30/01/2015

BACON I BAGAGEN – hvorfor i alverden?

(In Danish - about a book I've written (also in Danish) which is being published in near future - no big deal...)

Først og fremmest er jeg blevet gladere og gladere for at skrive. Det er nemt og koster ikke noget, og jeg behøver ikke spørge nogen om lov. Faktisk kan man gøre det nøgen på sin terrasse.

Men jeg havde altså fået trykt en rejseartikel i Berlingeren, så jeg skrev nogle flere, som jeg dog ikke fik afsat. Så tænkte jeg, at man kunne samle dem i en bog, hvorfor jeg sendte dem til et forlag. Redaktøren kunne dog ikke lige se det for sig, men han havde netop set ”Min Avatar og Mig”, og var ret begejstret for vores blanding af dokumentar og fiktion, så han foreslog mig, at jeg gjorde det samme i en bog.

”Øh, det samme?”, sagde jeg, og skulle lige bruge en sommer på at finde ud af, hvordan dén kunne skæres. Nuvel, jeg fandt på noget og gav mig selv nogle rammer for handlingen med udgangspunkt i de der rejseskildringer, og begyndte at skrive.

De første prøvekapitler faldt i ret god jord hos forlaget, men så gik der lige to-tre år med processen, og så havde redaktøren fået nyt job, og de kunne derfor ikke udgive den, da ingen andre derinde kunne se meningen med det – eller bare se på hvilken hylde den eventuelt skulle stå; rejsebeskrivelser, romaner, selvbiografier, essaysamlinger? Jeg indrømmer, at det ikke er helt let. Jo vent, på hylden med ”Idiosynkratisk autofaktion”.


Omslag og layout: Claus Lynggaard

Nå, men jeg ville også teste, om jeg overhovedet havde stamina til at skrive en hel, nogenlunde sammenhængende bog færdig. Og så ville jeg skrive noget, som jeg aldrig selv havde læst magen til men (måske) godt kunne tænke mig at læse. Der ligger også noget formeksperimenterende i det. Noget med at blande genrer og stilarter, fakta og fiktion, flette det personlige med det mere distancerede og det lettilgængeligt underholdende med det mere kryptiske. Lidt jazzet, kort sagt.

Men stilen var ikke noget, jeg planlagde; den kom af sig selv, for sådan er jeg åbenbart. Og bogen er sgu både ret god og temmelig håbløs, synes jeg. Lige som sådan noget skal være – og som det meste af det, jeg laver, egentlig er.

Så udgives skulle den, med eller uden forlag. Ja, det blev så uden… med titlen "Bacon i bagagen."

Hvad den handler om? Tjah, alt og ingenting… men I vil høre nærmere… eller zoom ind på omslaget ovenfor. Og den har faktisk også noget at gøre med dokumentarfilm, som denne blog jo primært er beregnet til.

Bogen bliver tilgængelig som trykt bog og som e-bog via www.gopubli.sh en gang i marts.

232 sider, format: 15,5x23 m. flapper.

02/12/2014

Every(?) blog-writer's self-portrait

You know the feeling... if you've ever written anything you thought was good... and then read it!

17/11/2014

CPH:DOX 2014 Closing Award Ceremony will not be reviewed…

… because this year I wasn’t invited. I really should stop bashing their opening venue, and if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all… and all that... you know… (I hear the ceremony was tasteful, though).

I did go to the after-party upon receiving a mail in the afternoon from the organizers about some wrongly announced times, so at that point I knew when NOT to go for drinks at the French embassy and the awards show at Hotel d’Angleterre.

But why do I care? I care because I want CPH:DOX to also be my festival. I care about the genre which I work with practically everyday year round and I want the festival to be something that I look forward to, even though I don’t have a film shown or a project being pitched.

Yes, I do already look forward to it and I do watch a great deal of films (and review a couple at www.filmkommentaren.dk), but I kind of miss that the festival embraces the local professional community a bit more. Not because we are professionals, but because we love docs. Of course we all have a free will, but it’s a bit too easy not getting involved if you are a Copenhagen-based filmmaker with no invitations or direct involvement of the festival.

And for god’s sake, let’s not make it too posh. Don’t get me wrong, I love being on the right side of a red, velvet rope with a glass of champagne, but has the whole thing – and probably myself too - become a bit too self-absorbed and elitist? I mean, d’Angleterre? The most bourgeois place in town?

