To Leave a Film School

… after three years of studies having graduated to be ready for real work. Out there in ”the jungle”. This is the situation for 27 students from the Zelig School for Documentaries, television and new media in Bolzano. I was one of their teachers and offered them ”jungle talks”, jungle referring to the big world outside the protected school area. Not easy for them, what do you do? Write applications with a cv attached? Go to the festivals and markets in Leipzig and Amsterdam? Hang around at the cocktail parties, bump into someone, who knows someone, who might have a job? As an editor or as cameraman/woman or as director. Or use the contacts that you have build up during the school years at local tv stations or with companies that do corporate films. Make some bread and butter jobs. And/or earn some money doing the dishes at the local café or by being a social worker. Career planning… well, in theory, but in practice it is learning by doing, isn’t it?

The best business card however is their diploma work, and also previous works made at the film school. Are they good, could they – the films – have a chance at international film festivals. Actually yes, for several of them this kind of success is already there, their films are being accepted at important festivals. If it gives any job, is another question but you get noticed and you are on the right track. Georg Boch had his ”Facebook’s Adorno Changed my Life” and ”The Sued Generation” at the festivals in Jihlava and Leipzig, and the Adorno-work is now in the catalogue of the American distributor Icarus. Janos Richter and the cameraman Jakob Stark were at idfa at the Student’s Competition with their ”Guanape Sur” (PHOTO), which also went to the prestigious festival for excellent camerawork, Caméraimage in Poland. Mark Olexa and his crew Francesca Scalisi and Fabio de Felice are going late January to the Trieste International Film Festival with ”Heart Quake”, and Benoit Felici will go with editor Milena Holzknecht and cameraman Bastian Esser to the short film festival in Clermont-Ferrand – the festival that is for short films what Cannes is for feature films – with ”Unifinished Italy” (trailer can be seen on the website of Zelig, see below). And Brett Orloff will show her ”Glitter Dream” in her native country just after Christmas. I will report on the further life on these films as well the other graduation films.

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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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