Rada (Sesic) on Rasa

Zeljko Mirkovic, Serbian documentary director-producer (his company is called Optimist Film) and occasionally a very good interviewer, has published a long conversation with Rada Sesic, a very well known documentary director and teacher and festival programmmer – and an expert in Indian cinema. The interview is to be found in its full length at the IDF (Institute of Documentary Film) site, see below. Here is a small clip, where Rada talks about Rasa, a new angle on documentaries:

Mirkovic: Documentary has seriously entered the market and it’s represented best by a large number of subgenres (archive documentary, TV documentary, docudrama, etc.) One of these stands out in the market – a creative documentary. What are the defining elements of a creative documentary?

Sesic: It is difficult to say what a creative documentary is; perhaps it is better to say what it is not. It’s not television reportage, nor superficial coverage of an event, nor a historic account of a certain epoch, landscape, or a person. Every story is acceptable, but the author has to express their personal cinematic style, their personal visual approach, their thinking about a particular content they want to film. Ultimately, film is art and we expect art to touch us, shake us, make us think, ask questions, make us come back to it, change us as reflective beings. There is a text in Hindu Veda called Natya Veda which speaks about the role of art. It contains a tract on drama that can be applied to art in general. It says that every piece of art has to contain various Bhavas (feelings, moods) which will make a viewer experience Rasa (a state of mind), a complex experience of enjoyment (the experience may also be negative in the sense that you may experience fear, sorrow, anxiety). What is important is that Rasa works in such a way that a viewer mentally and spiritually absorbes the intensive experience of art.



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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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