Kirsi Nevanti - Swedish Film Institute
#9 2006 A MAGAZINE FROM THE SWEDISH FILM INSTITUTE
Focus on documentaries
Charon Film saves the planet
Rainer Hartleb bids farewell to Jordbro
Malin Andersson – The Belfast Girl
Shakespeare meets the homeless
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SWEDEN HAS A PROUD TRADITION of documentary ﬁlms, from the legendary Oscar-winning
Arne Sucksdorff and his apprentice Stefan Jarl to all the ﬁlmmakers featured in this new issue
of Swedish Film. One of the world’s premier documentary ﬁlm festivals, IDFA (International
Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam) usually has a strong Swedish presence, and this year
is certainly no exception.
The ﬁve Swedish ﬁlms in the spotlight are: The Planet, Tomorrow Never Knows, Thin Ice,
The Zhang Empresses and Blue, Karma, Tiger. A disturbing close-up of a world on the verge of
destruction, an intimate portrait of homeless people in Stockholm, an affectionate study of
women ice hockey players in northern India, adopted girls on a journey back to their roots in
China, and the animated alter-egos of real life grafﬁti artists. Nobody could accuse Swedish
documentary ﬁlms of lacking scope!
In this special documentary edition we take a look at the directors behind these ﬁlms. We
also meet the ﬁlmmakers Rainer Hartleb, PeÅ Holmquist and Staffan Julén, whose tireless
efforts in such diverse parts of the world as the Stockholm suburb of Jordbro, Gaza and Greenland are more like lifetime projects than one-off documentaries. There might also be the makings of a similar project in Malin Andersson’s Belfast Girls, a ﬁlm debut based on lengthy stays
in Northern Ireland.
Speaking of Belfast Girls, it’s encouraging to see such a relatively high percentage of women
ﬁlmmakers involved in documentaries. The new Film Agreement, which stipulates that at least
40% of all advance funding should go to women, is bound to see a rise in that percentage.
Make sure not to miss our feature on Charon Film, a group of travelling ﬁlmmakers behind
Sweden’s most secretive production company. Yet not for much longer, it would appear. As the
highly acclaimed creators of The Planet, the world’s press will no doubt soon be beating a path
to their door.
Last, but by no means least, welcome to our new website, www.swedishﬁlm.org, where you
can keep yourself up to date with all the latest Swedish ﬁlms preparing to take on the world.
ceo, swedish ﬁlm institute
GPSNBUTBMFT!TWUTF 02-03 innehall.indd 2
JENNY ÖRNBORN, producer at the documentary ﬁlm company, Story:
What are you working on right now?
“I’m making a ﬁlm with Göran Olsson
about the soul singer Billy Paul in Philadelphia, called Am I Black Enough For You? He’s
just the coolest soul guy you can imagine.”
The one who did
the classic Me and
“Exactly. He knew
all the soul artists as
well as people like
Martin Luther King
and Malcolm X, and
was heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s and 70s. It’s a ﬁlm about him,
his life, his music and about Philadelphia,
which is one tough city. But out of that toughest, toughest city comes some of the sweetest,
What are you looking forward to in
“Some of Story’s other ﬁlms, such as
Michel Wenzer’s New Folsom Prison about
Spoon Jackson, and Gabriella Bier’s Romeo
and Juliet-like documentary Collaborator,
about a married couple in the West Bank.
She’s an Israeli Jew and he’s a Palestinian
Muslim. It’s impossible for them to ﬁnd somewhere to live, but they’re such an amazingly
sweet and loving couple.”
ERIK GANDINI, winner of the 2003 IDFA Silver
Wolf Award for Surplus:
What are you working on right now?
“I’m making a documentary feature about
my home country, Italy. I really can’t say anything more about it
than that: it takes up
some very sensitive
What got you
interested in those
“I’ve lived half my
life in Italy and half in Sweden, exactly 19
years in each. It means I can look at my home
country with fresh eyes.”
How has life been since the world premiere of Gitmo (co-directed with Tarik
Saleh) at IDFA 2005?
“As long as the base at Guantanamo
remains open there’s an enormous interest in
Gitmo. Most fascinating of all was when it was
broadcast on Al-Jazeera, where they’d dubbed
all the voices, ours included, into Arabic. It’s
pleasing to see the ﬁlm turning up in different
versions in different countries. Next up it’s the
Beirut Film Festival, then a screening in the
Bahamas in December. And for a Swede to
be invited to the Bahamas in December, well
that’s an offer you can’t refuse…”/HE
Just a moment…
Erik Gandini and Jenny Örnborn reveal all
34 years on
Rainer Hartleb draws a line
Fear of flying
Charon Film divulge their secrets
The man without an identity
Erland Josephson remains an enigma
Back to their roots
Christina Höglund followed four girls to China
The documentary soldier
Meet Tove Torbiörnsson, Film Commissioner
Not without my polar bear trousers!
Staffan Julén knows how to travel
Welcome to a slice of life in clay
On the streets of Stockholm
Whose city is this, anyway? asks Kirsi Nevanti
Eat your heart out, Robert Redford
The horse whisperer and the mystery woman
Crossing film borders
The Widerbergs accept no limits
Belfast bloody Belfast
Malin Andersson tells the story from two sides
Meanwhile, back in Gaza
PeÅ Holmquist returns to the ghetto
Alice in Wonderland
The glamour dentist opens her heart
Real ice hockey
And you’d never guess where it’s played
On their way to hit international markets and festivals
staffan grönberg Director International Department
Phone +46-8-665 11 39 [email protected]ﬁ.se
petter mattsson Festivals, short ﬁlms
Phone +46-8-665 11 34 [email protected]ﬁ.se
gunnar almér Festivals, features
Phone +46-8-665 12 08 [email protected]ﬁ.se
andreas fock Festivals, documentaries
Phone +46-8-665 11 41 [email protected]ﬁ.se
stefan wittmoss Assistant
Phone +46-8-665 12 47 [email protected]ﬁ.se
swedish film institute, international department
p.0. box 27126, se-102 52 stockholm, sweden
phone +46-8-665 11 00 fax +46-8-666 36 98 www.sﬁ.se
Issued by The Swedish Film Institute Publisher Andreas Törnblom Production Soluzions (www.soluzions.se) Editor Mats Weman Art Direction Olof Helldin
Contributing Editors Henrik Emilson, Christina Höglund Cover photo Sandra Qvist Photography Johan Bergmark, Sara Mac Key, Sandra Qvist, Håkan Röjder
Translation Derek Jones Print Fagerblads The Swedish Film Institute’s aims include the promotion, support and development of Swedish films, the allocation
of grants, and the promotion of Swedish cinema internationally. (www.sfi.se)
02-03 innehall.indd 3
In the 70s, Rainer Hartleb was on the lookout for a lengthy project. 34
years on, he’s finally drawing a line under the longest documentary series
in Swedish film history – The Jordbro Chronicle.
04-05 hartleb.indd 4
It has its moments of light and dark, of pain and sorrow.
It’s deeper, more existential if you will.
1972, Rainer Hartleb’s eldest daughter was
about to start school. It was then that he had an idea
which, 34 years later, would encompass the most
extensive documentary ﬁlm project in Swedish cinema history.
Back then, the Swedish housing market was also
in the midst of its biggest ever project, the so-called “Million Programme”. The aim was to build a million apartments
between 1965-74 to solve the acute housing shortage of the
50s and 60s. Construction companies took whole page advertisements in the Swedish press for apartments in the suburbs
of Sweden’s major cities, proudly proclaiming “The New
Sweden”. In one Stockholm suburb they promised one tree
for every child to climb in. The economy was booming, and
belief in the future was strong.
Enjoying life as he did in a commune in the centre of Stockholm, Rainer Hartleb had no plans whatsoever of moving to
the suburbs. But as a newly-ﬂedged ﬁlmmaker he was on the
lookout for a subject he could develop over a lengthy period.
Having trained as a television producer, he had been working
on news, a role that didn’t really suit him:
“I’d never be able to handle the stress of being a news
reporter. I just don’t have that talent.”
When I meet him, Rainer Hartleb has just got back from
Arlanda Airport. He’s been away for a week visiting relatives
in the former East Germany. Some time ago, Hartleb, who
came to Sweden aged 8 in 1952, developed an interest in his
own family history. In 1996 this resulted in the ﬁlm Wiedersehen in Hildburghausen, broadcast in its entirety on German television, yet only in an edited version in Sweden, a fact that he
points out with a distinct air of disappointment in his voice.
We sit in his tiny editing room in one of the more picturesque areas of Stockholm. Among all the clipboards, boxes
and bookshelves, there’s hardly room for two chairs for the
pair of us.
It’s a room that seems to suit Rainer Hartleb. At 62, he
doesn’t require much space, he speaks in a calm, unassuming manner, and always lets the characters in his ﬁlms take
centre stage, never himself.
It was when his daughter was about to start school that
his big idea struck: a school class. You could follow an entire
class through the nine years of secondary school. It would be
the story of a Sweden in change seen from a classroom point
“At that time all the talk was of educational theory and
sociology, how people were shaped by their environment and
upbringing, and how society could be improved.”
Hartleb was convinced that the project would work best
in the suburbs, where the “New Sweden” was taking shape.
And since one of his good friends was a teacher in the south
Stockholm suburb of Jordbro, his choice of school was virtually made for him. He wrote to six female teachers at the
school, ﬁve of whom turned him down. Everyone except
“I think she accepted because she had experience and felt
comfortable with the idea. Some of the teachers were in their
ﬁrst jobs and unsure of themselves. Others simply didn’t want
outsiders in their classroom.”
Wednesday 23 August 1972 was induction day for class 1D
at Lundaskolan. Rainer Hartleb had made arrangements with
Inga-Britt Jonés to turn up with his crew (cameraman and
sound technician). Nobody else knew they would be there,
not even the parents.
“They were so focused on their children, who in turn were
so focused on the teacher, that they barely noticed us. A few
weeks later we held a parents’ meeting where we introduced
Everyone imagined that the project would last for a year.
End of term for class 6D at Lundaskolan, spring 1978.
Rainer Hartleb, you see, was still keeping his 9-year plan to
“But at that time I wasn’t really thinking about the timescale. I just wanted to get stuck into it.”
Swedish Television (SVT), however, were certainly only
thinking in terms of one year.
“And that was probably best for me. It meant I was forced
to deliver. Without that constraint, I might not have stayed
Entitled Från en barndomsvärld (From a World of Childhood), the ﬁrst ﬁlm was broadcast after the children’s ﬁrst
year at school. Then between 1972 and 1981, Rainer Hartleb
made a total of 12 one-hour ﬁlms, all of which were shown
on SVT. Later, the twelve were edited down to two feature
ﬁlms: The Children from Jordbro (Barnen från Jordbro) and
Living in Jordbro (Leva i Jordbro).
When the ﬁrst ﬁlm was shown on TV (Sweden had only
two channels at the time), Rainer Hartleb came in for a good
deal of criticism from some of the parents. He had painted
a fairly negative view, and some people were very angry
indeed. Others less so, but even they found the ﬁlm rather
discussions, Hartleb asked them: “What
about carrying on next year?” To which they eventually
agreed, despite their misgivings.
