Vilnius Diary 6

I was on a tour today. A magnificent tour. To the place of a film to come, and to the people who are characters in this work under development. It may sound like a kliché film, one of many about poor people, but what cameraman and director Mindaugas Survali has done is completely different and quite unique. For more than a year he has followed people who live in the forest next to a dumping ground, where they picked food and found metal pieces that they could sell on the market. Around 500 people were here and I am writing in past time as the dumping ground was closed March 2008, leaving very few people to stay.

Mindaugas has visited the people regularly since the closing and the 7 men and women, we met on our small excursion to the place outside Vilnius welcomed him warmly and showed generously filmmaker Audrius Stonys and me, how they lived with kitchen, living room, sleeping room, a lot of empty bottles, cats and dogs under the blue sky. With winter heating possibilities.

Earlier today we had – with filmmaker and in this case also producer Giedre  Beinoriute – seen some edited scenes from the material of the film, that has the working title, ”The Field of Magic”. Excellent situations with characters beautifully shot over all seasons, small wonderful and touching stories that show the dignity of the dump people, who have chosen or have been pushed by destiny to choose to live a life outside the so-called normality. It will be a film made with heart and cinematic skills.

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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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