St. Petersburg Diary/ 3

But why don’t we know about it, one of the Russian directors said on the second and last day of the Conference in Hotel Vedensky in St. Petersburg, DoxPro, on financing of international creative documentaries. He referred to the ”Farewell Comrades”, a film series and an interactive website of high quality, developed and produced by German Gebrüder Beetz, and briefly presented by the company’s Tanja Schmoller. There is a link below for those who missed it. filmkommentaren did a presentation in January 2012, a quote: ”Well-done and well conveyed information, anecdotes and personal it is, sometimes fun, sometimes tough to hear and see.”

But Tanja Schmoller was at the conference to present one of the ”Cultural Files” by the company, ”The Wagner Files”, an exciting cross-media project promoted like this at the site of the company:  ”“The Wagner Files” is an innovative and dynamic fusion of music documentary, fictional film and animated cartoon.” Equally dynamic and informative was the presentation by young Schmoller, who showed how to use the graphic novel app of the work on Wagner, and explained the financing structure of the project and how content/idea/creativity lies within the company, whereas the technical solutions are made outside. Schmoller inspired many of the conference participants, including Olga Kravets who with two colleagues are working on the webdocumentary, “Grozny.Nine Cities” that was met with both support and political remarks. They have applied to the idfa forum to get necessary funding, it would surprise me if their talented project do not get accepted.

The last day also brought a speech by Icelandic theatre person and art and environment politician Kolbrun Halldorsdottir, who talked enthusiastically about green documentaries and their potential to change – a couple of Russian conference participants stood up and advocated for their “green” festivals. Maria Fuglevaag Warsinska-Varsi, who lives in Norway, film director and former film consultant at the Norwegian Film Institute, took the floor to give a brief on the Norwegian support system as well as on the Sami film situation, where she now holds a position as mentor. Warsinska-Varsi gave a lot of advice to the Russian filmmakers present, as did veteran producer and MIFF (Moscow International Film Festival) documentary selector Grigory Libergal, who said that he had missed analysis and basic information on the Russian documentary, which consequently was what he came up with. There is a loong way to go, was the impression you got from Libergal’s speech that provoked a lot of discussion and optimism and will to change in the direction of collaboration and skills development of especially a young generation of producers, who speak English and wish to travel and take part in workshops in Western Europe.

Co-organiser of the conference, EDN (European Documentary Network), represented by Mikael Opstrup and Ove Rishøj Jensen (photo) welcomed Russian filmmakers to take part in seminars and workshops – there are many possibilities. Standing applause to the two organisers of the conference, Ludmila Nazaruk and Viktor Skubey, who will put everything online in due time for others to enjoy and learn from… and then off to see wonderful St. Petersburg, Hermitage, boat trip, Erarta Museum, Marynskii…

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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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