The Film Festival is up and running

Opening speech 2011

Charlie Kaufman – Honorary Dragon Award



It is less than 17 hours before the opening of the 34th Göteborg International Film Festival. But it is a long way before I´ll arrive.
I have been at the Sundance Film Festival and on my way back a snowstorm over New York stopped my the scheduled flight.
I´m now in the hometown of the Motown-music and also the most violent city in the US. Tonight I hope to come on a flight to Amsterdam and from there direct to Göteborg for the opening at 17:30. Will I get time to change clothes.

I had to missions in Sundance, to watch films for the 2012 edition of GIFF and promote THE MILL & THE CROSS, a Polish/Swedish co-production.
Fantastic reviews in the trade papers Variety and Screen.
It will be played both in Göteborg and Rotterdam.
Lech Majewski is the director and Rutger Hauer is playing Pieter Bruegel.

Detroit Jan 27th

Freddy Olsson

Last stop: Amsterdam

Amsterdam is all about documentaries at the moment.

Amsterdam is all about documentaries at the moment.

The last film festival we visit before it’s time for our own is the world’s largest documentary film festival, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), which gathers more than 250 current documentaries and a large, large audience.

Don’t know if it’s my own focus that has changed, but this year it feels like there are a lot of movies that depict conditions in Africa in different ways. For example, films depicting the last election in Ghana (An African Election), soccer in Tanzania (Albino United), disabled musicians in Zimbabwe (IiThemba) and the Masai people of East Africa (Masai on the Move). There is also Swedish Staffan Julén’s My Heart of Darkness, which depicts the return of veterans from the civil war in Angola.

A large number of films I found in the programme address various aspects of the giant country of Congo. The films about Congo are all made with the country’s past conflicts as a backdrop. American Pushing the Elephant depicts Rose Mapendo, a Congolese who ended up in a death camp with her family in the 90s, where her husband was murdered and she was separated from one of her daughters. Danish competition film Blood In The Mobile tells about the dirty handling of minerals for cell phones. The minerals are extracted from the country’s over-exploited mines. Most of the films with stories from Africa are, unfortunately, made by filmmakers from the U.S. and Europe. An exception is Congo in Four Acts, an episode film by three Congolese directors, which is the result of a workshop for first-time filmmakers, which has been financed by, among others, the IDFA’s own film fund – the Jan Vrijmans Fund. The films are naked depictions of living conditions in today’s Congo, and give rise to thoughts about how our world has become so unfair.

Last Wednesday films were nominated for each competition class, and we can proudly announce that one of the nominees in the debut category was the Philippine film Kano: An American and His Harem by Monster Jimenez. The film has received post-production support from the GIFF Fund and had its world premiere here at IDFA. It will be screened at our festival this winter. We wish them luck in the contest!

Amsterdam, 25 November

Ulf Sigvardson

Med sikte på film och sol (del 2)

“Vi har nu hittat internet igen och vi har en stund över eftersom cyklarna är på verkstad en timme……det har slitit på bade cyklar och oss. Nu är det underbart väder så det blir kaffe i solen snart. 60 mil är avverkade och vi är nu i Calvadosdistriktet. Stan heter Lisieux. När vi nu tittar på kartan med andra ögon inser vi att Frankrike är ett jättestort land…hihi. Vi får oss många goda skratt varje dag. Igår var det måndag och då är det mesta stängt. Vi hade spetsat in oss på en god fransk 3 rättersmeny men det blev istället nudlar på en take away.”

Gunilla & Anki

Med sikte på film och sol (del 1)

Här på bloggen kan du följa två av våra mest hängivna festivalbesökare, Gunilla & Anki, på deras öden och äventyr genom europa. Slutmålet är filmfestivalen i San Sebastian, Spanien. Nedan ser ni första rapporten från kuststaden Dieppe.

“Nu är vi i Dieppe, en underbar kuststad som vi kom till igår. 40 mil har vi nu hittills lagt bakom oss på cykel. Det har varit mer storm än kuling och mer motvind än medvind. Till och med regnkläderna har blivit blöta inuti och plastpåsar i skorna har vi haft varje dag. “Vad är det för fel på att flyga?”, säger en del…och då säger vi “cykla är toppen trots allt”. I natt har vi bott flott med egen sänglampa och utsikt över havet. Igår somnade vi till ljuv musik från hamnens festival. I tidigare boende har pannlampa varit nödvändig for att kunna läsa en sida i boken innan vi somnar.”

/Gunilla & Anki

Chinese Victory

12 days and 48 feature length films later I´m homesick, It has been a real film festival summer with Karlovy Vary, Wroclaw and Locarno following one after the other.

Both Karlovy Vary and Locarno are prestigous festivals with a reputation. But they have problems cause they are coming between two gigants, Cannes and Venice. Every film maker, producer or sales agent want there film to participate in one of these festivals and every other festival has to wait for the verdict from Cannes, Venice (and Berlin).

There aren´t enough of good films to fill the competition line ups for all the festivals classified as A-festivals, with only International premieres in main competition. But you can find gold dust everywhere.

I´m very happy with the juries i Locarno. I totally agree about most of the winners. The prize for best film was awarded Winter Vacation rirected by Li Hongqi. He is in a way related to Roy Andersson in his visual style. The dialogue is fantastic in it´s humour and in the subtext you find a very hard criticism of the Chinese system.

Director Lin Hongqi and the producer Alex Chung

A friend of the Göteborg-festival and regular Locarno-visitor, Curling was his fourth film there, won the best director award. I´m sure many of you can recognize the director from Montreal by watching his tatoos.

Best director in Locarno Denis Coté for Curling

And of course I´m happy that I could bring home a trophe for Autumn Man in the Leopards of Tomorrow competition.
The conclusion of Locarno is the same as from Cannes, Asia is strong film-region 2010.

/Freddy Olsson

Double GIFF and ttriple Jonas in Locarno August 4-14

Yesterday the line-up for the films competing for Leopards in Swiss Locarno was announced
The festival in Locarno is one  of the oldest in the world, it started already 1946, directly after the war. This years festival, number 63, has a new director, Olivier Peré. He comes from the same position at the Directors Fortnight in Cannes.
The medieval town is located very beautiful at Lago Maggiore and if you look up you see the Alps. We are in the italian part of Switzerland.

In the category Concorso cineasti del presente Jonas Holmström and Jonas Bergergård is presenting Songs of Tomorrow.

Autumn Man directed by Jonas Selberg Augustsén won the Novella film prize in Göteborg this year. Now it´s starting its tour around the world. It is competing for the short film award, Leopards of tomorrow, in Locarno. It is also screened Down Under, at the Melbourne Film Festival July 22 – August 8.

Freddy Olsson