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Claus Mueller


Claus Mueller is a Film Festival Ambassador to filmfestivals.com

He is based in New York where he covers the festival scene.


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New York: DOC Fortnight 2021

Continuing 19 years of unabated success, the film department of New York’s MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) celebrated 2021 its showcase of the most innovative nonfiction films from around the globe by known and new filmmakers from March 18 – April 5.  The program included 18 documentaries, four shorts, and special projects with most being North America premiers alongside two world premieres. The festival was presented online as virtual cinema, covering a broad spectrum of themes w...

Austin: From SXSW 2021: two outstanding features

With the objective of “helping creative people achieve their goals” the South by Southwest Conference and Festival (SXSW) was established in 1987 in Austin, Texas with an emphasis on the merger of  interactive productions, the film ,and music industries. Like other festivals, SXSW embraced digital platforms for its conferences, music showcases  exhibitions, networking opportunities and film screenings in 2021. SXSW Online 2021 took place from March 16-20, though conferenc...

Berlinale 2021: European Film Market

The 2021 Berlinale is being held in two parts, the European Film Market (EFM), restricted to  the industry and the press, from March 1-5, and the public film festival, the Summer Special, scheduled for June 9-20 in Berlin cinemas and open air venues with jury members and award winners. The second component, if staged, will continue Berlinale’s tradition as the world’s biggest public film festival.  To date, the EFM has been very successful, with achievement similar to tha...

Sundance Film Festival 2021 Film Highlights

As I noted in my earlier Context and Data report about Sundance 2021, the festival delivered an effective hybrid adaptation to the rapidly changing film universe by providing national and international online streaming, in-person screenings in Utah and independent art cinemas, as well as using drive-ins in numerous locations throughout the U.S. Sundance generated the largest audience it has ever experienced, reaching a total audience of 600,000 viewers, with event participants close to triplin...

Sundance Film Festival 2021 : Context and Data

by Claus Mueller, filmexchange@gmail.com  New York The Sundance 2021 festival is covered in  two parts. In this first part the new context for Sundance 2021 is discussed; its customized festival model, the audience Sundance reached this year, and a listing of productions purchased to date, as well as the sponsors supporting this year’s edition. In the second part, which will be posted next week, I will review several features and documentaries. The radical film and telev...

About Executing Eichmann, Florence Jammot, USA, 2015, documentary [Icarus Films, New York/ovid.tv platform]

For David Ben Gurion the Eichmann trial had a crucial importance educating a generation of young Israelis and immigrants from the Middle East who fifteen years after the Holocaust had no direct exposure  or experience  with the Nazi crimes.   Given a voice to the victims of the holocaust  would establish a firm relation to the Jewish past and suffering and create a new Jewish man, an Israeli  who would never again submit to  oppression. Shaping a  collec...

New York: New Directors New Films 2020 at MoMA

  In its  2020  hybrid format, New York Film Festival reached a national online audience  of 70,000  in addition to local  drive in viewers and retained its status as a show case for the most important contemporary films. The 49th edition of 3the New Directors / New Films (ND/NF) festival staged from   December 9-20  by the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center (FLC) presented the perspective of how filmmakers from all over th...

Once Upon a Time in Venezuela, Anabel Rodriguez Rios, Venezuela, 2019

Submitted as the Venezuela official feature entry for the next Oscar, this outstanding documentary filmed over  seven years portrays the slow death of a small village of Congo Mirado situated in the Maracaibo lake, next to the largest oil producing region of Venezuela.  Anabel Rios’ production focuses on the destruction of an impoverished island community by forces beyond its control. Such a presentation could be filmed about the fate of poor communities in many other  cou...

New York: The Other Israel Film Festival 2020

The Carole Zabar Center for Film at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan Center on the City’s upper west side has been instrumental in establishing the Israel Film Center (IFC) streaming platform.  Several annual issue oriented film festivals at the JCC Center are now programmed online and IFC  has used an innovative and unique approach to promoting Israeli culture in the United States.  IFC provides a significant contribution to better understanding of the contemporary prob...

New York DOC NYC 2020 Wrap

The New York City Documentary film festival (DOC NYC) was held from November 11 – December 9 including an Encore period and the new short list selection. For more than 19 days the, 11th edition of DOC NYC and its new online format served an audience throughout the United States and Puerto Rico which has grown significantly compared to last year’s theatrical edition. The program had 122 features and 102 shorts from 35 countries which wer...

New York DOC NYC 2020

The 11th edition of the DOC NYC, the largest North American documentary film festival was held online from November 11-19 with productions available throughout the United State. The festival included more than 200 films and events this year, featuring 23 world premieres, 12 productions opening for the first time in North America and 7 new to the US. For the US audience, the festival was extended by a 10-day Encore through November 29 featuring more than 70 production. Below please find a revie...

New York, Asian American International Film Festival, 2020

The 43rd Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) was held from October 1-11 entirely accessible online. In this new format the  43rd AAIFF celebrated Asian – American  and Pacific Islander producers and directors and the stories presented by their films.  AAIFF is the oldest and longest running  Asian American film festival in the United States and as distinct from other festivals offering similar productions, this festival is closely tied to the large &nbs...

