And what are your thoughts about that? The moderator of the pitching session – sitting in her home somewhere in North America – asks the sales agent sitting in her home in Zürich Switzerland. The pitching team is from Norway, the project deals with people in Peru. The pitchers are in their homes in Norway, I am watching from my corner chair in a garden house in Copenhagen. Where I have been with my wife since beginning of April, watching the garden come to life with a lot of green but also blue and red flowers – and birds singing you good morning, when the sun rises. Pure Monet.

No complaints from me, this is Covid times and we have to take care. And we do. Even if we can only see the dear small ones very little. 

Restrictions also in the documentary world of course. Films are being screened 

online, industry talks are online, webinars the same, interviews, master classes…

No complaints from me… I am used to watch films on my MacBook Pro, when films are to be selected for festivals or to be reviewed on the blog or evaluated for the critics panel at this festival in Krakow; a true pleasure I have been invited to take part in for many years. But I have also been in Krakow, in the cinemas together with fellow viewers to sense that special atmosphere you only find in a cinema hall with large screen, high quality images and good sound. 

Nothing compares!

Back to the industry events going online currently. The other day Zane Balcus from the Baltic Sea Docs wrote so well on this on … “Several of the arguments in favour of or against digital could be experienced at an online visit to Visions du Réel. Nothing of the constituent components of the festival took place physically. I hadn’t planned to go to Nyon this year, but the possibility of attending the festival online made me join it. During the festival, I focused more on the industry section, specifically Pitching du Réel and Docs in Progress. While watching previously pre-recorded presentations assembled in blocks and streamed to the participants, the missing element was the energy of live event – the ability to feel and evaluate project representatives in the course of the presentation, presentation form, trailer nuances on a high-quality and large screen with good quality sound, the interaction of moderator with pitchers and decision makers, audience reaction…” She makes no conclusions, and how could we, it is Pro & Contra:

If you do these events online, you can have more people – and if everyone sits at home, it is greener, maybe more effective, some say, for instance Brigid O’Shea from DOKLeipzig, where all industry activities now will be digital. But the human element of meeting each other, profiting from being physically together in group sessions, being inspired by other filmmakers and their comments, this kind of reciprocity you can’t create online.

The film screenings online, as you have in Krakow this year, have been, in terms of numbers, at other already finished festivals, like CPH:Dox in Copenhagen, Munich, DocuDays in Kiev and DocsBarcelona, still running, overwhelming… almost 120.000 tickets in Copenhagen and almost 140.000 in Barcelona. In the mentioned festivals a new audience has been reached, who has welcomed the chance to sit at home watching documentaries, when cinemas have been closed.

Cinemas… Nothing compares.

They know that in Krakow, they will learn from the online experience, they will have good numbers for the online, they will maybe repeat some of the online screenings and they will have cinema screenings next year again.

Photo by Kasia Wilk from pitching at Krakow FF 2020.  

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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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