Yet an even bigger problem was that the children had
changed completely. After the broadcast, friends and family
treated them as ﬁlm stars. Back at school, they were impossible to work with, running around, pulling faces, shying away
from the camera.
That was when one of Rainer Hartleb’s key strengths as
a ﬁlmmaker came into play. He waited patiently. Waiting is
never a problem for him, and it’s certainly never boring.
“We just let the camera run. Some of the footage ended
up in the bin, but some of it, strangely enough, ended up as
another ﬁlm 30 years later.”
In all, there were eventually ﬁve features about the children in Jordbro. A Pizza in Jordbro, intended to be the last
of them, appeared in 1994, winning Rainer Hartleb a Guldbagge award for best ﬁlm. The long series of ﬁlms was hailed
as a document of modern Sweden. Hartleb was the subject of
countless radio, television and press interviews.
His major oeuvre was complete. He drew a mental line
under it. Time to move on.
But that’s not the way it turned out.
Two years ago Hartleb went to pitch a completely new idea
for a ﬁlm to the documentary ﬁlm commissioner Hjalmar
Palmgren. He got a lukewarm response, but Palmgren did
ask him: “So how are the folks in Jordbro?”
“I told him I knew how they were, but didn’t know whether
they would be keen on the idea of yet another ﬁlm. And quite
frankly, I wasn’t sure how keen I was, either.”
AFTER SOME FRANK
Yet gradually, the concept of what was to become Everyone’s Fine (Alla mår bra) took shape. Rainer Hartleb was clear
that he wanted it to be a ﬁlm set completely in the present.
“I decided to include the people who’d featured in Pizza. It
would be a sort of follow-on from that, I thought. But I didn’t
want any ﬂashbacks. I wanted a stand-alone ﬁlm about their
But that’s not the way it turned out, either.
“It’s like that with documentaries, just as authors complain
of their novels that their characters refuse to do as they’re
told. They take on a life of their own.”
During the shoot of Everyone’s Fine, many of those taking
part started thinking about events in their childhood, events
that were relevant to their stories.
“The ﬁrst time that happened was when Ulrik thought back
to his time at the school crèche. We were about to ﬁlm something entirely different when I realised that I still had footage
of that somewhere in my editing room.”
Hartleb immediately became the victim of his own meticulous efﬁciency. He hates throwing ﬁlm in the bin, much preferring to store it away instead. If he hadn’t been so thorough,
and if he hadn’t had such a good memory, then he’d have
been able to stick to his original plan.
“It just didn’t work out that way. And when I’d made an
exception for Ulrik, then I had to do the same for the others.
That’s why it’s taken me twice as long to make the ﬁlm than
I’d originally intended.”
Yet although A Pizza in Jordbro and Everyone’s Fine are
more similar than he planned, Hartleb still sees distinctions
between the two ﬁlms.
“The new ﬁlm has more life experience, it’s more serious.
It has its moments of light and dark, of pain and sorrow. It’s
deeper, more existential if you will. There’s the added dimension that ten more years have provided. And the underlying
question is always: “How have I become the person I am?”
Having seen the 150-minute long ﬁlm, one’s tempted as a
viewer to ask whether there’s not more than a hint of irony in
the title Everyone’s Fine. It does contain a good deal of heartache.
“I’m aware of that. But I genuinely do mean it: everyone in
the ﬁlm really is ﬁne!”
So is this the end of the Jordbro Chronicle?
“Yes, this is the end.”
You’re sure of that?
“The existential questions have all been answered now, in
one way or another. That’s the way I see it, at least.”
II MATS WEMAN
Rainer Hartleb Filmography (Selected)
En passion i silver 2006
Everyone’s Fine /Alla mår bra 2006
Hela livet med Samuel 2000
Ögonblick vid stranden 1998
Wiedersehen in Hildburghausen 1996
A Pizza in Jordbro /En pizza i Jordbro 1994
Once Upon a Time There Was a Little Girl
/Det var en gång en liten flicka 1992
Efter muren 1990
En dag i Calcutta 1990
Tillbaka till Jordbro 1987
Kärleken är allt 1986
Life in Jordbro /Leva i Jordbro 1972-81
The Children from Jordbro /Barnen från Jordbro 1972-81
The entire Jordbro feature series has been screened at the film festivals in
Berlin, Sydney, Santiago, Riga and Sao Paulo, where it won the Audience
Award. Everyone’s Fine is the sixth film in the series
Everyone’s Fine/Alla mår bra Director & Editor Rainer Hartleb Director of Photography Lars Lundgren, Staffan Lindqvist, Rainer Hartleb Music L v Beethoven, F Chopin Producer Rainer Hartleb Produced by Olympia Filmproduktion HB together with Sveriges Television/Ingemar Persson, with support from the Swedish Film Institute/Hjalmar Palmgren & Tove Torbiörnsson Screening details 147 minutes, DV Cam 16:9 Sales Olympia Filmproduktion HB
04-05 hartleb.indd 5
Jonas Kellagher sticks his head
round the conference room
door to announce the news to
Kristian Petri and Janne Röed.
Neither of them seems in the
least bothered. It’s just another day at Charon Film.
Quite frankly, theirs is no ordinary production company.
It’s more like one of those secret societies you occasionally
read about. Even though the company will be 20 years old
next year, there’s not a single article to be found about them
in any text archive. And when I try to ﬁx up a meeting with
them, it’s rather like trying to get an audience with a reclusive megastar!
And to top it all, they’ve run out of coffee.
However: it was 20 years ago today, or thereabouts, when
the eccentric Swedish author, Stig Larsson, ﬁrst came up with
the name Charon Film.
“Nobody could think of anything better,” Janne Röed
“Micke (Stenberg) always gets uneasy in case people are
put off by the associations of the name. So we usually say that
there’s a rare orchid called Charon, or that it’s the name of a
beach in Thailand. But actually, it’s exactly what you think it
is,” Kristian conﬁrms.
So what was the idea behind it?
“Who knows, the transport of souls, perhaps?”
The secret society that is Charon Film is made up of four
owners: the cinematographer Janne Röed, the ﬁlmmaker
and author Kristian Petri and the journalist Michael Stenberg, not forgetting Magnus Enquist, Professor of Ethology at
“He’s the world’s leading authority on peacocks and their
mating rituals,” Kristian informs me with a note of pride in
Janne Röed adds enthusiastically:
E’RE OUT OF
“If you type his name into Google you get tons of hits. He’s
an international name in his ﬁeld. I think he sees Charon as
an amusing sideline.”
What’s more, it’s the outsider Enquist who, with his scientiﬁc background, is the brains behind The Planet. It was
his interest in global change that prompted the question:
“Shouldn’t we make a ﬁlm about this?”
But apart from this obvious asset to the company (it was
Enquist, too, who arranged the trip down to South Georgia
in the Antarctic, for the ﬁlm Atlantic), we’ve uncovered one
of the keys to this secret society. Everyone involved in the
company has periods when they’re fully engaged in other
jobs, such as writing or research. It’s one of Charon’s unique
strengths, in Kristian Petri’s opinion:
“It means we’ve never been manically dependent on living
off our projects. We can keep working on a ﬁlm for as long as
it takes, and that’s a great advantage for a documentary. You
can go out, ﬁlm, come back, analyse your material, let it rest
a while then go back out and ﬁlm some more.”
He pauses to consider:
“But you’re completely right that we’re a little secretive
about the company. Yet on the other hand, it’s the actual ﬁlms
we’re concerned with most. None of us is especially into company ﬁnance either. We’ve never made any big money, we’d
rather make another trip and try to make a ﬁlm even better
than cut down on an overhead.”
Janne Röed nods in agreement, but he’s barely able to suppress a sigh.
“Recently we’ve been trying to break that pattern and get
Charon up and running as a proper company that generates
a proﬁt. It’s a problem being dependent on the Swedish Film
Institute and Swedish Television, because it means that if
your coffers are empty, then you have to go begging them for
money every time.”
AT THIS POINT, Jonas Kellagher, producer and co-owner-to-be
“The only way to change that is for the ﬁlms to start selling.”
But Janne Röed is sceptical. He doesn’t believe that documentaries for the cinema, something of a hallmark for Charon, will ever be proﬁtable. And the television market, he
grumbles, is also extremely ﬁckle.
“We thought that The Well (Brunnen), our ﬁlm about Orson
Welles in Spain, would sell like hot cakes. It’s a mystery why
it didn’t, it’s a perfect television ﬁlm.”
While we’re on the subject of the company ﬁnances, I’ve
brought along a quotation from Janne Röed himself back in
1996: “A hell of a lot of things are going to start happening
for Charon Film pretty soon.” When I read it out, there’s a collective belly laugh all round the room.
“He couldn’t have been sober at the time,” Kristian jokes.
But Janne comes to his own defence:
“Think about it, though: when it comes to making documentaries for the cinema, there’s no other company that can
touch us. Is there anyone who’s turned over as much money
as we have in the last few years? I was a bit before my time,
Whatever happens, the idea of getting involved in features
or commercials isn’t on the cards for Charon Film right now.
They’ve decided to stay put in their niche for the moment,
regarding it as a strength. Jonas Kellagher believes the future
lies not in spreading themselves thinly, but staying focused
on a number of major documentaries and getting involved in
international co-productions. Like The Planet, for example,
with its budget of 3.5 million USD (25 million Swedish kronor), or the forthcoming The Heathrow Towel, with its more
modest half a million dollars (SEK 5 million).
You might well think that Charon Film has chosen to focus
on ﬁlms of topical environmental interest, such as the two
Tong Tana ﬁlms about the rain forests in Borneo, The Planet
and The Heathrow Towel, which is about airborne infections.
But neither Janne nor Kristian see that as a chosen path,
but rather a combination of circumstances and the personal
interests of the people concerned.
the members of this secret society certainly do have a taste for travel. When I ask Kristian if there’s
any country in the world he hasn’t been to, he has to stop and
“It’s heading that way. But there are still a few countries in
Africa and the Arab world left.”
When I mention in passing that it wouldn’t do to suffer
from fear of ﬂying, another hearty laugh breaks out. Janne
points at Kristian, who smiles.
“That’s been a real pain for me for years. I should have
been in Tong Tana 2, but I backed out the night before. My
bags were packed and ready in the hall, but I got a real panic
attack. So I called Janne at three o’clock in the morning and
said: “I’m not getting on that plane.” And I didn’t.”
Psychologists usually say that one way to overcome a fear
of ﬂying is to ﬂy regularly. But Kristian just shakes his head.
For him, ﬂying is a form of torture. He just gets on with it
nonetheless, in spite of an incident in Indonesia a few years
“We nearly crashed. We made an emergency landing on
a beach with black volcanic sand. A beach called Ende: this
really is the end, I thought. Not only that, it was the middle of
Ramadan, so we had nothing to eat for absolutely ages…”
So the trips abroad continue. At the time of my visit, Janne
and Kristian are putting the ﬁnishing touches to a pilot with
the working name The Hotel. An inveterate traveller, Kristian
has something of a soft spot for hotels, a subject he takes up in
The Well. Charon Film will be taking us to Japan’s oldest family business, a hotel that’s been run by the same family since
the 8th century. Right now they’re in the 46th generation.
