I am on the West coast of Ireland not far from the islands of Aran. Tomorrow I am going to talk with Mac Dara Ó Curraidhín about a brilliant proposal for a film on Flaherty. Here is a small quote from the proposal:

A Boatload of Wild Irishmen tells the story of Robert Flaherty, the father of the documentary and one of the cinema’s most influential figures. Over the dramatic footage he took of a currach caught in a monstrous sea (from Man of Aran, 1934), Flaherty’s importance will be explained. He was the first to see that film of the every day life of ‘real’ people could be moulded into dramatic, entertaining narratives: but, by the same token, he is also the father of manipulation and distortion as well as being a bridge whereby stereotypes of exotic peoples (including Aran Islanders of the 1930s) became part of cinema. 

And here are some citations from Flaherty, still very much food for thought:

“Sometimes you have to lie. One often has to distort a thing to catch its true spirit.”

And referring to the dramatic scene described above: “I should have been shot for what I asked these superb people to do for the film, for the enormous risks I exposed them to, and all for the sake of a keg of porter and five pounds apiece.” 

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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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