Saturday, February 20, 2005. An attempt to

rehearse the opening of ZagrebDox, which

should start tomorrow at the Europa cinema.

Four technicians are bringing in the “beast” of an

HD projector that came from Switzerland to the

top of the auditorium. It is too big for the stairs

leading to the projection booth. We connect the

only Croatian HDCam VCR, insert the cassette

with Herzog’s White Diamond, press “play” and –

nothing. Some kind of code is needed, which we

don’t have. It’s Saturday and we’re starting a frantic

search for a producer, distributor, author… don’t

panic, but the situation is serious…

Sunday. Everything went fine. We screened the first

HD cinema documentary. And it was by Herzog!

Congratulations from the audience who didn’t

really believe that an author’s documentary could

be so exciting. After a drink and a small concert by

Afion, we leave the cinema. It’s starting to snow.

The statue of poet Tino Ujević gets a white ‘hat’…

Cut. Twenty years later. We showed over 2,800

films, our programme was watched by more than

350,000 spectators, we hosted over 6,500 guests.

Based on all this, our festival became the only

Croatian and one of the few worldwide festivals

whose winner directly qualifies for the European

Film Academy Award.

Over the past twenty years, ZagrebDox has also

introduced a number of novelties to our, as well as

to the world festival scene, such as:

• festival programming outside the usual “festival”

summer-autumn period

• parallel showing of equivalent programmes in

several theatres at the same time

• duration of the festival throughout the whole

week, with the screening of the all award-winning

films on the last day

• focusing on films, with a minimum of other

entertainment content

• showing, although we are a festival that charges

tickets, the entire competition in one, free-of-

charge cinema, for people of lower income

• from the first festival edition we introduced a

workshop for development, and from the second,

pitching of future documentary projects

• as far as we know, we are the only documentary

festival that has a “happy dox” category in which

we show positive, entertaining and goodhearted


• we are the only ones, as far as we know, who have

introduced a special award for the authors over

55 years of age and thereby tried to point out the

values of “expendable” authors.

There is more – first of all, there are literally

hundreds of people who invest their knowledge,

time and energy in the success of the festival. Once

again – thank you!

However, marking the twentieth edition of

ZagrebDox, we have to face the fact that director

Pirjo Honkasalo tackles in the winning film of the

first edition – Three Rooms of Melancholia – about

Russian boys who are brainwashed to go to war in

Chechnya. To destroy, to be destroyed themselves.

If it reminds you of something that is happening

today, after twenty years, it means that, like us, you

recognise the reality of the world we live in.

And the documentary film addresses reality – as well

as this year’s ZagrebDox, which begins with a film

about corruption in the elections, and ends with a

doc about the tragic Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Come and join us. Let’s watch movies together. Let’s

talk about them. Let’s exchange opinions…

It might not look like much. But it is important.

Because, as long as we talk, it’s good. Even if we

disagree. Especially then.

Nenad Puhovski – founder & artistic director of ZagrebDox

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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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