Selecting all those hotels is a labour of love. Chateau Marmont is a name that gets mentioned, as does the Chelsea
Hotel. Suggestions from around the table get somewhat more
wacky with Blue Hotel (the one that Chris Isaak sang about),
and Hotel California. Not a hotel at all, just a metaphor. Kristian laughs:
“What is it they sing? ”You can check out any time you like,
but you can never leave”. It sounds just like Charon!”
ON THE OTHER HAND,
II MATS WEMAN
The Secret Soc
The Charon Film team have seen the whole world. It’s hard to pin them down because
they’re so rarely at home. But next year sees the 20th anniversary for the architects
behind the mammoth undertaking The Planet. We can expect a DVD box, apparently.
Unless, of course, they opt for another trip abroad instead.
06-09 charon.indd 6
SARA MAC KEY
We’ve never made any big
money, we’d rather make another
trip and try to make a film even
better than cut down on an
Charon Film Filmography
Kristian Petri and Janne Röed.
The Heathrow Towel 2007
The Planet /Planeten 2006
The Well /Brunnen 2005
Wild Forest /Den vilda skogen 2003
Tokyo Noise 2002
Tong Tana – The Lost Paradise /Tong Tana – Det förlorade paradiset
The Lighthouse /Fyren 2000
Neighbour with The Clouds /Granne med molnen (co-production) 1999
The Singing Ape 1997
Bongo Beat 1996
Königsberg Express 1996
Between Summers /Sommaren (co-production) 1995
Betrayal /Förräderi 1995
The Atlantic /Atlanten 1995
The Congo Major /Kongomajoren 1993
The River /Floden 1991
Tong Tana 1989
06-09 charon.indd 7
at the end”
co-director of The Planet. You’ve
made Sweden’s most expensive documentary ever!
“If you regard it as a single documentary, then that’s
true. But altogether we’ve made six hours of documentary,
four hours of which are for television.”
What’s the difference?
“Basically, the ﬁlm arouses interest, touches the emotions. The television series goes deeper into the issues.”
How did you choose your experts?
“We selected them from among the leaders in the ﬁeld
of Global Change. We interviewed lots more of them than
appear in the ﬁlm.”
Do any of the experts think we’ve still got plenty of
time to make changes?
“Not really. The scientists in the programme are in no
way radical. None of them has anything especially new
to say, but collectively they do paint rather a gloomy picture.”
Watching the ﬁlm you can’t help hoping that one of
the experts will say: “OK, it looks hopeless, but here’s
the solution.” Does such a person exist?
“Yes, in the television series.”
So why did you opt to make the ﬁlm so gloomy?
“We consciously set out not to paint a doomsday scenario. It’s a tough journey, but there’s hope at the end.”
In his ﬁlm An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore opts to
intersperse suggestions for what can be done with the
closing credits. What do you think of that approach?
“What’s positive is that you feel: “I can do something”.
But it’s negative if you think: “It’ll all sort itself out”. People have called us saying they’ve watched both ﬁlms, and
that they feel far more inclined to do something having
There are a number of ﬁlms along the same lines at
the moment: the BBC’s Planet Earth, Al Gore’s ﬁlm,
and even a documentary by Leonardo Di Caprio. How
does your ﬁlm stand out from the others?
“There were two types of ﬁlm we didn’t want to make.
Maybe you remember Koyaanisqatsi and Baraka, both
incredibly beautiful ﬁlms. But they featured very serious
music and hardly any relevant people. They seemed to
imply that the only solution was for all of us to get right
back to nature and live like noble savages. The other type
of ﬁlms are those that are scientiﬁcally correct. I think the
BBC has chosen that approach. But our goal throughout
has been to make a ﬁlm of genuine artistic beauty that
doesn’t shy away from the facts.”
Was it depressing to make, in some ways?
“Our co-director Johan Söderberg found it really difﬁcult for a while. But all of us involved feel that it has
changed their lives.”
In what ways?
“Well, when you’re faced with a choice, you try to apply
the knowledge you’ve gained from the experience. It’s
pretty tough at times. You think about it when it’s time to
buy or sell a car, for example.”
What was your worst experience shooting the ﬁlm?
“In China we were working with one of the world’s leading experts on deserts. He showed us how the desert is rapidly closing in on Beijing. That was all rather disturbing.”
Do you have hope for the future?
“Absolutely. These issues are getting more and more
publicity. People like me, who knew nothing about it
before, are becoming more aware. The other day, for
example , I went onto the World Bank website, where you
can read that growth is good, but it’s not good if you don’t
calculate the costs involved. And that’s exactly what we’re
saying in our ﬁlm.” II MATS WEMAN
“If it exists, you can see it”
the ﬁlm you’re currently directing, is a particularly gruesome
horror ﬁlm. Is that right, Hanna Solberger?
“Well, in many ways it’s quite scary to realise that we can never buy ourselves the privilege of not breathing. Otherwise, what’s most disturbing about the ﬁlm is the fact that, for
the ﬁrst time, we can see our everyday lives magniﬁed a few hundred thousand times.”
You’ve had help from the world famous photographer Lennart Nilsson. What’s he
like to work with?
“He has an almost boyish fascination for impossible tasks. His philosophy is: if it exists,
then you must be able to see it!”
How did you get the idea?
“I was talking to some medical experts at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, about
something completely different, when I realised there was a method for examining the air
we breathe. That’s when my imagination started to run riot.”
How do you go about getting images?
“We can collect the air in the middle of Wall Street, air that we can analyse in a portable
sweep electron microscope. Or in drains, for example, we work together with teams who
normally ﬁx leaks, and we send in small radio-controlled cars.”
Judging by the title, there’s nowhere on earth worse than an international airport…
“We were discussing the most likely places to look, and eventually we decided that
air hand dryers were potentially among the world’s major spreaders of infection. And at
international airports you can ﬁnd everything from Malaysian pollen to viruses of every
It makes you wonder how we’ve managed to survive for so long…
“It’s not likely that we’ll all get very sick in the immediate future, but it’s something we
examine in the ﬁlm. People have already started to become aware of airborne infections in
the wake of SARS and bird ﬂu.”
Has the ﬁlm given you a phobia for germs?
“No, but I’ve become extremely nerdy! Every time I go into an elegant building I start
fantasising about ventilation shafts and where the air supply comes from. I hope I can get
over it when the ﬁlm’s ﬁnally in the can!” II MATS WEMAN
THE HEATHROW TOWEL,
The Heathrow Towel
The Heathrow Towel Director Hanna Solberger Director of Photography Jan Röed Editor TBA Producer
Jonas Kellagher Produced by Charon Film in co-production with Sveriges Television/Dokumentär, ARTE,
NFTF, Film i Skåne, MEDIA+ and Svensk Filmindustri Screening details 52 minutes, Digibeta Release
Spring 2007 Sales AB Svensk Filmindustri
The Planet/Planeten Director Michael Stenberg, Linus Torell, Johan
Söderberg Director of Photography Jan Röed Editor Johan Söderberg Producer Charon Film AB, in co-production with Sveriges
Television, Videomaker AS, Fox Media Danmark, NRK Norge and
Yle FST, with support from Formas, Nordiska Film- och TV-Fonden,
Norsk Filmfond, The Ministry of Education Denmark, Stiftelsen
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, Vetenskapsrådet and Swedish Film
Institute/Niklas Rådström, Per Nielsen Screening details 82 minutes,
35 mm, Digibeta Sales AB Svensk Filmindustri
The Heathrow Towel.
06-09 charon.indd 8
From a Life
The four empresses:
Alice, Linnéa, Mimmi
Erland Josephson wanted them
to make an “arty” film about him.
So they obliged.
at Kulturhuset in Stockholm, Erland Josephson
was asked: “You’ve played so many roles all through your life, getting inside one identity after the other, but what’s your own true
Looking at his interrogator as if he’d just landed from Mars,
Erland Josephson replied:
“I don’t want any identity!”
Among the audience that evening was the director Ulf Peter Hallberg, a good friend of Josephson through his work in the theatre.
Together with the Danish cinematographer Torben Skjødt Jensen,
Hallberg had previously co-directed Benjamin’s Shadow (Benjamins
skugga) about the German philosopher, Walter Benjamin. The two
of them were on the lookout for a subject for a new essay ﬁlm.
After the debate, Erland Josephson, who had seen the ﬁlm,
approached the duo saying: “You ought to make an arty ﬁlm like
that with me!”
And immediately, Ulf Peter Hallberg had found the subject he
was looking for.
“Right there on the spot I knew what the ﬁlm would be about: an
actor’s own persona and the roles he plays.”
Now 83 years old, Erland Josephson has been a star of the Swedish stage and screen for more than sixty years, with countless
productions to his name. His ﬁlm career is best known from his
collaboration with Ingmar Bergman (Fanny & Alexander, Cries and
Whispers, Scenes from a Marriage) and Andrei Tarkovsky (The Sacriﬁce). And he’s still going strong.
In Are You Playing Tonight? (Spelar du ikväll?) we follow Josephson, bursting with energy and humour as he guides us round his
beloved Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, and in scenes from
Strindberg, Chekhov and Beckett, here given a unique contemporary relevance.
“We didn’t want to do a traditional portrait of Erland, nor a celebration of his life. Neither did we want to make something elaborate: we’re the sworn enemies of anything pretentious. So our aim
was to establish an understanding with the viewer that we would
be leaving in the mistakes, the slips of the tongue, and the lighthearted everyday moments. We don’t frame Erland with dramatic
backdrops and ask him how he feels about eternity. Instead we gently coax the ﬁlm along in a mutual adventure based around certain
parts that I’ve written and on Torben’s magic behind the camera.”
Ulf Peter Hallberg says shooting with this grand old man of stage
and screen was like being on honeymoon with the enigmatic Charlie Chaplin. Erland Josephson talks openly and expansively about
himself, but still opts to hold back on many of his secrets.
“It’s both skilful and shrewd on his part. The curtain goes down,
yet the questions still remain.”
The hardest part of the project was paring things down, as
Ulf Peter Hallberg explains. Originally the trio intended to travel
together to Paris and New York. Woody Allen – one of Ingmar Bergman’s biggest fans – was also to
have appeared in the ﬁlm.
“My favourite darling-that-waskilled was when Woody stepped
out of a subway carriage in
Brooklyn, caught sight of Erland
and asked: “Do you think Ingmar
Bergman is really sad because
he’s not Jewish?” II HENRIK EMILSON
IN A DEBATE HELD
Are You Playing Tonight?
Are You Playing Tonight?/Spelar du ikväll? Directors Ulf Peter Hallberg and
Torben Skjødt Jensen Screenplay Ulf Peter Hallberg Director of Photography Torben Skjødt Jensen Music Povl Kristian Editor Torben Skjødt Jensen
Producers Stina Gardell, Signe Byrge Sørensen and Thomas Stenderup
Produced by Mantaray Film & TV Productions and Final Cut Film Productions
ApS, in co-production with Sveriges Television/Drama, Yle Teema Ateljee and
The Nordic Film & TV Fund, with support from The Swedish Film Institute/
Marianne Ahrne Screening details 72 minutes, 35 mm, Dolby 5.1 Sales Final
Cut Film Productions ApS
Ten years ago they were adopted from a children’s
home outside Shanghai. The time had come to go
back to their roots.
