Tabitha Jackson – Interview

A couple of days ago the trade magazine Indiewire brought an interview (by Chris O’Falt) with Tabitha Jackson, the director of the Sundance Documentary Film Program. Jackson who, when she was working for Channel4 in England, was a very much wanted panelist when I was working for EDN, because of her always interesting, constructive and analytical comments to the filmmakers and their projects, here she talks like this:

“When we look at how documentaries are discussed, too often it’s a focus on what they are about and whether the main character is sympathetic,” Jackson told Indiewire in a recent interview. “I’d just like the conversation around nonfiction film to be as exciting as the form itself. When we think about literature, poetry, fiction, or music, it’s not about what is being said, it’s about how it is being said and who is saying it, that’s what makes things last and that’s what makes things have cultural value.”

Yes, Yes, Yes… agree, the eternal ”what is it about” and ”who and how are the main characters” should be dedicated less attention in the tons of pitching sessions that we organise.

Read the whole interview that gives an idea about what the Sundance Program is supporting. Jackson also mentions the new Polish film that premieres at the Sundance Festival, ”All these Sleepless Nights” by Michal Marczak: “The texture of the film reads like Godard as the filmmaker’s capturing the lives of 20-year-olds in Warsaw who are asleep all day and awake all night with such an intensity — that 20-year-old intensity — it’s really interesting. It’s not about something, but then again it’s about everything: Life, death and love.”

Photo: Sundance Institute.

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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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