Roman Bondarchuk: Dixie Land

It was one of those lovely moments, where a huge audience had come to celebrate the premiere of a film, ”Dixie Land”, that was 7 years on its way – for many reasons, one of them being that the director Roman Bondarchuk and his script writer Darya Averchenko were busy with the making of and promotion of ”Ukrainian Sheriffs”.

The film about jazz music performed by kids in a band in Kherson Ukraine, led by their old teacher, who founded the band just after WW2, picking up homeless children to give them the chance to develop their skills, gave them a life, simply – is a warm, so well made – Bondarchuk has indeed a documentary-eye – interpretation of a happy childhood, where kids have a good time developing their creative skills. As it is written in the catalogue: We all live once in Dixie Land – the country where politics, money and death do not exist at all. But over time this country is disappearing… yes, we are in Ukraine of today.

Back to the fest of a premiere where the superstar of the film (see photo from the screen of the cinema) Polina was present and performed with three instruments, when the closing images of the film came up. It was marvellous and there were flowers and standing ovations to a film that is full of love. A human film that gave many of us tears in the eyes. Look at the photo… Polina is now 15 years old, study in Moscow, we had thanks to Ilona Bicevska, the producer of the film, the chance to meet her after the screening. And her parents… you learn so much by being here at Docudays in Kiev.

Latvia, Ukraine, Germany, 2016, 60 mins.

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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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