HE EVENING BEFORE they were due to visit the
children’s home outside Shanghai, director
Christina Höglund and cameraman Niklas Forshell were wondering whether they should sacriﬁce a bag and conceal a camera inside. They were still
unaware whether or not they were allowed to ﬁlm inside
“We came to the conclusion that we were on this trip
for the sake of the children and it would be best to play by
the book,” Christina recalls.
When they got to the children’s home, they simply took
out their camera and started ﬁlming. Christina is still
fairly certain that they weren’t supposed to, but that their
Chinese hosts were far too polite to stop them.
Christina Höglund’s debut ﬁlm The Zhang Empresses
(Kejsarinnorna Zhang) was ﬁrst conceived round the
dinner table of the parents of one of the girls in the ﬁlm.
That’s where she heard that the four 11 year-old girls
– Alice, Mimmi, Nanna and Linnéa – were about to travel
back to China to visit the children’s home from which
they’d been adopted. Christina felt immediately that she
simply had to go with them.
“I started thinking deeply about the subject of identity. Who are we? Does our place of birth have any signiﬁcance, ten years later, if we’re now living on the other
side of the earth?”
Despite her background as a newspaper and radio
correspondent, Christina knew that this time round she
wanted to tell the story in pictures.
“It’s strange. The idea of going to China armed only
with a tape recorder was never on the cards.”
But it wasn’t so straightforward for Christina and Niklas to join the party. Some of the parents had reservations
about a ﬁlm, and one of the girls was so full of nervous
tension about the trip that she announced to them the
week before they were due to leave: “If you go, then I’m
“I could tell they were all wound up. But we decided
to go through with it, fairly conﬁdent that everybody’s
nerves would soon settle down,” says Christina.
Her intuition was right. By the time they got to Shanghai, both the parents and the girls were considerably
“We gathered the girls together in our hotel room every
evening and asked them to name something good and
something bad that happened during the day. They were
with us almost all the time. In fact, we probably socialised with them more than their parents did.”
Christina’s favourite scene in the ﬁlm is when the girls
are on the bus driving away from the children’s home.
They’re hanging out of the windows, their hair ﬂoating in
the wind, realising just how fortunate and free they are.
“It’s obviously something they reﬂect on, and you can’t
help thinking that the feeling that they were once abandoned has left its mark. There’s a trace of sadness that
nothing can really wipe away.” II MATS WEMAN
The Zhang Empresses
The Zhang Empresses/Kejsarinnorna Zhang Director Christina Höglund Director of Photography Niklas Forshell Editor Martin Assarsson
Producer Christina Höglund Produced by Christina Höglund in co-production with Sveriges Television/Barn&Ungdom/Fiktion Screening
details 46 minutes, Diga-Beta Sales Christina Höglund
06-09 charon.indd 9
She feels like a documentary
soldier. And she has first
hand experience from the
war zone in Nicaragua. Meet
Tove Torbiörnsson, the new
documentary film commissioner.
10-11 tove.indd 10
red leather sofa in her ofﬁce at
the Swedish Film Institute, I’m
left with no doubt that this is a
woman with a passion for her
work. As she speaks with undisguised pride about the ﬁrst ﬁlms
she’s helped to bring to fruition,
her down-to-earth enthusiasm is
positively infectious. They include
Rainer Hartleb’s Everyone’s Fine (Alla mår bra), Peter Gerdehag’s The Horseman (Hästmannen), not forgetting Rebecka
Rasmusson’s Alice and Me, a ﬁlm about Sweden’s ﬁrst ever
dentist turned actress/celebrity, Alice Timander.
“This is one hell of a great job. I feel like some kind of documentary soldier. The quality of Swedish documentary ﬁlmmaking is amazingly high, so I’m delighted to be able to get
fully behind the projects I believe in. OK, so occasionally we
put in smaller sums, typically for ﬁlms about ongoing stories
that can’t wait six months for maximum funding. But generally I’d rather concentrate on a handful of ﬁlms and give them
a bit more.”
She’s not alone in her views. All three new commissioners at the Swedish Film Institute are talking about choosing
their favourites rather than spreading the available funding
too thinly. That’s ﬁne for those who make the grade, less so,
of course, for those who don’t. But it’s a way of thinking that’s
fully in tune with the changes currently running through the
Film Institute under its new CEO, Cissi Elwin.
“Naturally we have our differences of opinion, but that
sparks off some healthy discussions, and a certain amount of
resistance is a good thing, in my opinion.”
For Tove Torbiörnsson, documentaries are all about touching people and being touched. Better to be a little rough and
ready, to go too far, than to produce something that’s too perfect and manicured. It’s all about an emotional understanding of the world. She cites the forthcoming Alice and Me as an
“There are a few scenes where Alice Timander describes her
feelings of alienation from the world, and that’s something I
think many people feel, even though they try to ﬁt in as best
they can. It’s a ﬁlm with lots of genuinely profound moments
which can probably help others to realise that they’re not
alone in what they feel. A good documentary can get you to
see that other people actually share some of your innermost
Tove Torbiörnsson also believes that as a ﬁlmmaker you
should have as little inﬂuence as possible on the people in the
ﬁlm, on what they should do or say.
If someone has something important to say,
then sooner or later, they’ll say it.
“It has to be authentic. At times I’m amazed at the number
of ﬁlmmakers who ask people to do things that are quite
unnecessary, when they should just give them time to reveal
themselves. If someone has something important to say, then
sooner or later, they’ll say it. As ﬁlmmakers, we have to trust in
the story, trust in our own ability to coax it out.”
When Tove Torbiörnsson took up her post as the documentary ﬁlm commissioner in January this year she was reported
as having said that Swedish ﬁlmmakers should stay at home
more than they have tended to in the past, and that they
should concentrate on Swedish subjects. Now she’s changed
her mind. Well, sort of....
She laughs, mocking herself and the fact that everything
she says can be turned against her:
“I certainly do think we Swedes should travel, it’s something
we’re rather good at. And I could also say that I’d like to see
more good-looking ﬁlms, highly crafted and with no expenses
spared, but that’s not what really matters. What really counts
is the content, the strength and impact of a ﬁlm.”
Tove Torbiörnsson isn’t so interested in spotting trends in
the subjects people are making ﬁlms about at the moment, but
she does confess to being rather keen on ﬁlms about the lives
“As I see it, so many women have had such exciting lives,
many of them overlooked. But as I say, it’s the strength of a
ﬁlm that counts, not the subject matter.”
Yet while we’re on the subject of women, the new ﬁlm agreement inevitably enters the conversation. It clearly states that
40 per cent of future ﬁlms should have women screenwriters
or be made by female directors.
“At the same time, you do have to ask yourself what the ﬁlm
is actually about. Female experience and input might well be
a vital component.”
WHILE OTHER LITTLE GIRLS sat at home playing with dolls, Tove
was already out in the big wide world of danger and adventure, together with her father, documentary ﬁlmmaker Peter
“I started travelling with my Dad very early on. During the
summer holidays from school we went round Europe, the
States and Central America, and lots of things happened to us.
Dad was out working most of the time, so my brothers and I
had to look after ourselves. We went to Mexico, to Cuba, and
now and again we’d bump into Dad in between assignments.
We were very naive, but we managed OK.”
It was actually there as a teenager, twenty years ago in Nicaragua, that she learnt how to edit ﬁlms, that she ﬁrst realised
the power of images and how exciting it is to work with ﬁlm.
“I wasn’t there for very long, but it was such an intensive
period in my life. Sometimes I feel that if I hadn’t experienced
the things I did when I was growing up, or if I hadn’t been in
Nicaragua, then I’m not so sure what I’d be doing today.”
Only now, with four children of her own, the oldest of
whom will soon be off to live in Berlin, does Tove think of all
the things that might have happened to them.
“Dad and I were even arrested in Honduras, and I was
accused of being a terrorist. I was held for questioning for several nights on end, sharing a cell with a Spanish photographer
and a man who’d been shot in the leg. What I learnt from the
experience is that everything is more complex than you think,
nothing is black and white. One of the prison guards had
the habit of polishing his pistol right next to my head as I sat
playing chess with his colleague. Things are rarely straightforward, and that’s what we need to show in documentaries.
We human beings are bloody complex creatures, and telling a
complex story isn’t easy. Still, that’s what makes it so interesting.” II CHRISTINA HÖGLUND
Born: in Mexico City in 1965, grew up in Lund and Stockholm. Lived in
Santa Fé for a year after her first child was born.
Family: lives with the filmmaker Alberto Herskovits, with whom she has four
children, the oldest of whom is 19.
Background: Studied literature and film. Also studied film directing at the
Stockholm University College of Film, Radio, Television and Theatre, 19921995.
Job: Film Commissioner since 1 January 2006. Has 12 million Swedish kronor to distribute each year for documentary films.
De okända utvandrarna (with Alberto Herskovits) 1990
Oxhunger (short) 1994
Slottet (short) 1995
För husfridens skull 1996
Missing Boy /Hitta hem 1999
Det var en gång ett BB 2001
Vad hände sedan med Jonathan? 2004
As Film Commissioner:
Everyone’s Fine /Alla mår bra (Directed by Rainer Hartleb) 2006
Islams barn i Folkhemmet (Directed by Bo Harringer) 2006
Alice and Me /Alice och jag (Directed by Rebecka Rasmusson) 2006
Hästmannen (Directed by Peter Gerdehag) 2006
Sami nieida jojk (Directed by Liselotte Wajstedt) 2006
Får jag lov (Directed by Joakim Jalin) 2007
Nunnan (Directed by Maud Nycander) 2007
Filmen om Leslie (Directed by Stefan Berg) 2008
10-11 tove.indd 11
Staffan Julén first heard the story of Mijaq back
in 1983. So it was high time to put on his polar
bear trousers and get filming.
Top of the World
ITH AN EMPATHIC tug he zips up the rucksack.
The most important item he’s packed inside is
a tiny camera, not much bigger than a matchbox. It needs to be small: he’s going to fasten
it to an eagle in order to ﬁlm the world from a genuine bird’s
“You see, I’m making a ﬁlm about an elderly man who’s
teaching his grandson the art of training and hunting with
Filmmaker Staffan Julén glances at the clock. This time
tomorrow he’ll be on his way to Mongolia, where he’ll be
ﬁlming for a whole month. His second most important item
of luggage lies next to the rucksack.
“It’s a really warm sleeping bag. And I’ll be needing it, I
can assure you.”
The climate in Mongolia really is rather special: 27˚ Celsius by day and a staggering minus 15 at night.
But for Staffan Julén, who for more than 20 years has
been a frequent visitor to Greenland, harsh climates are
nothing unusual. The last time he was up there he insisted
to his producer that he should be given a pair of polar bear
skin trousers. They were hard to ﬁnd, but Staffan held ﬁrm.
And during the shoot, he was the only one who managed to
That was when he was putting the ﬁnishing touches to his
latest ﬁlm, The Prize Of The Pole, the story of the Inuit boy
Majaq (“he who guides the way”) adopted by the American
arctic explorer Robert E. Peary at the start of the last century. Mijaq died unhappy and alone in a tiny northern village in the US at the tender age of 31.
