Zelig – First Year

There they were, 30 new faces at the Zelig film school, and I was to be the first teacher of their three year long education at the school for ”documentary, television and new media”. Thank you Emanuele Vernillo and Heidi Gronauer for your trust in me to give the students inspiration to watch films, read books and study painters and photographers, who know about composition and use of light and shadow.

I had four days to motivate the students and to make them talk. About themselves and about what they saw. It was forbidden to say ”I like” or ”I don’t like”. We were looking for descriptions, impressions, analysis. They did so very well.

”My” film menu included Robert Frank, Wojciech Staron, Sylvain Biegeleisen, Herz Frank, Jon Bang Carlsen, Jørgen Leth, Viktor Kossakovsky, Piotr Stasik, Michael Glawogger… and a bombardment of other names and titles they should study. Auteur documentaries – and the youngest student of them all, 19 years old, knew where that term comes from.

And a game at the end: form groups of three, you have two hours to find a topic, put the proposal down on paper and pitch it to your colleagues and me the next day. They did so and the teacher was impressed. Themes: dreams, a monument in Bolzano, a tour with the cable car up to Ober Bozen, rituals, public transport when the cable car is out for inspection, grafitti artists, Schüttelbrot, a toxic mushroom, a vegan chef. One team – the one with the monument – even managed to make a two minute teaser for the presentation. I ran into them in the evening and took the picture.


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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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