FILM #76

IDFA issue / November 2012 / My Afghanistan, Solar Mamas, Mercy Mercy, Dance for Me, A Normal Life, The Ghost of Piramida, Stealing Africa, Free the Mind, The Record Breaker

Meetings and conversations

Meetings and conversations

EDITORIAL. In early November we celebrated the 10th anniversary of Copenhagen's CPH:DOX film festival, and now IDFA is turning 25. Aren't we lucky to have them, these generous festivals and their brave and tireless organisers who take reality, art and audiences seriously?

The other side

The other side

IDFA. Janus Metz's groundbreaking "Armadillo" showed us the war in Afghanistan from the point of view of the young soldiers entering combat for the first time. Now journalist and filmmaker Nagieb Khaja presents us with an entirely different perspective in "My Afghanistan", which takes a close-up look at the lives of ordinary Afghans through images shot by themselves on mobile phones. The film has its first screening at IDFA on Sunday 18 November.

The war seen from an Afghan village

The war seen from an Afghan village

ESSAY. Janus Metz sparked heated debate in 2010 with "Armadillo", a film that showed the cynical mechanisms of war among a squad of Danish soldiers in Afghanistan. We asked the director to give his take on Nagieb Khaja's "My Afghanistan", a film that shows the war from the other side.

Condoning crime in the name of mercy

Condoning crime in the name of mercy

IDFA. Director Katrine W. Kjær had always been convinced that adoption was a compassionate act guided by noble institutions. Now that she has finished "Mercy, Mercy" about Masho and Roba, whose parents give them up for adoption so they can have a better life in Denmark, she is left with profound wonder at the lack of ethics in the international adoption system. The film is nominated in the IDFA Competition for First Appearance.

Stindbergian gravity

IDFA. Mikala Krogh has been "the serious one" ever since she was a teenager and hosted radio shows for children and teens. The same gravity permeates her documentaries, Per Juul Carlsen notes. Krogh's new film "A Normal Life" is about a family in a state of emergency. The film has its first screening at IDFA on Sunday 18 November.

My slightly dim-witted friend

My slightly dim-witted friend

IDFA. Phie Ambo started filming her family and the world around her when she was 22. She never looked at the footage, but simply used the camera to help her understand the world. Later on, the same social awkwardness helped her make her documentaries. IDFA veteran Ambo has a new film out, "Free the Mind", the second in her trilogy about the inner life of humans.

Picking up the slack

Picking up the slack

PROFILE. Four filmmakers – Eva Mulvad, Pernille Rose Grønkjær, Mikala Krogh and Phie Ambo – each own a fifth of the Danish Documentary production company and keep all the rights to their films. That gives the fifth partner, producer Sigrid Dyekjær, a free hand to go unconventional ways.

Decay and creation, hand in hand

Decay and creation, hand in hand

IDFA. Today all is quiet, but there was a time when Piramida, in the Svalbard archipelago, was an industrious mining town, where life blossomed for Alexander and his small family. Andreas Koefoed's music documentary "The Ghost of Piramida" tracks the Danish band Efterklang as they explore the aural ambience of the site and reanimates the past through the old Russian's grainy 8mm footage, set to the trio's melancholy tunes. The film is nominated in the IDFA Melkweg Competition for Music Documentary.

The price of perfection

The price of perfection

IDFA. Katrine Philp's first feature-length documentary, "Dance for Me", follows a pair of young elite dancers who have a hard time finding their groove outside the dance floor. The film is celebrating its international premiere in IDFA's First Appearance Competition.

An excercise in affecting the hearts and minds of millions

An excercise in affecting the hearts and minds of millions

WHY POVERTY. After half a century of aid, why are so many people still living in poverty? This is the central question driving the ground-breaking documentary series "Why Poverty?" which investigates the complexities and challenges of inequality through eight stories from around the globe. Demetrios Matheou talks to the three producers about how a documentary series can hope to change anything.

When do we stop caring?

When do we stop caring?

WHY POVERTY. "Some of them make you embarrassed, upset, outraged even, but I think the deepest feeling the 'Why Poverty?' films impart is they make you feel part of a global community," says Klara Grunning-Harris, film commissioner at the Danish Film Institute which has helped fund the production of all eight documentaries in the series.

Women on Power

Women on Power

WHY POVERTY. Can you teach illiterate women from developing countries to build solar panels? That's exactly what a project in India aims to do. "Solar Mamas" tracks a Jordanian woman's struggle to educate herself and improve conditions in her native Bedouin village. The film is part of the international "Why Poverty?" project raising questions about a complex global issue.

Scrutinising a Swiss Mining Venture

Scrutinising a Swiss Mining Venture

WHY POVERTY. In "Stealing Africa", Christoffer Guldbrandsen investigates how multinational companies are draining money out of Africa and into tax havens in the rich countries. The filmmaker wants to shake up our image of a well-meaning West unilaterally contributing development aid and donor funds to the poverty-stricken continent. The film is part of the international "Why Poverty?" project raising questions about a complex global issue.

The happiest man in the world

The happiest man in the world

IDFA. Brian McGinn, a connoisseur of quirky characters, picked Mette Heide of Denmark to be his producer after seeing a Heide-produced film about the eccentric Japanese inventor Dr Nakamats. "The Record Breaker" is a documentary comedy about Ashrita Furman, a 56-year-old New Yorker who holds the world record for most world records. The film has its first screening at IDFA on Saturday 17 November. 

Deconstructing a genocide

Deconstructing a genocide

PROFILE. Depicting the genocide in Indonesia in 1965 from the point of view of the perpetrators, "The Act of Killing" has caused an uproar in Indonesia and the West. "If you want to understand where genocide comes from, you have to find out what drives the perpetrators," says Signe Byrge Sørensen, the film's Danish producer.

If you can manage a children's birthday party...

MINI-SURVEY. Danish female documentary producers are making a mark like never before, in Denmark and internationally. Seven out of the nine Danish films at IDFA this year are produced by women.

New Danish trans-media

New Danish trans-media

TREND. Trans-media and cross-media have been around since the 1960s, but it has never been surrounded by so much attention as now. In this development, the film industry is central. New storytelling forms, new players and new financing and revenue opportunities are waiting to be explored. FILM looks at current Danish trans-media initiatives.

Curiosity and wonder

Curiosity and wonder

PROFILE. He always brings the same poetry collection, a Navajo silver clip in his right side pocket and a lens cleaning cloth in his left. He says he's autistic about packing his suitcase and car. And he has a sixth sense enabling him to spot troublemakers by the cut of their suit. Henrik Bohn Ipsen is a director of photography on two films screening at IDFA, "Mercy, Mercy" and "My Afghanistan".

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DFI-FILM Issue 

Susanna Neimann

Editor
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Annemarie Hørsman
Editor
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Lars Fiil-Jensen
Editorial team
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larsf@dfi.dk

Anders Budtz-Jørgensen
Editorial team
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andersbj@dfi.dk

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