The Majaq story is a tragic Greenland legend, handed
down from generation to generation. Staffan Julén originally heard it during his very ﬁrst visit to Greenland in 1983,
when he and his sister, Ylva Julén, began working on their
ﬁlm Inughuit – folket vid jordens navel (Inuit – the people at
the world’s navel).
“But although I’d heard the story, I wasn’t fully aware of
Majaq’s fate, except that it was an unhappy one which still
aroused strong feelings in Greenland.”
Staffan Julén has the greatest respect for the people of
Greenland, their immense wisdom and their ability to manage time and the pressures of life.
“They never get irritated by the things they can’t do
anything about. And they just love to tease us Westerners
because we’re all so stressed out.”
Yet despite his warm affection for the country, Staffan
Julén has never thought of breaking from Sweden and going
to live in Greenland.
“No, I’m quite happy to live here. In fact I’m more drawn
by warm places like the West Indies or Vietnam. I think life
is easier there.”
is for Real
An animated documentary?
With clay models? Right
– what’s the problem?
Karma ﬁghts against the messages from the advertising hoardings of the Stockholm underground that come ﬂying at her like throwing stars. Tiger gets
her name from the animal she rides, and Blue, an elf, gets hers
from her colour. The three of them are grafﬁti artists – or grafﬁti politicians as Blue prefers to call them – oh, and they’re
made of modelling clay.
“When we make a documentary we aim to get as close to
reality as possible. It was a real challenge to make the clay
believable, because the ﬁlm is certainly for real,” says director
and animator Cecilia Actis.
In the ﬁlm, the girls behind Karma, Blue and Tiger speak of
their attitudes to grafﬁti and why they like it as an art form.
We hear their actual voices, just like in a ”real” documentary,
and the fact that the ﬁgures are made of clay has given Cecilia
Actis and co-director Mia Hulterstam a number of advantages
from the point of view of narrative. To begin with, since grafﬁti in public places is illegal, it would be hard to get the real
girls to show their faces: instead, they can hide behind their
alter egos as a ninja, a tiger and a blue elf. And it also allows
the grafﬁti texts to come to life.
When people ﬁnd out that it’s an animated documentary,
many are highly sceptical.
“Just watch it, I tell them. And when they have, they think
it’s bloody brilliant!” says Cecilia, who together with Mia Hulterstam made a careful study of the actual girls’ movements
and mannerisms before they began shooting.
The pair had previously been involved in lighting and technical effects for the theatre. An introductory course in animation ﬁred their imaginations to such an extent that they
set about teaching themselves what they needed to know. In
2003 they made the documentary The Dance of my Text, about
a female rapper.
“It was fun working with her words and bringing them to
life. The same is true of grafﬁti. It’s a two dimensional art
form that lends itself to three dimensions. That’s what we give
it – we make the girls’ paintings come to life and move. And
we were completely fascinated by the girls’ reasons for getting
involved in the world of grafﬁti.”
Cecilia Actis and Mia Hulterstam are planning more animations using modelling clay.
“It suits us so well. Everything’s handmade, and the odd
ﬁngerprint here and there only adds to the feeling of immediacy.”
As Cecilia explains, they
buy the clay from England,
because of its strength.
“We’ve read about some
of the bigger studios who
keep their models in the
fridge. But we haven’t used
any really powerful lamps,
so there hasn’t been a risk
of them melting.”
DRESSED IN A NINJA OUTFIT,
II HENRIK EMILSON
II MATS WEMAN
Blue, Karma, Tiger
The Prize of the Pole
The Prize of the Pole Director Staffan Julén Director of Photography Camilla Hjelm Knudsen, Torben Forsberg Editors Clas Lindberg, Staffan
Julén, Ylva Fabricius Producers Michael Haslund Christensen, Jesper Morthorst, Per Forsgren, Birgitte Hofer, Eddie Rosenstein Produced by
Haslund Film Int, Nimbus Film, Eden Film, Maximage and Eyepop Prod, with support from the Swedish Film Institute/Per Nielsen, Hjalmar
Palmgren & Tove Torbiörnsson Screening details 78 minutes, Beta Sales First Hand Films
Blue, Karma, Tiger Directors, Screenwriters, Directors of Photography, Editors and Animators Cecilia Actis and Mia Hulterstam Sound Martin Hennel Producer Linda Sternö Produced by dancinganimation and Grym
Film in co-operation with Film i Skåne and Sveriges Television, with
support from Konstnärsnämnden, Sparbanksstiftelsen Skåne and the
Swedish Film Institute/Anne-Marie Söhrman Fermelin Screening details
12 minutes, 35 mm Sales Grym Film
12-17 helsidor.indd 12
Pontus lived in a spacious apartment in
central Stockholm. He enjoyed a successful life with
his family and children until his typing agency went
bankrupt and he lost everything. Eventually, Pontus ended up on the streets where he met Marina. And
for several years the two of them lived in nothing more
than a cramped metal container on a scrapheap.
“I knew from the outset that I didn’t want my ﬁlm to
point the ﬁnger of blame. But how on earth do people
manage? Life without a home is so fraught, a daily struggle to stay alive. It’s hard enough to live with someone
in a big apartment, let alone a tiny metal box. And the
lack of privacy – a girl can’t even have a pee in peace.”
Filmmaker Kirsi Nevanti, who was born in Finland
and came to Sweden at the age of 19, calls this is a love
story and a ﬁlm about “the unbounded human desire to
ﬁnd home”. She’s learnt that it’s easier than you’d imagine to fall through the net, and how society doesn’t really
care about those who don’t ﬁt into the “shiny, happy
people” mould. And she’s learnt true value of family life,
how we should cherish our nearest and dearest. What’s
most frightening of all is that our own children might be
among the homeless people of tomorrow.
It was 14 years ago that Kirsi ﬁrst got the idea for
Tomorrow Never Knows. She was ﬁlming outside a hostel for the homeless in Stockholm when she saw a man
kissing a woman goodnight before he went off to the
men’s dormitory and she to the women’s. On the door
was a sign that read “Home, sweet home”.
Back then in November 1992 she realised that she
wasn’t ready to make the ﬁlm. Quite simply, she was too
young and inexperienced.
“It’s always important to have respect for the people
you ﬁlm, but also to have some respect for yourself as
a ﬁlmmaker, to know your capabilities. I knew I wasn’t
ready for such a sensitive subject until recently.”
While shooting the ﬁlm she’s been ploughing through
Shakespeare, because “nobody understands the nature
of love, of loss and power like he does.” And Samuel
Beckett has also been high on her reading list, helping
her to shape the ﬁnal ﬁlm, which she edited down from
100 hours of footage. All the while, the question rang in
her head: “Whose city is this, anyway?”
Attempting to sum up Kirsi Nevanti’s work, two words
spring readily to mind: vulnerability and creativity. These
are recurring themes in each of her short ﬁlms, most
notably Among the Elves (En släkting till älvorna) – a ﬁlm
about the charismatic and controversial Swedish singer,
Freddie Wadling. Shooting that ﬁlm was a real test of her
ability to set limits, an experience she describes today
with a smile as “an invasion from outer space”.
Describing them both as generous people, Kirsi got
very close to Pontus and Marina during the long shoot
of Tomorrow Never Knows. They did back off occasionally, but not to any real extent. Yet there was one scene
that Marina refused point blank to allow. And with
hindsight, Kirsi thinks perhaps it was best that way.
“For a woman who’s lived in communal rooms for so
long, a bath is the ultimate luxury, so I thought I’d like
to ﬁlm her converting her living room into a bathroom.
To show her dream. But since this was what Marina valued most of all, it was also the hardest for her to do.”
Kirsi Nevanti’s ﬁlms are poetic, and above all imagedriven. But there was a time in her career when she
worked exclusively with sound – as a radio producer.
With the fall of Ceausescu and the Berlin Wall, she took
her microphone on a journey to Eastern Europe. Sitting
on a train in Romania, she suddenly realised that what
she needed was a camera.
“It was so amazing to see all those people, to see everything that had happened written large on their faces.
I knew straight away that I had to make a change. Since
then I’ve worked exclusively with images, and I’ve never
looked back.” II CHRISTINA HÖGLUND
It started with a kiss and ended up with a film about the
homeless. Kirsi Nevanti goes behind the “shiny happy
people” and asks “Whose city is this, anyway?”
N THE 1980 S
Tomorrow Never Knows
Tomorrow Never Knows Director Kirsi Nevanti Director of Photography Robert Nordström Editor Jan Alvermark
Producer Kirsi Nevanti Produced by Camera32 with support
from the Swedish Film Institute/Niklas Rådström, Per Nielsen,
Piodor Gustavsson, SVT Drama/Daniel Alfredson, The Church
Of Sweden, Nordic Film & TV fund/Kristin Ulseth and Konstnärsnämnden/Tove Torbiörnsson, Johan Donner, Gunilla
Byrstedt Screening details 114 minutes, 35 mm or Beta Sales
12-17 helsidor.indd 13
One married couple, two stories
and a shared philosophy. Meet
over the loudspeakers that the pilot has suffered a brain injury – after the plane has taken off. A workman
arrives at the house of a customer where he’s met by the customer’s
wife – a woman he thought was dead.
Husband and wife Martin Widerberg and Cristina Erman Widerberg are basically artists, yet they’ve always had a fascination for
ﬁlm, especially in their installations. Now they have made two separate documentaries, Human Perfomance and Limitations and What a
Lovely Kitchen, both inspired by true stories.
Martin Widerberg has a friend who’s a consultant neurologist. It
was from him that the airplane story originated.
“I’m really interested in neurology, so much that I’ve even been to
a number of conferences on the subject. I think I’m probably more
equipped than the average doctor to diagnose a brain haemorrhage,”
says Martin Widerberg.
He has also started to study for his pilots’ licence, and is fascinated
by the way people in aviation see the world:
”They assume that people make mistakes and set out to create
systems to avoid those mistakes. The way neurologists regard reality
is more philosophical. That’s what makes this meeting between the
two professions so interesting.”
The story behind What a Lovely Kitchen actually happened to
Christina Erman Widerberg’s father.
“I ﬁrst heard it from my mum, then from my dad. The differences
in the way they told the story was really fascinating. In the ﬁlm I
let a third person do the narration, because I wanted to put a ﬁlter
between myself and my parents.”
Both ﬁlms blur the conventional
distinctions between documentary, art and short ﬁlm.
“When I worked as a photographer I used to get annoyed at the
rules for what you can and cannot
do. It’s not constructive. I think
you should choose your format
based on the story,” says Martin
“What a Lovely Kitchen was the
opening ﬁlm at the Nordic Panorama in Bergen. People there
asked me: is this a documentary or
a short ﬁlm? For me it’s an irrelevant question, and in purely visual
terms I don’t care to categorise it.
The ﬁlm has been screened both
in an art gallery and at a short ﬁlm
festival,” Christina Erman Widerberg declares.
The couple are now working ﬂat
out on Bomber och granater, knivar och gafﬂar, a ﬁlm about a man
with a mild developmental disorder who has a liking for Mozart.
