Stefani: Days and Nights with Dimitra K

If you want an excellent written and precise analysis of the latest work of Greek filmmaker Eva Stefani, click below and read Neil Young’s text written after the Thessaloniki Doc Festival, where Stefani won an award. As “Uncle Tue” to Eva I can’t lean back and pretend that I don’t know her.and love her work as the fine film documentarian she is, no a film auteur she is, always independent, always taking her time to film, always searching for a film language that fits the subject of her film. So I am biased. Therefore let me write some words on Eva, who deserves much more attention at festivals around that she gets at the moment. 

I have known Eva for more than 20 years. When the Storydoc workshops in Greece, initiated by Kostas Spiropoulos, existed, she was a tutor together with – among others – Czech-French Stan Neumann and Scottish Emma Davie. These three academic filmmakers with quite their own non-academic (maybe except Neumann) way of storytelling bonded so well together. Sometimes irritating the moderator of the sessions – me – who had to say “silence please”, when they small-talked, being bored. It could be the reason for me being called “the uncle”, the one who lifts the finger to create order. Eva has a long filmography but also a career as a visual artist exhibiting at several biennales and places like Documenta. And she has written poetry and books on the documentary genre.

Below you have a link to the website of Eva and you will notice, how she shifts in film durations – there are none of the films that fit the television slots we know – 26 or 52 minutes. Her films have had a good life on festivals like “The Box” from 2004 that got an award at Cinéma du Réel. That film is just of many that communicates Eva’s interest in and sense for people, which is so obvious in the new film about Dimitra, the prostitute she has followed for a decade – as a friend and close observer of the big woman, who likes her job and set up standards for the profession far from today’s tragic trafficking. Eva is there with the camera, asks questions to Dimitra, laughs with the charismatic woman, go with her to conferences about prostitution and prostitutes, to political meetings, sees her with her dozen of cats, hears her family story – in a film that falls in two parts, first one in Dimitra’s brothel, second one in her flat in the middle of the city. The film is a true evidence of how important it is to be close to and like the one you are filming and have curiosity to human life as it unfolds outside normal circles. Eva Stefani wants to learn about life when she films and in this case she gives the audience the wonderful opportunity to meet Dimitra, a strong and yet vulnerable woman taking us around in the streets of Athens. Could you move a bit Dimitra so Acropolis can be seen in the picture… Dimitra, can you turn on some light… they collaborate Dimitra and Eva Stefani, the unique Greek filmmaker.

Greece, 2021, 72 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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