Nicaragua, Brazil, Jamaica, Ivory Coasty and Nigeria are just a handful of the countries Andreas Johnsen has visited with his camera. The 37-year-old director loves to travel. Filmmaking for him is about the fun of it, the driving force his curiosity about other cultures and his wish to 'see everything'.
"It's all about people."
Most of all he likes to go somewhere alone without preconceived notions. Talking with people he meets in the street or knows from past trips, he finds his stories on location and films as he researches. This method has produced a story about Nicaragua's abortion law, Murder, and another about a Danish reggae singer's breakthrough in Jamaica, Natasja. The director's latest film, "A Kind of Paradise", is a collective portrait of artists, musicians, poets and other creative firebrands in eight African nations.
"We are fed a negative media image and we tend to look down on Africans. I want to show that Africa is full of possibilties," Johnsen says.
The film includes a look at the Ivorian rap group Coupé Decalé which, Johnsen says, neither sings very well nor has the right instruments. But they love performing and they will sing, so they pull it off. "That's how I work. If I want to make a film, I just do it."
The director's best known film to date, 2009’s "Murder", is the story of at-risk women suffering under Nicaragua's strict ban on abortion. That subject notwithstanding, Johnsen does not consider himself to be a political filmmaker.
"It's all about people. I try to get a feeling of what it's like to be a woman in Nicaragua. I don't take a political position, and I'm not out to judge anyone."