And this time Christina Erman Widerberg is rather more speciﬁc:
“Yes, this time there’s no doubting that it’s a documentary.”
A NEUROLOGIST HEARS
They had almost given up. There wouldn’t be a film,
after all. But then Peter Gerdehag made a discovery.
hanging on a thread. Natural
history ﬁlmmaker Peter Gerdehag and his editor
Tell Johansson were on the point of giving up.
They had been ﬁlming the elderly farmer StigAnders for more than 18 months. And their backer, Swedish Television, was getting cold feet, too.
“Stig-Anders was so reluctant to open up that we didn’t
know how we could ever get the ﬁlm to work,” Tell Johansson recalls.
Having previously won critical acclaim for their ﬁlm
The Farmer’s Time On Earth (Bondens tid på jorden), Gerdehag and Johansson were looking for material for their
next project. It was then that Peter Gerdehag remembered Stig-Anders, another (and rather unusual) farmer
he’d once met. He lives off what the land and forest provide, and he farms the earth using centuries old methods
handed down to him by his highly religious parents.
In the ﬁlm it’s virtually impossible to hear what StigAnders is saying behind his shaggy beard. Half the time
he’s speaking to himself in broad dialect, the other half
mumbling and whispering to the horses that pull his farm
machinery. The animals pick up on every nuance of his
instructions from far away across the ﬁelds. Just on the
other side of the fence, yet seemingly light years away, his
neighbour’s shiny tractor is collecting the hay into neat,
“We thought at ﬁrst the he looked a bit scary with his
massive beard, rather like a troll. But when he started talking we discovered he had the gentlest of voices,” says Tell
Johansson, who has edited down more than 200 hours of
footage for the ﬁlm.
It wasn’t as if Stig-Anders was against being ﬁlmed. It
was simply that it was so difﬁcult to get any information
out of him.
But things were about to change. One day the old
farmer fell ill and was admitted to hospital. It was then
that Peter Gerdehag made a discovery at his bedside, a
slip of paper that read: “Get well soon. Madeleine”.
“We were completely in the dark. Who was Madeleine?
He’d never mentioned her.”
The hunt for the mystery woman was on, and soon it
became apparent that Madeleine was a local girl who had
taken riding lessons from Stig-Anders in return for helping him on the farm.
“She’s grown up now, so we decided to use her as our
narrator to tie up the story of Stig-Anders. The ﬁlm also
became something of a story about their relationship. It
all came down to that note we found. Without it, the ﬁlm
wouldn’t be in the form it is today. Without it, there might
not even have been a ﬁlm at all.” II HENRIK EMILSON
II HENRIK EMILSON
Human Performance and Limitations
Human Performance and Limitations Director, screenwriter, director of photography,
sound, editor Martin Widerberg Producer Christina Erman Widerberg Produced by
Widerberg Film Screening details 5 minutes, Beta SP Sales Widerberg Film
What a Lovely Kitchen
The Horseman/Hästmannen Directors Peter Gerdehag, Tell Johansson Director of Photography Peter Gerdehag Screenwriter Tell Johansson Music Escapismo Editor Tell Johansson Producer Johan Miderberg Executive Producer Malcolm Dixelius Produced by Gerdehag
Photography AB in association with Sveriges Television AB/Ingemar Persson and Patrick Bratt, with support from the Swedish Film Institute/Tove Torbiörnsson Screening details 84 minutes, Digital Beta Release 10 November 2006 Sales Folkets Bio
What a Lovely Kitchen/Det var ett jäkla fint kök du har Director, screenwriter,
director of photography, sound, music, producer Christina Erman Widerberg Editors
Christina Erman Widerberg, Martin Widerberg Voiceover Daniel Staley Produced
by Widerberg Film Screening details 6 minutes, Beta SP Sales Widerberg Film
12-17 helsidor.indd 14
On her first visit to Northern
Ireland, Malin Andersson was
shocked to find two communities
at war. Her debut film is the story
of two young women – one from
either side of the walls.
IOLIN IN HAND, like so many other young people in
Europe, the 20 year-old Malin Andersson went in
search of the true spirit of Ireland. It was the early
90s, and Malin travelled the length and breadth of
the island, ending up in Belfast. There in Northern Ireland she
found two communities at war.
“It was really disturbing. But I was so taken with the place
that I couldn’t let it go.”
Malin returned to Northern Ireland year after year. Her ﬁrst
love, she confesses, was photography. Her portfolio of images
of Belfast grew, eventually helping her to gain admission to a
full-time photography course in Sweden.
But by that time, another love, of documentary ﬁlms,
had already been awakened. She couldn’t understand why
the Swedish media never reported the dreadful stories she
encountered time and time again in Belfast. And she began
to realise that if nobody else in Sweden would tell them, then
she’d just have to do it herself.
“They were shocking stories about the injustices committed
when the troubles were at their height. I made friends with a
number of young guys who’d been wrongfully imprisoned and
It was only several years later, when she moved back to
Malmö, that everything fell into place. Malin came into contact with the producer Fredrik Gertten at WG Film, who was
immediately taken with her idea for Belfast Girls: to tell the
stories of two 18 year-old girls, one a Catholic, the other a
But it took some time before Malin found her main characters: Christine (Protestant) and Mairéad (Catholic).
“I hadn’t had much contact with girls in Belfast, most of
the people I knew there were guys. A lot of them wanted to
appear in the ﬁlm, but that wasn’t what I wanted. And many
of the girls I approached simply thought: why should I want to
be in a ﬁlm?”
Most thinking people in Sweden come down on the side of
the Catholic republicans, though they fall short of expressing support for the IRA. But in Belfast Girls, Malin Andersson
made a conscious decision not to take sides.
“I wanted to show the reality, so I had to listen to the Protestants too. I wanted two very ordinary girls. And basically, I
don’t think it’s a ﬁlm about a divided Ireland, but rather about
what it’s like to be an 18 year-old living in Belfast.
Belfast Girls strikes a chord for the new Northern Ireland, for
the new generation that’s slowly moving away from almost a
century of segregation. Just ten years ago, for example, every
workplace was so split on community lines that it would have
been virtually impossible for the Protestant Christine, as she
does in the ﬁlm, to meet her Catholic boyfriend at her place
A slow process of political change is now under way, a process that began with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. As
Malin sees it, it marked the start of a period of hope, especially
for the Catholics:
“They’ve always had something to ﬁght for, and now they’ve
achieved their aims in some respects. They have a sort of cautious optimism right now. You can feel it on the Falls Road.
But for the Protestants, those feelings are reversed.”
As such, it’s a complicated time to make a ﬁlm about Northern Ireland. But Malin Andersson is undeterred:
“It’s important to show the complications. The people I’ve
met on the Protestant side feel virtually abandoned. They
were born secure in the knowledge that they had the upper
hand: you’ll always have a job, always have somewhere to live.
Now they’re suddenly thinking: “what’s going on here?”
But change takes time. The ﬁlm shows that even now,
Mairéad (whose grandfather, incidentally, was one of the Birmingham Six), still doesn’t dare to walk along certain streets.
And neither of the girls dares to go on a bus. It’s something
that sits deep, as Malin explains. People simply didn’t do those
things for so many years.
In the ﬁlm we follow the 18 year-olds in their everyday
lives. Christine is a teenage mother who’s recently met a new
boyfriend, Terry, who happens to be a Catholic. Eventually,
Mairéad also ﬁnds a boyfriend, Paddy, and the ﬁlm ends on
something of a high note.
But a grimmer reality emerged after Malin had put down
her camera and edited the ﬁlm. Just two weeks before the premiere, Paddy took his own life, the result of drugs and the fact
that north Belfast has the highest rate of suicide in Europe.
Malin took the ﬁrst plane over to be at Paddy’s funeral, and
managed to persuade Mairéad, despite this terrible event, to
attend the Swedish premiere. Yet the day before she was due
to ﬂy to Sweden, news came that Paddy’s brother had also
“There’s an epidemic of young men who are taking their
own lives right now,” Malin explains.
Yet the story doesn’t end there. Two days after Mairéad got
home from Sweden, she found out that she was pregnant.
“Everyone’s looking out for her right now. She’s expecting
Paddy’s baby, but he’s no longer there. It’s his baby, and she
wants him to live on. And now she wants me to come back and
do some more ﬁlming.” II MATS WEMAN
Belfast Girls Director Malin Andersson Director of Photography Céline Bozon Music Cecilia Nordlund, Krister Jonsson Editor Erik Bäfving Producers Fredrik Gertten, co-producer Alexandre Cornu Produced by WG Film and
Les Films du Tambour de Soie, in co-production with Sveriges Television and Film i Skåne, with support from Swedish Film Institute/Hjalmar Palmgren, Procirep, CNC, Nordic Film & TV Fund and Angoa Screening details 60
minutes, DV Cam and DVD Release 18 september 2006 Sales Films Transit International Inc.
12-17 helsidor.indd 15
When PeÅ Holmquist and Suzanne Khardalian
heard that “Little Sweetie” had become a psychoanalyst, there was only one thing left to do.
M CALM, I’M comfortable, I’m safe.” Somewhere in
northern Gaza, a psychologist is drilling his patient.
The man takes off his cap to reveal that his entire
forehead has been crushed in. A suicide bomber
who has survived his mission, he’s suffering from severe memory loss and depression after spending 28 days in a coma.
More than 20 years on from their celebrated Gaza Ghetto
and a number of other ﬁlms about the region, the husband
and wife team PeÅ Holmquist and Suzanne Khardalian are
“But this is no Gaza Ghetto 2, that’s not what we wanted.
We were looking for a new angle to spark us off again,” PeÅ
They found that spark in one of the members of the family
that featured in Gaza Ghetto. Back then, Ayed was affectionately known as “Little Sweetie”. Now an adult, he’s the only
ﬁeld psychologist in northern Gaza. His role is both unique
“To begin with, many people questioned whether it was
against the principles of Islam to undergo therapy. There are
so many prejudices. But you have to remember that they face
exactly the same problems that we do, only about a thousand
Young Freud in Gaza will be premiered later next year.
Having done their research and ﬁlmed certain scenes already,
Holmquist and Khardalian intend to continue shooting into
2007. Their longstanding friendship with the family and the
respect they gained in the region for Gaza Ghetto have given
them access to places that no other ﬁlmmakers have visited
before. What happens in front of the camera during the therapy sessions is both gripping and symbolic. Suzanne Khardalian describes a scene with a woman who has lost her husband
in a car crash and is suffering from a morbid fear of death:
“She has her face entirely covered and has come to therapy
with her mother and brother. The daughter is full of anguish,
yet has at least realised her need for help. But the brother is
sceptical of anything to do with the West, whether medicine
or treatment. God is all that matters to him. We get right
inside their family, and it’s like a microcosm of the community
as a whole.”
“You couldn’t get any closer,” PeÅ Holmquist adds.
Certain practical issues apart, there are obvious safety concerns about working in what is, in effect, a war zone. The
couple have a daughter in Sweden, so they avoid being in particularly dangerous places at the same time. Fatah and Hamas
are at odds with each other, making the situation intolerable.
