INTERVIEW. When Frank Piasecki Poulsen went to Congo in 2008 to research a film about child workers, he was plunged into a real-life hell of human exploitation at militia-run mines extracting precious minerals for our mobile phones. The director, who never balked at a risky political project, talks about a horrifying reality and the difficult art of getting to see real decision-makers. "Blood in the Mobile" is selected for IDFA's Feature-length Competition.
INTERVIEW. Encountering the extraordinary often feeds thoughts about the ordinary. When she first heard about her two characters' financial downfall and individual confrontations, director Eva Mulvad knew she had to make a film about them. "The Good Life", selected for IDFA's Feature-length Competition, is Mulvad's first film since her 2006 Silver Wolf winner "Enemies of Happiness" about the female Afghan politician Malalai Joya.
INTERVIEW. Phie Ambo's "The Home Front" is a breezy documentary comedy made for Danish prime-time TV, but the title's reference to war is no fluke. The film is about conflict, how they arise and grow, in this case between neighbouring homeowners. The director marvels at the Danes' awkward inability to deal with conflict and the passions unleashed when the facade cracks. Phie Ambo's "Family" won the Joris Ivens Award, and also competing at IDFA were "Growing Up in a Day" and "Mechanical love". "The Home Front" is in the running for Best Mid-length Documentary.
INTERVIEW. The directors at the helm of the rapidly advancing production company Danish Documentary strive to put the money on screen. Eva Mulvad's "The Good Life" and Phie Ambo's "The Home Front" are in competition at IDFA.
INTERVIEW. "You people up there, what kind of work do you do?", Simon asks curiously to the camera in "Masai on the Move". Steering away from the usual cliché Robin Schmidt and Morten Vest's documentary about the three Masai Simon, Elisabeth and Samuel is a thoughtful and poetic portrait of a modern indigenous culture flush with paradoxes. The film is running in IDFA's Mid-length Competition.
INTERVIEW. Kaspar Astrup Schröder captivated audiences last year at IDFA with his stylish portrait of Dr. Nakamats, a famous inventor and cult figure in Japan. This year, the young Danish director is back with a playful and poetic documentary about people and architecture, "My Playground", chronicling the urban phenomenon of parkour.
INTERVIEW. A farming country for the last 6,000 years, Denmark is undergoing radical changes, as industrialisation and streamlining has structured everything down to the smallest detail. In his portrait of a beleaguered pig farmer, Andreas Koefoed has crafted a document that could end up as a closing chapter in Danish farming history. "Pig Country" runs in IDFA's Reflecting Images.
INTERVIEW. How little do you have to scratch a civilisation's veneer before the dark, primeval forces appear? That's a fundamental question for the Danish director Janus Metz, whose documentary "Armadillo" spurred heated debate in the Danish media. The film is selected for IDFA's Reflecting Images.
VOICES. Can the erotic be measured? Can it be framed? Or defined? In his new film, "Erotic Man", more than 10 years in the making, Jørgen Leth touches on these simple yet wide-embracing questions.
INTERVIEW. Michael Madsen's "Into Eternity" is a mesmerizing reflection on the construction of the world's first permanent storage facility for nuclear waste. A reflection that Madsen, who comes from the art world, expresses in images, sound and music rather than logical statements.
INTERVIEW. Bente Milton and Mikkel Stolt set out to do a personal investigation of the online phenomenon Second Life. "My Avatar and Me", selected for IDFA's Reflecting Images, goes with co-director Stolt on a journey into a virtual world, as the lines between fiction and reality gradually blur until the protagonist can no longer distinguish between himself and his computer-generated alter ego Mike Proud.
INTERVIEW. In 2009, the CPH:DOX festival added a new initiative to its already wide scope of projects. DOX:LAB is an experimental filmmaking laboratory bringing together a handpicked group of talented young filmmakers from all corners of the world. DOX:LAB has already resulted in 12 new documentaries, and the experiment continued at this year's CPH:DOX with a fresh group of talents.
INTERVIEW. It comes as a surprise to Dorte Høeg Brask that one out of three Danish children go through a divorce. That 3,000 children lose a parent every year. That children at Danish asylum centres don't have their own teddy bear but have to borrow one from a communal teddy bear box. In Høeg Brask's office at the DFI sits a giant bag of stuffed animals that the commissioner for children's short and documentary films has collected for the asylum children ...
INTERVIEW. Klara Grunning-Harris wasn’t sure she would ever return to her Scandinavian roots, but the post of DFI film commissioner was too much of a temptation. After 17 years in California, the 39-yearold Swedish-Korean-American producer is ready to use her skills and connections in international co-production to strengthen Danish film’s global position.
INTERVIEW. A thorough discussion of development and methods in documentary films is called for to clear up the prevailing confusion of terminology, Jesper Jack says. The Danish Film Institute's short and documentary film commissioner considers the availability of risk-ready development funds to be an important framework for such discussion – and the route to the best films.
IDFA FORUM. "The Invention of Dr. Nakamats" attracted attention at last year's Mid-length competition – now Kaspar Astrup Schröder explores yet another Japanese phenomenon in "I Want to Cheer Up Ltd.", pitching at IDFA Forum together with films by Camilla Nielsson, Andreas Koefoed and Brian McGinn.