-directing with Vit Klusak, presented ”Pepik the Czech Goes to Poland in a Quest for Love of God” with a three minutes trailer, long title, short visual, original storytelling, humour: Czech atheism vs. Polish religion! Petr Horky and Martin Juza had 10 minutes of material to show from Tolyati in Russia, the home of the Lada car factory, a huge one, where a Swedish ”supermanager” comes to make the dying factory alive again. ”A meeting of mentalities” said the two about ”The Russian Job”, that will have editing help by Miroslav Janek. ”Wilder Than Wilderness” by Marian Polak, produced by Radim Prochazka, is already finished in a Czech version, it will have a national theatrical release, beautiful scenes were selected from a film that deals with the life of animals we have in our neighbourhood. Must have potential for international distribution as well. I want to screen it to my grandchildren!

I hope that festivals also will pick up ”Meciar the Movie” (PHOTO) by Tereza Nvotova, produced by the company PubRes. Nvotova, whose ”Take it Jeasy!” I remember from when I was at Ex Oriente, and who has just premiered her first feature film in Rotterdam, got, contrary to many journalists, access to the former prime minister of Slovakia, a pretty much controversial figure, involved in scandals and now living alone in his huge house with a couple of dogs. The material she showed had amazing scenes. The same goes for another HBO supported film, ”When the War Comes” by Jan Gebert, produced by Radovan Sibrt, a more than timely insight to a group of youngsters, who have formed a paramilitary group and are marching in the streets, uniformed, with the aim of fighting for the European civilisation that is threatened by foreigners. We know the story, we shake our heads, but it happens now.

I had information from Anna Kaslova and talks with the makers about the situation for documentary films in Czech Republic. It looks good, 20 films in theatres in 2016, almost 1 mio. € state support, a good collaboration with tv (HBO is in two of the above mentioned film, Czech tv in the three others) and this year a competitive section for Czech documentaries at the One World Festival.

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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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