And some of the patients in the ﬁlm are active members of
“Yet everyone gets treatment, irrespective of their political
allegiances,” says Suzanne Khardalian.
“Take the suicide bomber with the crushed forehead. Right
now his main concern is his parents. He says he wants peace
with Israel, and that his priorities have changed since his
bombing mission. But it’s too early to say whether he regrets
what he did,” says PeÅ Holmquist.
Holmquist and Khardalian are keen to point out that it’s
totally different meeting someone who has committed such an
act of violence in this context. If they’d met him in prison, he’d
probably have boasted that he was a freedom ﬁghter.
“You can read between the lines, too. He claims that he used
to have a number of mobile phones which never stopped ringing. He was a hero. But now, nobody calls him.”
The young psychologist Ayed is the focal point of the ﬁlm,
and the ﬁlmmakers are full of admiration for the shining
example he sets:
“Ayed has an optimistic belief in the future, without which
the ﬁlm could never exist. Take Inas, for example, a girl who
harbours thoughts of suicide. She’s so much better now than
the ﬁrst time I ﬁlmed her,” says PeÅ Holmquist.
Recently appointed professor at Stockholm’s University College of Film, Radio, Television and Theatre, Holmquist was
asked to write a book (Dokumentärﬁlmarens resa), which was
published earlier this year, charting his 30-year career in ﬁlm:
“It’s not enough to have made 50 ﬁlms, they expect you to
write something, too,” he quips. II HENRIK EMILSON
Young Freud in Gaza
Young Freud in Gaza Directors PeÅ Holmquist, Suzanne Khardalian Director of Photography PeÅ Holmquist Producer PeÅ Holmquist, HB PeÅ Holmquist Film, Sweden Co-produced by Final Cut Productions, Denmark and
Illume Oy, Finland Screening details 80 minutes and 52 minutes (TV) Release December 2007 Sales TBA
12-17 helsidor.indd 16
When director Rebecka
Rasmusson met prima donna
Alice Timander, the upshot was
a film – about both of them.
she’s at home in her apartment, Alice
Timander is wearing one of her trademark platinum blonde
wigs. She ﬂashes her famous smile. A smile that, in pictures of
opening nights and society parties, has adorned Sweden’s celebrity magazines for more than 60 years. Turning to the ﬁlm camera, she quips:
“Being seen is like being loved.”
Like everyone else in Sweden, documentary ﬁlmmaker
Rebecka Rasmusson had her own preconceived notions about
Alice Timander. But when she heard the blonde matriarch talking about herself in a television interview, she felt touched and
“Especially when she confessed that her desire to be seen has
a lot to do with never having felt loved, and being ignored by her
father. I thought it was brave of her to bare her soul and say so
Realising that she was never destined to be a major star of
stage or screen, the young Alice Timander was nonetheless
determined to get the attention she craved as a society celebrity.
Alongside her life in the limelight, in 1937 she became Sweden’s
ﬁrst ever female dentist. Her career meant that her own three
children had a to take a back seat, repeating the pattern of disregard set by her father.
Rebecka Rasmusson was so fascinated by her story that she
decided to ﬁnd out more about the woman behind the public
At the same time, the ﬁlmmaker herself suffered a personal
crisis when her partner, the father of the child she was expecting, abandoned her. It provided a new edge to the ﬁlm, in which
the director suddenly found a role for herself.
This approach to a ﬁlm is not untypical of Rebecka Rasmusson. She often chooses a strong person as her subject, happy to
contribute herself on a personal level. This is certainly true of
Jonas and Reality (Jonas och verkligheten) a ﬁlm about a boy
with ADHD, and even more so of Cirkus Åke Skogh, where she
herself took a part in the circus troupe.
At ﬁrst, personal pressures were so great that Rebecka Rasmusson was unsure if she’d
be able complete the ﬁlm. She
opened her soul to Alice, who
sympathised greatly and offered
advice as to what Rebecka
should do. The director’s own
private life and the ﬁlm became
fused inexorably together.
“Alice’s life has so much to do
with love and betrayal and the
consequences they have. The
more I talked to her about my
own life, the more she opened
up about hers. It meant I was
able to get very close to her.”
Do you think that Alice Timander regarded the ﬁlm as yet
another opportunity to get herself noticed?
“I can’t answer that. But all through her long life she’s been
regarded as a shallow person. When I talked to her about my
own life, we really connected. Perhaps what she liked best was
the opportunity to show that deep down there’s so much more to
Alice Timander than meets the eye. To be seen as who she really
is, for once.” II HENRIK EMILSON
DESPITE THE FACT THAT
Alice and Me
Alice and Me/Alice och jag Director Rebecka Rasmusson
Director of Photography Lukas Eisenhauer Editors Dominika Winkler,
Bernhard Winkler Producer Stina Gardell Produced by Mantaray Film & TV
Productions in co-production with Sveriges Television/Kultur, with support
from the Swedish Film Institute/Tove Torbiörnsson Screening details 74
minutes, Beta Sales Mantaray Film & TV Productions
Forget Canada. Forget Gretzky and Lemieux.
Real ice hockey is played by women – in India.
Against all odds
pretty cold when you need one of
the best sleeping bags money can buy, a pair
of thermal gloves to read your book, and when
the water in your toothbrush mug freezes over
– indoors. Welcome to Ladakh: an isolated province in the
Filmmaker Håkan Berthas spent the winter of 2005/2006
documenting the highly unlikely story of how ice hockey
came to Ladakh, where conditions actually turned out to
be ideal for the sport.
“Anyone who ever put on a pair of skates and who looked
out on those enormous frozen lakes would know just how
perfect they are.”
As it happens, ice hockey has turned out to be hugely
popular in Ladakh.
“It’s a desert area. There are no natural fuels, so they
don’t heat up their houses. When it’s cold indoors, it’s better to be in the sunshine outdoors. And that’s when it’s perfect to play hockey.”
By tradition, the sport has been dominated by men
and boys. But during the 2004 national championships, a
group of girls caused uproar by insisting on playing in the
OU KNOW IT’S
competition too. The whole thing was caught on camera by
an amateur Swedish ﬁlmmaker. Word reached Håkan Berthas, fresh from his success with the documentary Nabila,
and on the lookout for his next project. As a former ice
hockey player himself, he was completely taken with this
story of the girls who challenged the status quo.
The upshot is a classic Rocky-style underdog tale of sport
“Just like Nabila it’s about girl power. People must think
I’m some kind of super feminist,” Håkan Berthas quips.
The director was helped in his task by a fortunate series
of events. By chance, a female American backpacker and
former ice hockey player had turned up at the school in
Ladakh, where the girls were studying. She agreed to
become their coach. There’s also some topical religious
interest in the ﬁlm when the Buddhist girls need a few more
players for the team and turn to a neighbouring school in
Kargil, where the girls are Muslims. That was when Håkan
Berthas managed to stage something of a mini revolution.
“I joined in a little ice hockey myself in front of the mullahs, and managed to get them to agree that the girls could
play wearing trousers!” II HENRIK EMILSON
Thin Ice Director Håkan Berthas Directors of Photography Ole Östen Tokle, Håkan Berthas Music Magnus Dahlberg, Robin af Ekenstam, Dan
Gisen Malmquist, Conny Malmqvist Editor Stefan Sundlöf Producers Fredrik Gertten, Margarete Jangård Produced by WG Film in co-production with Medieoperatörerna Norway, Sveriges Television, with support from the Swedish Film Institute/Hjalmar Palmgren, Norwegian Film
Fund, Nordic Film & TV Fund and Film i Örebro/Ylva Liljeholm Screening details 57 minutes, DVD and DV Cam Release TBA Sales Films Transit
12-17 helsidor.indd 17
THE FOLLOWING 8 new feature documentaries are all ready to hit international festivals
and markets. You can read more about all of them in this issue of Swedish Film. Please
keep in mind that this is just a selection of new Swedish documentaries – you will always
find updated information on all new films (including shorts and features) handled for
festivals by the Swedish Film Institute on www.swedishfilm.org. Stay tuned!
Andreas Fock Festivals, documentaries, International Department, SFI
Are You Playing Tonight?
Portrait of a European Actor. The Ingmar Bergman/Andrey Tarkovsky/Liliana
Cavani-actor Erland Josephson on acting and living, bluffing and performing,
reality and fiction. A film about being dedicated to curiosity and the energy of
art: “Only through art is it possible to express what you don’t understand.”
Original title Spelar du ikväll?
Directors Ulf Peter Hallberg, Torben Skjødt Jensen
Screenwriter Ulf Peter Hallberg
Director of photography, editor Torben Skjødt Jensen
Music Povl Kristian
Producer Thomas Stenderup, Signe Byrge Sørensen
Produced by Final Cut Film Productions ApS, Mantaray Film & TV
Productions/Stina Gardell in co-production with Sveriges Television/
Drama, Yle Teema Ateljee, Nordic Film & TV Fund with support from
Swedish Film Institute/Marianne Ahrne
Cast Lena Endre, Maria Bonnevie, Stina Ekblad, Ghita Nørby
Screening details Beta SP, Colour, 73 min, English subtitles
Released September 15, 2006
Torben Skjødt Jensen was born in 1958. Alongside his film work, Torben
has worked for Danish Television in recent years, adapting theatre plays for
television and assisting with various television documentaries.
The writer and filmmaker Ulf Peter Hallberg was born 1953 in Malmö,
Sweden, but has lived in Berlin since 1983. Hallberg has written several
books and worked a lot for theatre and film, both as a writer and a director.
Together the “taviani-brothers” Hallberg and Skjødt Jensen directed
Benjamin’s Shadow (1997).
This is the story of teenage girls Mairéad Mc Ilkenny and Christine Savage,
growing up in post-war Belfast. Two strong, young women with their everyday life struggles – sharing the legacy of 30 years of conflict – but living in
different worlds, in the same city but cut off from each other by high walls.
This year their lives will take turns they never could imagine...
One day in August 1972 Rainer Hartleb stepped into a classroom in the
Stockholm suburb Jordbro. He met the kids at the Lunda school for the first
time. The idea was to picture the kids’ way through school and the life in
New Sweden – the suburbs. The project grew and continued into the 80’s
and 90’s. The fifth film in the series, A Pizza in Jordbro, was released in
1994 and received a Swedish National Film Award (Guldbagge) as well as
the Swedish Film Critics’ Prize. In 1996 the whole series was screened at
the Berlin International Film Festival and many other film festivals worldwide.
The kids were adults, the mission was over. Or was it? 34 years after the
project began, Rainer Hartleb is now back with a new film in the series.
Once again he meets the kids. They are now close to forty.
The Planet is a hot from the oven attempt to find answers about the truths
and untruths of the alarming global changes that many claim are already in
motion. It is the most extensive documentary project ever being produced in
Scandinavia. The film crews have visited over 25 countries around the world.
The Planet is about much more than climate change. It’s about the Earth as a
whole – it’s about the overall global changes we are experiencing right now.
