Ton van Zantvoort: A Blooming Business

It is actually ”a dirty business” to be interpreted in different ways: the use of chemicals in the flower farms and the consequent pollution of the Kenyan Lake Naivasha, and the abuse of people living there who have no labour rights, very low salary, long hours of hard work, sometimes unprotected against the spraying of chemicals… and so on, so forth. But the film  pleasantly refrains from shouting to its audience, on the contrary the director treats the subject in a careful way, in a low voice bringing the mentioned terrifying information to the spectators through the characters, he has chosen, who are the ones with whom we get linked emotionally:

The mother with three children who gets up early in the morning to make breakfast and who goes to work and comes back late evening to cook again and be with her children. The fisherman who claims that the water is polluted because of the chemicals from the farms. The man who sells water (from the lake!) and transports it around on donkeys. The young filmmaker-to-be who has filmed inside the farms and wants his footage to be shown all over the world instead of the lying news reports from BBC and other Western tv stations. And others…

I learned something I did not know about, I met some people whose life situation is tragic and I was touched and informed in an intelligent non-sensational cinematographically beautiful manner. Thanks!

Have a look at the site of the film, a very well designed and informative piece of work – and did you know that 300.000 people work in the flower industry!

Holland, 52 mins., 2009 (next bigger festival: DOKLeipzig)

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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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