Wonderful Losers Win in South Korea

At the third edition of a mountain film festival in South Korea, Lithuanian Arunas Matelis received the award for the best adventure and exploration film. Here are some words about the festival, followed by the clever jury motivation for the award: 

The festival: As the only mountain film festival in Korea, the Ulju Mountain Film Festival aims to collect and introduce today’s important mountain films from around the world, as a platform to investigate the trends and flow of current mountain culture. 

Another goal is to portray people as we live along with nature. There will be trials and conquests, cravings and adventures, challenges and failures – and also successes, conflict and coexistence. Amid it all, we will think about the never ending, nay (?), soaring life.

Jury statement: We are so used to focusing only on the winners. But there are also those who stand behind winners like shadows and help them shine. And there are many more losers than there are winners. So the way we see them becomes more important. The depth and level of skill demonstrated in this film that deals with the aspirations and reality of human beings is truly surprising and outstanding. Taking a dry, composed, observation point of view strikes a stark contrast against a setting bursting with various incidents and noises to complete a fantastic story. Whether it is an athlete in the spotlight or a gregario who stands in their shadow supporting them, they all have aspirations and live in time where despair and success coexist. We do not know if their life is a blessing or a curse but this film is truly a blessing for us. Because we are able to live and breathe with them. We wish to share this blessing with those who do their role in supporting winners and the ‘Wonderful Losers’ who receive this award. Written by jury member Lee Jae-Kyoo.


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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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