Slovak Documentary Masters Online

… for the first time. This is how the vod DocAlliance presents its christmas present to us viewers. It is quite a generous offer that comes up in collaboration with the Slovak Film Institute that celebrates its 50th anniversary. If you only have time for one film, you should watch Dusan Hanak’s classic masterpiece “Pictures from the Old World” (photo). Here is the introduction from the site of DocAlliance:

Wild Slovak nature, the harsh life in deserted mountains, the beauty of almost forgotten folk traditions and powerful existential themes resound in the films by four Slovak documentary filmmakers Dušan Hanák, Martin Slivka, Deo Ursiny and Martin Šulík. Thanks to the Slovak Film Institute, the works by the four leading figures of Slovak cinema are now available to international audiences. In the week from December 16 to 29, presents a selection of over 20 short as well as feature-length films by unique filmmakers of the Central European region for free.

Founded in 1963, the Slovak Film Institute represents both the oldest and a single local professional film institution to take care of Slovak cinema in a complex way. This cultural institution manages archive collections preserving both early and contemporary Slovak film works. On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the Slovak Film Institute presents; in collaboration with, Filmtopia distribution company and with the support of the Slovak Audiovisual Fund; a special selection of 26 films covering primarily the second half of the 20th century and representing four remarkable filmmakers of four generations.

The works by versatile artist Dušan Hanák, who is also renowned on the cultural scene as a screenwriter and photographer, are represented by the highly prized film Pictures of the Old World ranking among the most significant documentaries of Slovak film tradition. Through the film camera, Hanák faces the questions of human existence in its rawest and purest form; manifested in the

lives of Slovak mountain people living outside modern civilization where time is governed by nature and tradition. Right after its premiere in 1972, the film was banned and audiences could only watch it 16 years later. Folklore motives are also the main theme of a series of short films by the oldest filmmaker represented in the collection; Martin Slivka, who is considered the father of Slovak ethnographic film. His film debut Water and Work, also included in the collection, has won international recognition, and his film A Man Leaves Us was included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World List in 1995. Director Deo Ursiny, also known as a musician, discusses the ultimate life experience of a terminally ill person in his film On Cancer and Hope which he made while gradually succumbing to the illness himself. Last but not least, the collection includes three short documentaries by the youngest filmmaker of the four, Martin Šulík, whose most renowned works include a film homage to above mentioned Martin Slivka (Martin Slivka – The Man Who Planted Trees).

The films by the leading figures of modern Slovak documentary are available during the whole Christmas time, from Monday, December 16 to Sunday, December 29 at for free.

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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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