Vilnius Documentary Film Festival – Awards

The small film festival with the fine programme of international documentaries ends today sunday October 2. The awards for the Baltic Documentary Competition were given out last night. 12 films were in the programme, three received awards – diplomas and money.

Latvian films took the second and third prize. Second was ”How are you doing, Rudolf Ming”, shown at many festivals internationally, directed by Roberts Rubins, who received the recognition for his fine portrait of a Latvian boy, who is crazy about making films. Especially films in the horror genre. He hates love stories and draws his stories on paper to be shown on a slide projector with his own voice providing the sound. The intelligent and sensitive boy develops a fine relation with the local priest, who asks him to make a film for the service. Which he does, with big success! The director told the audience at the prize ceremony that Rudolf Ming now has a real camera… an upcoming filmmaker!

”Family Instinct”, third prize, by Andris Gauja is travelling the world right now, to festivals first of all, winning awards for its intimate description of a totally devastated family of a mother of two, the father – the brother of the mother – being in jail for the incest. It is a shocking film to watch, there are constant violent conflicts combined with a constant alcohol consumption. We are visiting a Dostojevskian hell. Nevertheless, the director succeeds strongly in conveying empathy for the characters and their living conditions. The film has raised big debate in its home country, for its content of course, is this (also) Latvia of today, and among film people also ethical questions are raised, which are relevant. The main point, however, for this blogger, member of the jury together with Georgian Nino Kirtadze and Bosnian Irena Taskovski, was that the film comes out as an honest piece of observational documentary.

Outstanding was the winner, Barzakh (photo), by Lithuanian Mantas Kvedaravicius, a courageous film from Chechnya, superbly shot and edited, a touching visit to families, who have had members missing for years, searching for the answer – what happened, where are they, are they alive? The narrative also included the story of a man who has had his ear cut off. A longer text is to be found on this blog about this beautiful documentary made by a man over a period of three years, a man who is a researcher and is finishing a book on pain – the subject of the film.

www.vdff.lt

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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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