Volker Koepp: Berlin-Stettin

Koepp is, if anyone, the chronicler of life in the former GDR. In numerous films he has described the work and the social conditions of ordinary people in the GDR that he was born into – in Stettin in 1944. Two years ago his ”Holunderblüte” won the Grand Prix at Cinéma du Réel, it was written about on this blog by Allan Berg (in Danish). Koepp’s filmography is long and impressive, and should I choose to point at one of the many masterpieces, I would go for the collection of 7 films that he made in Wittstock from 1974-1997. Wittstock that was a town with a textile factory, where Koepp found great women to be his characters.

In ”Berlin-Stettin” that is being shown out of competition here at Cinema du Reel, Koepp talks in first person through his voyage to places where he has been before in his films, sometimes looking for people who took part in previous films, asking them about their life today, showing clips from then, and sometimes finding new characters that can take part in a film that gives the viewer an impression of the Eastern part of Germany after the 1990 unification of BRD and GRD.

It is all done in a calm, reflective way, he dares to let people speak out, no editing interruptions, look at the people, listen to them, is what he asks us viewers to do. Respect. At the same time as Koepp lets his cameraman Thomas Plenert convey beautiful landscape images from the area between Berlin and Stettin.

Warm, interview-based documentary with great personal archive (his own films!) material about a part of Germany that today suffers from unemployment and what might come from that: riots, neo-nazism, racism.

Germany, 2009, 110 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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