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


Lucky Draw Pusan

Some of the participant in this years Pusan International Film Festival went back home extra happy.

One of them was our own programmer Ulf Sigvardson who won the big bottle of Champagne when CJ Entertainment had there big party. CJ is one of the biggest film companies in South Korea and own stage they introduced some of the biggest pop starts in Korea today.

The next day it was that gave away a prize. The Göteborg Festival and its Fund every year award a special project in Pusan. This year Mouly Sorya from Indonesia was the lucky one how got SEK 150 000:-.

Sweden had a strong participation in this years Pusan-festival,and also took one of the important prizes. Debut director Lisa Langseth had her world premiere here with the film Pure. And she took the USD 20 000:- prize in the Flash Forward section.


Fund is fun!

Been working a lot with GIFFF (one more “F” than usual) – Göteborg International Film Festival Fund lately. Registering applications for our post production support round, which had its deadline March 1 and with our annual report to SIDA – The Swedish International Development Agency – which finance our fund.

Then I learnt yesterday about a net publishing tool, ISSUU, and thought I’d try to make our latest edition of our Fund Catalogue, readable on their homepage. Please visit and read here.

Happy Easter! (from still grey and wet Gothenburg 🙂

/Ulf Sigvardson

Appreciate and evaluate

Struggled so much with the obligatory evaluation of GIFF 2010 during yesterday that I completely failed to enter this blog. No good. But at least the evaluation is done – a really important thing if we shall be able to improve the fantastic thing we are creating and recreating in new ways every year. Because there is always room for improvement.

March 1 we had the deadline for applications to the film fund. This time we support post production and as ususal it will be so exciting to go through the pile of projects. Let’s hope for something fantastic that will be ready for Cannes! Talking about fund films, try to se Soul Boy by Hawa Essuman from Kenya. It had its world premiere during our festival and then went on to win the Hubert Bals audience award in Rotterdam a few days after.

Soul Boy

Finally the sun is shining and I really wish the snow could go away now. All of it. For god’s sake, it’s been here for three months, hasn’t it!

Camilla Larsson