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Leena Pasanen

Leena Pasanen doesn’t need much of an introduction as she is already well-known in the international documentary business. In her current position as Head of Programmes at YLE Teema, she has distinguished herself as one of the most internationally oriented and enthusiastic commissioning editors in Europe, especially known for her support of new talent. Leena Pasanen has participated in numerous EDN workshops as a tutor and panellist, as she has at Discovery Campus, Eurodoc and Television Business School.

How did her path lead her to the directorship of EDN?

«Actually it’s Tue’s fault [Tue Steen Müller-ed.] I got involved. I met him in 1999, he invited me to Nordisk Forum and ever since, Tue has been inviting me to EDN events, pushing me more and more and challenging me. He lured me into this world of co-production and I am very grateful for that. So for me EDN was the only logical next step.»

How do you see the current climate for documentaries?

«It is very different in different countries. In Scandinavia where I come from it is pretty good, we have a good support system, the TV channels have primetime slots for documentaries, it is working well, we can see results. Then, on the other side, there are countries which don’t support their filmmakers at all. This is a challenging situation, but I strongly believe that when there is a good story, it will be told. More and more young people are making docs. I see their passion even when they have to struggle very hard to get the financing. We shall use examples from well-functioning countries to encourage the situation everywhere – not only in Europe, but bring the interest even further.»

«When stories are told they do find an audience. Not only the big, instant box-office successes, such as Michael Moore’s films and “Super Size Me”, but also in a broader area and slower state. I see the audience in cinemas, in festivals and, as a commissioning editor, I get feedback from our viewers. They really appreciate the films. There is a need for documentaries.»

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