Original title Belfast Girls
Director Malin Andersson
Director of photography Céline Bozon
Editor Erik Bäfving
Sound Christine Barker
Music Cecilia Nordlund, Krister Jonsson
Producer Fredrik Gertten
Produced by WG Film, Les Films du Tambour de Soie/Alexandre Cornu
in co-production with Sveriges Television, Film i Skåne in association
with Arte France, Radio Telefis Eireann Ireland, YLE FST Finland, The
Documentary Channel Canada, Lichtpunt Belgium, RTBF Belgium, DR
TV Denmark, NRK Norway, ETV Estonia with support from Swedish
Film Institute, Procirep, CNC, Nordic Film & TV Fund, Angoa. Developed
with support from the MEDIA Programme of the European Community
Screening details Digibeta, Colour, 58 min, English subtitles
First screening September 18, 2006
Selected for Nordisk Panorama 2006, Prix Europa 2006
Sales Films Transit International Inc.
Malin Andersson, born in 1972, studied at Biskops-Arnö’s documentary
film school as well as Dramatiska Institutet and has been working as an
assistant to directors such as Per Carleson, Helgi Felixson, Stefan Jarl and
Christoph Michold. She has spent a lot of time in Belfast, with and without
a camera. This is her first film as a director.
Original title Alla mår bra
Director Rainer Hartleb
Directors of photography Lars Lundgren (1972-77), Staffan Lindqvist
(1978-2005), Rainer Hartleb (1987, 2005)
Editor Rainer Hartleb, Michal Leszczylowski
Sound Cinepost/Leif Westerlund
Music Cecilia Fredén, Käbi Laretei
Producer Rainer Hartleb
Produced by Olympia Filmproduktion HB in cooperation with Sveriges
Television - Dokumentär/Ingemar Persson with support from Swedish
Film Institute/Hjalmar Palmgren, Tove Torbiörnsson
Screening details Bw/colour, 157 min, English subtitles
Released September 1, 2006
Rainer Hartleb, born 1944 in Germany, has made several documentary
films for Sveriges Television (SVT) where he started to work as a director
in 1968. In 1972 he started to work on the Jordbro series, the result so far
being six documentary films.
Original title The Planet
Directors Michael Stenberg, Johan Söderberg, Linus Torell
Screenwriters Michael Stenberg, Linus Torell
Directors of photography Jan Röed and others
Editor Johan Söderberg
Sound Jonas Goldmann, Ragnar Samuelsson and others
Music Johan Söderberg, David Österberg
Producers Michael Stenberg, Jonas Kellagher
Produced by Charon Film in co-production with Sveriges Television,
Videomaker AS, Fox Media, NRK, YLE FST with support from Formas,
Nordic Film & TV Fund, Norwegian Film Fund, The Ministry of Education
Denmark, Stiftelsen Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, Vetenskapsrådet,
Swedish Film Institute/Niklas Rådström, Per Nielsen
Screening details 35mm, 1:1.85, Digital Dolby, 84 min, English subtitles
Released September 1, 2006
International premiere IDFA 2006 (Joris Ivens Competition)
Sales AB Svensk Filmindustri
Michael Stenberg is a documentary director, producer and scriptwriter. The
Planet is his third documentary.
Johan Söderberg is an innovative editor and composer. He was the editor
on Erik Gandini’s Surplus (2003) and co-directed Tokyo Noise (2002).
Linus Torell is the creator of some of Sweden’s most popular TV shows for
children. His first feature Misa Mi (2003) has been awarded worldwide.
18-20 new docs.indd 18
SE-116 35 Stockholm
Tel: +46 8 462 26 90
Fax: +46 8 462 26 97
The Prize of the Pole
Identity and belonging. These two words can be used to describe human
yearning and struggle across time and space. The film deals with three men
and their life-long attempts to reconcile the opposing cultural ties within them.
Dolkar, a young Buddhist woman from Ladakh in the Himalayas wants to
play ice hockey. She and her friends try to make ice to skate on, get equipment and coaching. But the big problem is that the men in the winter sport
committee are not letting women participate in the annual ice hockey tournament. Dolkar becomes the leader of the gang and together with Muslim girls
from the neighbour town Kargil they take up the struggle.
Original title The Prize of the Pole
Director, screenwriter Staffan Julén
Directors of photography Camilla Hjelm Knudsen, Torben Forsberg
Editors Clas Lindberg, Staffan Julén, Ylva Fabricius
Sound Jens Bönding
Music Frithjof Toksvig
Producers Michael Haslund-Christensen, Jesper Morthorst, Per Forsgren, Birgitte Hofer, Eddie Rosenstein
Produced by Haslund Film International MMVI, Nimbus Film Productions in association with Eden Film AB, Maximage, Eyepop Productions,
Schweizer Fernsehen DRS, Sveriges Television - Dokumentärfilm/
Björn Arvas, Dr By Flemming Grenz, Yle Co-productions with support
from Danish Film Institute/Dola Bonfils & Allan Berg Nielsen, The
Swedish Film Institute/Hjalmar Palmgren, Per Nielsen & Tove Torbiörnsson, Media Programme of the European Community, Nordic Film
& TV Fund, Nordisk Kulturfond, Nuna Fonden, Greenland Contractors,
Air Greenland, Augustinus Fund, Alliance Atlantis Broadcast Group,
Kiip, Folketingets Grønlandsfond, Den Kongelige Grønlandsfond
Screening details Bw/colour, 80 min, English subtitles
First screening November 10, 2006
Sales First Hand Films
Staffan Julén, born 1957 in Stockholm, is a film photographer and director.
Previously he has directed Åter till Runö – svenskön i exil (1991) and Inughuit – folket vid jordens navel (1985).
Original title Thin Ice
Director Håkan Berthas
Directors of photography Ole Östen Tokle, Håkan Berthas
Editor Stefan Sundlöf
Music Magnus Dahlberg, Robin af Ekenstam, Dan Gisen Malmquist,
Producers Fredrik Gertten, Margarete Jangård
Produced by WG Film in co-production with Medieoperatörerna Norway
and Sveriges Television in association with YLE Teema Finland, APTN
Canada, VRT Belgium, The Buddhist Broadcasting Foundation The
Netherlands, DR TV Denmark, ETV Estonia with support from the Swedish Film Institute/Hjalmar Palmgren, Norwegian Film Fund, Nordic Film
& TV Fund, Film i Örebro.
Screening details Digibeta, Colour, 58 min, English subtitles
First screening November 8, 2006
International premiere IDFA 2006 (Silver Wolf Competition)
Sales Films Transit International Inc.
Håkan Berthas, born 1958, studied photo and film at N.Y. International
Centre of Photography and documentary film at Dramatiska Institutet in
Stockholm. Berthas has made documentaries such as Big Mike (2004,
co-dir. Hanna Heilborn) and Nabila (2003, co-dir. Johan Bjerkner).
SE-113 26 Stockholm
Tel +46 70 850 75 08
Charon Film AB
SE-196 92 Kungsängen
Tel/Fax: +46 8 584 503 90
SE-114 40 Stockholm
Tel: +46 73 531 29 21
c/o Mia Hulterstam
SE-214 39 Malmö
Tel: +46 73 637 99 20
Eden Film AB
SE-116 28 Stockholm
Tel: +46 70 751 25 86
Fax: +46 8 641 75 78
Final Cut Productions ApS
DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø
Tel: +45 3543 6043
Gerdehag Photography AB
SE-572 91 Oskarshamn
Tel: +46 491 771 60
Fax: +46 491 771 60
Tomorrow Never Knows
The Zhang Empresses
…people, longing, loss, and love on a hard road. Heavily charged with the
absurdities of modern life, the film is a commentary on the theme “when
on a hard road, with nothing but the clothes on your back…”. The main
characters are Pontus who suddenly finds a future ahead of him after years
of homelessness, and Marina, his former girlfriend still out there in the cold.
Unexpectedly, the road stretches broad and straight in front of him, to a
“Best In Class” at the Royal Institute of Technology, the cosy sofa of at TV
talk show. All he needs now is a place of his own. For Marina the struggle of
survival is hard, and prejudices are many. Tomorrow Never Knows gives us a
new take on the “losers” we meet on the streets.
How does it feel to touch the ground of your native country – for the first
time – without the ability to speak the language? And what happens if you
really aren’t very fond of the country where you were born? Join Nanna,
Alice, Linnéa and Mimmi on their first journey back to Shanghai in China,
where their former children’s home is situated. A film about identity and what
it really means. Is your Chinese origin a big part of your daily life, ten years
later on the other side of the world?
Original title Tomorrow Never Knows
Director Kirsi Nevanti
Director of photography Robert Nordström
Editor Jan Alvermark
Music Freddie Wadling
Producer Kirsi Nevanti
Produced by Camera32 with support from Swedish Film Institute/Niklas
Rådström, Per Nielsen, Peter ”Piodor” Gustafsson, Sveriges Television/
Drama, The Church of Sweden, Nordic Film & TV Fund, Konstnärsnämnden
Screening details 35mm, 1:1.85, Colour, Dolby Surround, 114 min,
World premiere IDFA 2006 (Joris Ivens Competition)
Kirsi Nevanti studied film at Dramatiska Institutet in Stockholm and sociology on the University of Stockholm. A producer/filmmaker with several
shorts and documentaries under her belt, among them the acclaimed documentary Among the Elves (1999).
Original title Kejsarinnorna Zhang
Director, producer Christina Höglund
Director of photography Niklas Forshell
Editor Martin Assarsson
Sound Ulf Nordin
Produced by Christina Höglund in co-production with Sveriges
Television with support from FFIA
Screening details Digibeta, Colour, 46 min, English subtitles
First screening March 2006 (BUFF, Malmö)
International premiere IDFA 2006 (Kids & Docs)
Christina Höglund is a journalist based in Stockholm. She has worked for
both Sveriges Radio and Sveriges Television and she’s currently writing
about film. This is her first documentary film.
Ravnsborggade 8, 4 tv
Tel: +46 7026 0888
Fax: +45 7026 0889
Tel: +46 8 15 62 80
Fax: +46 8 15 62 82
SE-211 21 Malmö
Tel: +46 40 23 20 98
Fax: +46 40 23 35 10
SE-211 46 Malmö
Tel: +46 70 985 53 70
AB Svensk Filmindustri
SE-169 86 Stockholm
Tel: +46 (0)8 680 35 00
Deckert Distribution GmbH
Tel: +49 341 215 66 38
Fax: +49 341 215 66 39
Films Transit International Inc.
252 Gouin Boulevard East
Canada H3L 1A8
Tel: +1 514 844 3358
Fax: +1 514 844 7298
First Hand Films World Sales
Tel: +41 1 312 20 60
SE-105 10 Stockholm
Tel: +46 8 784 86 14
Fax: +46 8 784 60 75
Mantaray Film & TV
SE-116 21 Stockholm
Tel: +46 8 640 43 45
SE-116 23 Stockholm
Tel: +46 70 868 79 74
HB PeÅ Holmquist Film
SE-126 37 Hägersten
Tel: +46 8 645 65 92
Fax: +46 8 555 720 05
Festivals/Documentaries: Andreas Fock
[email protected] +46 8 665 11 41
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Sv e n s k F i l m i n du s t r i
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AB SVENSK FILMINDUSTRI
SE-169 86 Stockholm/Sweden
Sr. VP, Head of Int’l Division
Cell: +46 705 38 48 48
VP – International Sales
Cell: +46 70 648 26 11