Berlin has served as the professional home base for Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset and their conceptual art practices for a decade. In that respect the Berlin Film Festival did seem the suitable launch pad for Jannik Splidsboel's "How Are You" where the film premiered in the Panorama section in February.
Now the documentary is selected for Hot Docs as one of no less than seven Danish films to be showcased during the Toronto festival 28 April – 8 May.
The Fourth Plinth
One of Elmgreen and Dragset's coming projects is "Powerless Structure, Fig. 101" that will, from May 2012, take over the Fourth Plinth on London's Trafalgar Square as part of a public art installation. The statue consists of a child in golden bronze on top of a rocking horse, supposedly a comment on the traditional war monument.
"How Are You" shows the artists' "unpretentious, realistic and humanistic approach to art", as one critic wrote at the film's Danish release. Splidsboel goes back to the very beginning when Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset met at a gay bar in Copenhagen and embarked on a private and professional partnership that culminated in the duo's awardwinning Nordic pavilion at the 2009 Venice Biennale, "The Collectors".
"We are very much control freaks in our work," says Elmgreen, "so it was like throwing ourselves over the precipice to let Jannik Splidsboel take over and have him make a film about us."
High profile premieres
In all, seven Danish films are selected for Hot Docs this year:
Among the festival's 26 high-profile Special Presentations are Frank Piasecki Poulsen's "Blood in the Mobile" and Eva Mulvad's "The Good Life", both IDFA contestants.
Showing alongside "How Are You" in Hot Docs' art section Next is "Empire North" by Jakob Boeskov. Shot on a mobile phone, the film features the conceptual artist himself who, in the style of "The Yes Men", embarks on a controversial project involving an ID sniper rifle meant to register political dissidents.
Finally, competing in the International Spectrum programme are "5 Pictures of a Father" by Nadia Josefine El Said and "The naked of Saint Petersburg" by Ada Bligaard Søby. Also by Bligaard Søby is "American Losers", selected for Ripping Reality which celebrates documentaries from the last decade.
Hot Docs 28 April – 8 May 2011