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Claus Mueller

Claus Mueller is  Senior New York Correspondent

New York City based Claus Mueller reviews film festivals and related issues and serves as a  senior editor for Society and Diplomatic Review.

As a professor emeritus he covered at Hunter College / CUNY social and media research and is an accredited member of the US State Department's Foreign Press Center.



The Chinese Film Market in 2023

US film box office revenues in China are declining and only two films from the US were among the top ten hits in China last year. The lion's share of the Chinese audiences seems to have shifted their preference to domestic films. Before the pandemic, it was expected that in any given year at least five US films would be among the top 10 movies in China. The available data from 2014-2018 confirms this. However, in 2019 only two US films achieved the same success. The same held true in 2021 ...

New York Asian Film Festival, 2023

Considered as the leading comprehensive and best curated North American international film festival focusing on Asian production, the 22nd edition of the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) was held for 17 days at Film at Lincoln Center (FLC) and the New Jersey Barrymore Film Center under the aegis of the New York Asian Film Foundation and FLC from July 14-30, 2023. Samuel Jamier, President of the Foundation and Executive Director of NYAFF noted after the conclusion of NYAFF that “2023 ...

Walter Kaufmann: What a Life, Germany, 2021

This superbly crafted biographical documentary by Karin Kaper and Dirk Szuszien premiered in North America in a May 2023 screening arranged in New York by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung and the Leo Baeck Institute. The focus of the film, writer Walter Kaufmann, passed away at the age of 97 in 2021. Every stage of his life is chronicled and accompanied by his visual participation and recorded commentaries from his texts including childhood and youth; passage as a Jewish child refugee from Germany ...

New York: Tribeca Festival 2023

Tribeca Festival 2023 was held from June 7-18, with an extension to July 2 through the Tribeca at Home online platform.  The films presented included 109 feature films from 127 filmmakers and 36 countries, with 93 world premieres, 43 first time directors, and 53 documentaries depicting a broad spectrum of sociopolitical issues, including spotlights on the Ukraine and Iran. Short films were selected from a record number of 8,096 submissions and of them 76 selected shorts were presented in ...

Hot Docs 2023: Theatre of Violence

Each year there is a growth of issue-oriented documentaries, but in 2023 Hot Docs included THEATRE OF VIOLENCE (ToV) directed by Lukasz Konopa and Emile Langballe which outranked most of the other productions. This Danish-German 2023 documentary had a Special Presentation with its North American premiere and excelled in posing in a persuasive and impressive manner fundamental questions about the confrontation between the Western European based system of detached criminal justice, the Internati...

HotDocs 2023

With respect to the number of productions selected, the size of its audience, and global concerns, the Toronto based Canadian International Documentary Festival, better known as HotDocs, has retained its position as the largest documentary festival, conference, and market in North America. HotDocs celebrated its 30th anniversary this April 27 to May 9. A record number of 2,848 productions were submitted of which 214 were selected for the 13 HotDocs sections. They originated from 72 countries a...

New Directors / New Films 2023

The annual New Directors / New Films festival organized by the New York Museum of Modern Art and Film at Lincoln Center has maintained its leading position as the film festival for avant-garde global filmmaking.  It was held in the theatres of MoMA and FLC from March 28 to April 9, 2023. ND/NF provides a rare perspective unmatched by other film festivals, focusing on the innovative approaches new and future filmmakers are embracing. It has been providing this enlightening service for mor...

New York: Doc Fortnight 2023

Considered a mandatory festival event for innovative and provocative documentaries, the annual Doc Fortnight was presented again from February 22 to March 7 this year by the Museum of Modern Art.  The program included 15 feature and 8 short films. As in past editions, the festival included U.S. and international films reflecting current socio-political changes and ruptures, embracing new production approaches, and the visual analysis of themes not covered before. Many selections premiered i...

DOC NYC 2022

DOC NYC is the largest North American documentary festival and returned for the 13th edition in 2022, presenting an amazing success story for a relatively young festival. DOC NYC is produced and presented by the IFC Center, a division of AMC Networks. It was held in person from November 9-17 at IFC Center, SVA Theatre, Cinepolis Chelsea. DOC NYC continued online through November 27 with most of the festival’s films available for streaming through their own platform. The program included ...

Other Israel Film Festival 2022

The Other Israel Film Festival (OIFF) was established in 2007 in the Carole Zabar Center for Film at the Marlene Meyerson Jewish Community Center on Manhattan. Connected with several other film festivals located there, and the expanding Israel Film Center streaming site with more than 250 productions, the Manhattan JCC is probably the largest North American media center providing access to Israeli and Jewish media and culture. As distinct from other festivals with related themes, OIFF is excep...

New York Film Festival 2022 wrapped

  Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the New York Film Festival (NYFF) continues to rank as one of the most important film festivals in the United States. NYFF 2022 operates very differently from its early 60s origins and the expansive program reflects this. One of the co-founders of NYFF, Amos Vogel, quoted by Manohla  Dargis, emphasized in 1965 that the mission of the festival was to reflect the most interesting  trends and new works in global film making. For Vogel, the comme...

Toronto International Film Festival 2022

The growing audience of major and lesser-known film festivals certainly does not signal the end of the cinema. It mirrors the growing number of movies which are produced and the social and commercial attractions of film festivals. Though one should keep in mind that over a twenty-year period through 2018 only about four percent of independent films in the Unites States generated a profit and that just ten percent were ever shown in theaters.  The relative decline of independent films refl...

