ZagrebDox 2024 – Being There

A good advice: If you have the time – go for a festival and stay there for the full period, it goes on. I had the luck – with my wife – to be for the 20th edition of ZagrebDox, invited because I was there for the first edition, where I was a juror for the international AND regional competition. Hard work, he was a tough guy back then, the founder and artistic director, Nenad Puhovski, this year he acted gently and put me in the short film jury – was he thinking that a 76 year old man might have problems with his bladder and would suffer if he was to watch feature length documentaries?

We were there for the whole week enjoying the atmosphere, seeing that there was a good audience, being spoiled with a hotel 5 minutes distance from the Kaptol Boutique Centre, second floor where 5 good cinema halls were waiting for people to be seated in nice and comfortable chairs. Good sound and good screen quality. The program of Nenad Puhovski and his programmers was excellent, what they do is to select the “Best of the Best” without thinking about the films having a premiere as so many festivals do. Which also gave me the chance to catch up on films that I missed at the CPH:DOX and SarajevoFF like the awarded “Four Daughters” by Kaouther Ben Hania and “Silence of Reasons” by Kumjana Novakova, the latter reviewed on this site (https://filmkommentaren.dk/kumjana-novakova-silence-of-reason/). The first one (info for the Danes) to be released in Copenhagen.

The award ceremony of the 20th edition had the fantastic “Kix” by Bálint Révész & Dávid Mikulán as the winner of three awards (review: https://filmkommentaren.dk/democracy-noir-kix/) and the mentioned “Four Daughters” as the number one in the Regional Competition. No Objections. We (I was joined by Croatian Miljenka Cogelja and Tomislav Pavlic) in the short film jury gave an honorary mention to the Estonian film “Boy” by Vladimir Loginov; the film has another Vladimir as the main protagonist, a well known monster, who is making his new year’s speech with the director cutting now and then to a boy, a soldier who stands behind him. 10 minutes long it is, I could not help thinking about Herz Frank and Juris Podnieks 1978 masterpiece “10 minutes Older”.

Our main prize went to “In Transit” by Lucija Brkić (photo) and here is the motivation: “Using a direct documentary language, the director captures the work of a colorful, charismatic young woman who wants to help migrants in need on their way to an uncertain future. It is a film full of talented observation and compassion that conveys moments of one of the biggest problems facing Europe today”. The young activist, a true hero, Tinka Ines Kalajzic, was on stage and made a long speech that you can read on her FB page.

We made it to the Museum of Broken Relationship, what a great invention with all these stories behind what was left when the split up happened. Stories, yes stories like those told at ZagrebDox, which is a festival that meets you with warmth and a program that Nenad Puhovski can be proud of. I am sure he is!

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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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