“Teaching Documentary” Symposium

It is my impression that many readers of filmkommentaren.dk are filmmakers or – consultants or academics, who teach documentaries at various places. This is the reason why I with pleasure forward this text to you from John Burgan, who together with Heidi Gronauer stand behind an interesting symposium to take place in Cardiff April 9-11 2014:

Crowdsourcing, High Definition, YouTube: the universe has changed massively since the most recent GEECT (The Groupement Européen des Ecoles de Cinéma et de Télévision / European Grouping of Film and Television Schools (GEECT) is the association of CILECT’s European members, and schools in Israel and Lebanon., ed.) conference on documentary back in 2000. Twitter, Facebook, smartphones: our students certainly inhabit a very different world to the one we grew up in. But at the end of the day, isnʼt it all still down to the two core elements that should be at the heart of every film school: storytelling and ideas?

The aim of this two and a half day symposium is to take a snapshot of the current state of documentary and documentary teaching.

The draft programme is still being finalised, but here are some highlights:

• Masterclass (for students) with high-profile documentary filmmaker

• State of the Doc Nation – current directions in doc teaching

• Brave New World: how do we teach interactive, web, mobile?

• Best Kept Secrets I: classic doc exercises – old ideas, new contexts

• Best Kept Secrets II: teaching new platforms – think audience

• Creating creative producers – how to bring crowdfunding,

crowdsourcing, collaborative distribution into the curriculum

• “Back to Basics” panel discussion – itʼs still about story & ideas

Bearing in mind the limited time available, we welcome additional proposals for the sessions above, particularly for the ever-popular “Best Kept Secrets”

Seed funding is already in place from GEECT and the National Film & TV School (UK), with additional support being negotiated with other institutions.

Weʼll be based at the University of South Wales right in the centre of Cardiff, only minutes from hotels, restaurants and with easy transport links to London and Bristol. As the financial side is still being sorted out, we will announce registration details shortly, but the symposium will be open to all CILECT members. There will be a social event each evening and preferential hotel rates for those that wish to stay on in the Welsh capital over the weekend. Check out the symposium blog at teachingdocumentary.com for updates.

Please contact us directly (emails below) to add your name to the list of participants – this promises to be a memorable gathering of the documentary family!

Photo, Herz Frank (1926-2013), who taught this blogger about documentary. A still from the shooting of his and Maria Kravchenko’s coming film “The Edge of Fear”.

John Burgan

Newport Film School television and new media

University of South Wales

Wales / United Kingdom

+ 44 1633 43 5370 (office)

+ 44 7906 051 476 (cell)


Heidi Gronauer

Documentary Film & TV ZeLIG school for documentary,

Bozen / Bolzano


39 0471 977 930 (office)

39 347 966 1272 (cell)



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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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