AAIFF 2022 - Asian American International Film Festival

Asian CineVision founded the Asian American International Film Festival in 1977 which turned into the nation’s longest running film festival for the best independent productions from the Asian diaspora and overseas. The festival is in New York City, the second largest Asian-American market in the USA. Running from August 3- 13, 2022, AAIFF its 45th year and embraced the hybrid format with in-person screenings at the Asia Society and online streaming nationally and globally. AAIFF has mai...

New York Asian Film Festival 2022

Ranked among the best New York film festivals, the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) is characterized by a superbly curated selection of classic and new popular productions from Asia. Held from July 15-31, 2022, at Lincoln Center and the Asia Society, NYAFF celebrated its 20th edition. NYAFF started in in Chinatown with martial arts films, moved its program to the Anthology Film Archives in 2002 under the Asian Films are Go! Name, and relocated to Lincoln Center as its main venue in 2020. N...

Mongolia Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia 2022

Mongolia was represented at Venice Biennale 2022 for the fourth time, with a pavilion featuring its most prominent artist Munkhtsetseg Jalkhaajav, also known as Mugi. Mugi has gained an international reputation for her exposure of essential contributions to the growth of Mongolian contemporary art. Mugi graduated from the Fine Arts College of Mongolia in 1987 and studied at the Minsk Academy of Fine Arts but dropped out in 1993 because she felt the academy lacked a creative perspective. Mugi h...

New York: Tribeca Festival 2022 wrap

The Tribeca festival featured 111 films and 16 online premieres produced by 151 filmmakers from 40 countries from June 9-26. 88 films were world premieres, 50 were directed by first-time film makers, and 46 percent of the 127 films presented were from female directors. Tribeca also provided a stellar home screening platform for U.S. audiences during the festival, with numerous narrative, documentary, and short films available.   The festival continued its tradition of selecting outstandi...

Serbia: Father, Sdran Golubovic, 2020

Premiering in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival, SERBIA won several awards for its realistic portrayal of a father’s struggle to reclaim his children, removed from him because the local welfare office declared him incompetent to take care of them. Nikola is an underemployed semi-skilled blue collar worker, denied the compensation he was owed when he lost his last job.  Because of the seemingly insurmountable problems they face, his wife tries to kill herself and is ad...

Tolyatti Adrift, Russia, 2022, Laura Sistero, Spain

Premiering at the Toronto Hot Docs documentary film festival, TOLYATTI ADRIFT is a persuasive account of the decline of Tolyatti, a city created by the Soviet Union in 1966 as a response to the US car industry and built by Russian and Italian engineers. Built on virtually empty lands, huge car factories and a large city were constructed. The city was named after Palmiro Togliatti, leader of the Italian Communist party, and manufacturing was carried out with the Fiat corporation building Lada c...

Hot Docs 2022

Founded in 1996 and based in Toronto,  Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival has developed into the largest North American documentary film festival.  As a no-profit enterprise, it has the objective of supporting Canadian and international filmmakers and fostering excellence in documentary filmmaking. From April 28 – May 8, 2022, the 27th edition of Hot Docs was held, organized as a hybrid festival with live audiences in Toronto and nationwide online streaming of...

New York: New Directors / New Films 2022

The 51st edition of  New Directors/New films (ND/NF) was held at Film at Lincoln Center and The Museum of Modern Art venues from April 20 – May 1.  ND/NF presented innovative productions by first time Avant Guard directors and guiding reflections by established filmmakers.  As the program has consistently demonstrated over the past fifty years,  the art form of cinema broadens our perception of  society and our understanding of persistent socioeconomic problems i...

The Invisible Pilot, HBO Max

The common view that actual events are more compelling than fictional stories is rarely translated into documentary programs. The HBO documentary series THE INVISIBLE PILOT produced by Emmy award honoree filmmakers Phil Lon and Ari Mark delivers this message. Central to the three- part program is the life story of 81-year old Gary Betzner. The program covers his professional accomplishments, financial success in many areas, his numerous marriages with large families, and his tim...

Their Algeria / Leur Algerie; France, Algeria, Switzerland, Qatar; Lina Soualem, 2020

It took a long time before the Western powers and Japan engaged in a critical examination of their colonial pasts and the crimes they committed in the occupied regions. France, which colonized Algeria from 1830 to 1962, is a case in point. The best known documentation is the 1966 feature Battle of Algiers by Gillo Pontecorvo which illustrates the escalating violence and atrocities committed by French armed forces against civilians and the response by the liberation movement FLN. Several years ...

New York Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2022

As distinct from other European countries, French Cinema has a strong presence in the United States, as evidenced by many French films and, to a lesser extent, French series, found in major and minor streaming services. The French presence is also maintained by the close to fifty French film festivals in North America with the extensive  support from French governmental institutions that consider French cinema as a crucial part of French culture. Compared to France, the German global film...

The Territory, Alex Pritz, Documentary, 2022

Alex Pritz’s case study of an indigenous Brazilian Amazon rain forest tribe focuses on the perspectives of the tribe, defending their existence and their forest. The documentary reflects the current systemic problems faced by many others in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia; the disappearance of rain forests, destruction and disregard of indigenous cultures, absence of medical services for tribal and other minority groups, and the domination of policy making by powerful economic int...

Sundance Film Festival 2022

Organized by the  non-profit Sundance Institute, the annual Sundance Film Festival (SFF) has been held for  close to forty years, serving independent film makers and supporting their creative projects. SFF 2022 took place from January 20 -30 and was a fully remote festival as opposed to the 2021 hybrid approach with its mix of in-person viewing exposure and streaming options. SFF 2022 provided viewing options for its audience with the on-line platform and satellite casting  cura...


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