The Guardian: Destination Docs

The British newspaper, always strong on cinema, has launched a series of (sponsored) articles named “Destination Docs”, published in connection with the Sheffield DocFest. The headline goes like this, “Despite new documentary formats, traditional fact-based films still attract impressive audiences – and offer value for money”. The series reminds you of the constant documentary dominance in the UK of the broadcasting companies, contrary to the rest of Europe, it is good reading, even more so when the floor is given to one of the best documentarians of today, Molly Dineen:

“Bafta-winning documentary maker Molly Dineen believes Channel 4 has shown bravery in the past with its factual shows, but has a word of caution to all the broadcasters. “Channel 4 is still very cool for factual, but it needs to be stretched by the subject matter. There’s a risk that all channels are suffering an unhealthy pressure for docs to become more light, sexy, cheap and overly dramatic.

“The adventure has got to be in tackling issues that need to be tackled, that could be expensive and unpopular. Filming real-life is expensive; structured reality is not,” warns Dineen.

Channel 4 also risks losing out to competition from the web, she says. “There needs to be collusion between the mainstream and what young filmmakers are shooting [for the web] and their motivation.” Dineen adds: “If C4 let too much of the genuine political underbelly of documentary move to the web, then they could be sunk because telly will then just be advertising and titillation, and the serious look at life will end up on the web.”

Molly Dineen’s documentaries will be out on dvd thanks to the British Film Institute: a three-volume collection. The first volume, out on 25 April, contains Home from the Hill, My African Farm, Heart of the Angel and In the Company of Men, her three-part examination of Welsh Guardsmen on a final tour of duty in pre-ceasefire Belfast.

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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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