Sarkozy (1)

… is the name of the hyper active French president, very much disliked by the French film people I know, for his law proposal, his ”réforme de l’audiovisuel” that (according to le Monde 18.12) now has passed through the Parliament to be further discussed at the Senate from January 7. The opposition was very much against the proposal, some even comparing his move to how Berlusconi and Putin control the media.

The idea of Sarkozy is 1) to make France Télévisions into one enterprise with for example one overall documentary unit for the involved France 2, 3, 4, 5, to 2) have the President (c’est moi!) appoint the Presidents of the channels, to 3) take away commercials from the channels from 8pm to 6am with a total disappearance of commercials from 2011. The financial compensation is to be made up by a tax on commercials from the commercial channels and electronic operators plus a guarantee from the state that runs until 2011. The executive council of France Télévisions has already decided to follow the president’s commercial proposal.

What all this means for the creative (and critical) documentary in a country that has always been at the foreground when it comes to the financial support for the arts – I will ask some French documentarians for their comments. Will a lot of people be fired? How will the decision making be if there will only be one unit for documentaries? Centralisation? Will the foreseen raise in budget/income for the commercial channels mean a fall in financing for documentaries on the public channels? And so on, so forth… Voilà!   

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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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