Volha Nikalaichyk: Khash

An envelope arrived with a dvd. Posted in Lithuania by Volha Nikalaichyk, a woman from Belarus, producer of documentary films, and many times a participant in workshops in Eastern Europe, outside her own country, where I also met her once, years ago, in Minsk, capital of Belarus, a country led by Lukashenko. I had no idea about the content of the dvd but guessed that it could have something to do with Yuri Khashchavatski.

It had, Volha – calling herself one of Khash’s disciples – had made a film about her master, the film director who turned 60 last year and has made more than 30 films, many of which deal with life in Belarus and the tough militant dictatorship of the president, as seen for instance in ”The Square” that has been texted about on filmkommentaren.dk

In this wonderfully unpretentious film (title written on the dvd: Cinema and Cutlets) with Khash (nickname) and his very close friend, the singer, actor etc. Zhora Melski, the two of them go shopping and return home to prepare a meal which is inspired – as I got it – by the native town of Khash, Odessa. The director talks us through the film with clips from his films, those that were, and the ones to come, among them ”Searching for Yiddish”, where Khash declares his love to the painter Soutine, and in general to why he makes documentary films: to learn about something new, not to preach. My films are not political, he says… well, you taught me about Belarus and Chechnya (”Prisoners of Caucasus”) but I want to see more of your films. In other words, a retrospective must be organised for this important documentarian, a man who enjoys Life, as the film shows. Thank you Volha.

Bramafilm, 2008, 70 mins.

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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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