DOC NYC 2020 First Thoughts

DOC NYC is holding its eleventh edition online this year from November 11-19. The festival remains the largest North American documentary film festival and offers viewers over 200 films and numerous events. The program includes 107 feature length documentaries, with 23  world premieres,  12  international or North American premieres, and 7  United States premiers, and many short films. A detailed review of the documentary festiva...

2020 New York Asian Film Festival

The widespread embrace of streaming, the growth of established platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, the establishment of new streamers such as Disney+ and HBO Max, and numerous smaller platforms set up by distributors and independent interest groups fundamentally shifted the film and television market. This shift has been accelerated by the rapidly rising sales of large smart television sets with superb image resolution and sound. The pandemic, now in its seventh month, has fastened our fa...

Heimat is a Space in Time, 2019, Germany

The German Austrian production Heimat is a Space in Time (Heimat ist ein Raum aus Zeit) directed and written by Thomas Heise was probably the most challenging selection in the  2019  New York film festival program. Screened in the Projections section it premiered in the United States and was discussed as outstanding by festival insiders though very few had seen it and the US distributor Icarus films had not announced release plans. Heise’s difficult production do...

Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2020

Organized by the Human Rights Watch, the annual film festival is one of the most important international issue-oriented film festivals providing up to date, mostly empirically based, documentation on current human rights issues throughout the world. The Human Rights Watch was organized in 1978 with European and Central Asia Divisions which are complemented now by Africa, Central Asia, Middle East, North Africa, and United States sections. The topics covered, with research and regular reports, ...

WeAreOne: A Global International Film Festival

As with other public institutions ranging from the arts to education, the coronavirus pandemic has forced the film festival industry to reorient the delivery of its services. Large established festivals have been forced to cancel or postpone their programs, or search for hybrid solutions, combining restricted public screenings, following local pandemic rules, with digital screenings, frequently aimed at selecting target audiences of distributors and buyers. Some of the smaller n...

Farewell to Movie Theaters?

The impact of streaming has been discussed in most professional meetings long before the onset of the covid-19 pandemic and has been an essential topic.  At the 2020 Berlin Film Festival and Market debates on distribution and funding were a key issue. However, the impact of the ongoing pandemic on the viewing habits of the audience is still rarely reviewed. The confluence of several factors has created a significant and growing rupture in traditional film consumption. Rapid expansion...

The Painted Bird, Vaclav Marhoul, Czechoslovakia, 2019

  Opening with a brief sequence of a  boy trying to protect small animal being chased through the forest by two boys that steal and kill the animal, this extraordinary feature shot in black and white on 35-mm depicts a nameless Jewish boy’s years long passage through somewhere in eastern Europe towards the end of World War II. Marhoul’s film is based on Jerzy Kosinski’s novel. THE PAINTED BIRD is stripped down to its essential elements and shows the ...

Planet of the Humans

  Directed by Jeff Gibbs and Ozzie Zehner with Michael Moore as the executive producer   the documentary PLANET OF THE HUMANS was screened on the eve of Earth Day April 20, 2020 and subsequently shown free of charge on YouTube and viewed by early May by 5 million people. The documentary received a fresh Rotten Tomatoes rating of 68 out of 100. The film premiered at the Traverse City Film Festival on July 2019 but gained notoriety after its screening on You T...

China: Issue Oriented Films

Access to films and documentaries covering health and other issues has been problematic for the Chinese audience. The introduction of digital platforms outside of theaters and film festivals offer a viewing medium that is not subject to uniform political censorship. As changes in the management of principal state organizations covering radio, film, television and print media have shown, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has taken a stronger and more directive role. In some cases, if the m...

Post Berlinale 2020 Report

The rise of the rapid distribution and exhibition changes driven by the challenge of global screening services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu and their deep pocketed impact provided the background for the 2020 Berlinale.  Their role in the funding of film productions and national as well as global distribution had already been passionately discussed during the last two Berlinales before the 70th edition took place from February 20 to March 1, 2020 under...

Post Berlinale 2020 Dieter Kosslick

After close to two decades as the director of the Berlin Film Festival, the Berlinale, Dieter Kosslick, who had expressed some desire to extend his contract, was replaced by Carlo Chatrian, former artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival.  Chatrian will have the same position at the Berlinale and Mariette Risssenbeek, former managing director of German Films. will be the new executive director.  Kosslick combined both positions during his service but expressed already...

We Are One A Global Film Festival

Major Film Festivals Across the World Join with YouTube to Announce  We Are One: A Global Film Festival Starting May 29   The 10-day digital festival, produced and organized by Tribeca Enterprises, will feature programming from 20 festivals including Berlin International Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Venice Film Festival and many more, enabling audiences to experience films from around the world   Festival to benefit World Health Organization Covid-19 Solidarity Resp...

New York Outsider Art Fair 2020

  The maverick Outsider Art Fair was founded in 1993 covering a market gap and instantly grew by responding to an already existing collecting community tripling its attendance by 2013. After its acquisition by Wide Open Arts, a curatorial and seminar program was added the Outsider Art Fair opening its first French edition in Paris in October 2013 for a European audience attracted to the work of self-aught artists in the art brut tradition.   The New York 2020 Outsider Art Fair was...

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