ZagrebDox Pitching, East Beats West

15 documentary projects were presented at the ZagrebDox pitching thursday the 28th of February. There were 9 commissioning editors around the table. 4 from the West (Arte, YLE, ORF, Jan Vrijman Fund) and 4 from the region, from the Bosnian, Croatian and Macedonian public channel plus from B92, the eternal opposition channel when it comes to Serbian political reality. On top of that a representative from the new Croatian Audiovisual Institute that is to distribute public money for film.

Only the Croatian television seems to have funding for independent productions, the others can offer archive material as their contribution. A generous award from the ZagrebDox festival (5000€) was given to the project ”Village Without Women” by director Srdan Sarenac from Serbia and producer Estelle Robin from France. The price is for the further development of a film project that is very promising and has a big potential for travelling internationally.

The jury for the price was Cecilia Lidin from EDN, Gena Teodosievska from Macedonian Television and Franz Grabner from ORF (Austria). Let me – I was moderator for the session and trained the pitchers two days in advance together with Cecilia Lidin, the best moderator North of the Alps – point at three other projects with an international potential and high film quality: ”Djangarchi” by Croatian team Zoran Krema and Tiha Gudac, ”And Where is Valter” by Bosnian award winner Jasmila Zbanic and ”Cinema Komunisto” by Mila Turajlic.

The latter, having been on the market for a long time, got the ORF on board during the pitching session. Yes, again you can say without hesitation: East Beats West. It is from this region and the rest of the Eastern Europe that the original stories come with a clear artistic ambition. Here there is still a wildness in approach, close to the free documentary that we all want to see.

Link to ZagrebDox site: Still: Blog writer Tue Steen Müller at the pitching forum.

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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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