And now you can get selected to become a Kickstarter-project. Am I the only one who finds that a bit ironic that crowd funding projects now has another keyhole to pass? (I haven’t looked into this a lot, so please excuse me if I have misunderstood something re. this initiative)

Anywho, the festival does an enormous job, I enjoy most of it (and subsequently am a bit under the weather now) and the audience seems to like it. Well, that’s another matter: From what I hear, the audience-numbers at regular showings of films also shown at the festival are a bit discouraging. Everything has to be an event nowadays. Clearly, the good folks at CPH:DOX know that already and I don’t (among other things).

So keep up the good work.

PS. Personally, I prefer festivals with no awards at all, but why isn’t there a Danish competition anymore?


08/11/2014

CPH:DOX 2014 Opening will not be reviewed...


... because it was once again held at DR Koncerthuset which is quite unsuited for film screenings for a large part of the audience. The sound was horrendous and cut into the small fragile bones of my ears and other body parts; at least heard from my section of the concert hall.


Main characer of "1989", Németh Miklós. A good guy (much better than the host).

And even though the discussion afterwards was on an interesting topic (that of the film), there was not one word (maybe one) about the film itself. The curse of documentary filmmaking: The subject matter often overshadows the film as art form (hence point 2 here).

But maybe a documentary film festival should not be doing that on their opening night? Well, what the hell, they have a lot to think about and a lot of ideas to consider, so schwam darüber.

And since I am still trying to get a ticket for the international guest's dinner party in Tivoli on Wednesday, I better shut up.

See you at the festival venues.

Previous years:
CPH:DOX 2012 Opening Complaints
CPH:DOX 2013 Opening

17/09/2014

Moore and Berlinger

Michael Moore's 5th rule of documentary film making says: "The Left is boring [... ],  we've lost our sense of humor and we need to be less boring. We used to be funny. The Left was funny in the 60s, and then we got really too damn serious. I don't think it did us any good."

As you can see it's hardly a rule - more a statement - but that's ok.

Another renowned documentary film maker, Joe Berlinger, replies (in one phrasing): "Not every filmmaker can or wants to be funny, and not every subject lends itself to humor".

Who is right? If you've been here before you know my stand; that it is probably better to fight adversary to humor than making a non-humorus film - even on a very important topic.


But how can you treat a serious problem with un-seriousness? Well, it's up to every film maker, of course, but I think it's really the other way around: Taking a humorous, satrical look at ANYTHING only shows the utmost respect for the people (even victims) involved. And if you feel otherwise, if you get offended, if you feel that the humourus approach is despicable - who is the one having the real problems? You or the funny guy?

I mean, I don't get offended when someone makes a serious documentary (hey, I even produce them), but I do raise my eyebrow in disbelief if someone get's offended by a humorous (or even entertaining) approach in another documentary.


PS. "Rape in the military ("Invisible War"), for example, is not fertile ground for humor", says Berlinger. Hmm, I feel that treating this extremely serious matter with a satirical view on the macho culture in the military could be a fertile way to go... it will take some work and thinking, but nevertheless...

PPS. By the way, I'm not opposed to Berlinger in any (other) way. Wrote a rather favorable review of one of his films at www.filmkommentaren.dk



08/07/2014

Are melodies and stories related?

Thoughts during the opening concert with Aaron Parks at Copenhagen Jazz Festival, July 2014.

Over the years I have been frustrated with and curious about myself regarding many things, but I’ve wondered why it is that I more and more tend to favour music with a strong melodic approach and at the same time have become less and less interested in films (and literature) with a strong emphasis on plot and story. Does that make me an inconsistent person or – more likely - a complex and highly interesting individual?


Or is rather because melody and plot are not that related at all? More second cousins than brother and sister? On the surface you would think that the arrangement of notes and/or words in a logically progressing way would be sort of in the same family, but if you think deeper, maybe not. A melody can be entertaining and have surprises built in, but it doesn’t have to end a specific place. Well, it sort of does, but not in the way a plot needs to be structured. Maybe it’s because music really IS math with emotions whilst words are farther away from arithmetic and shouldn’t be treated as such. Like when you calculate at what page or after how many minutes a certain event of the plot should take place. I mean, a turning point measured out to be after for instance 24 minutes in a film doesn’t make sense if those 24 minutes feels like 45, does it? On the other hand is structure in film not a bad thing… but I guess what I mean is, that what the plot brings to a film is not the same thing the melody brings to a piece of music.

Like these guys on stage: they start a tune with a terrific melodic theme but soon something else takes over, rhythmic or harmonic or improvisational ideas and changes, and only once in a while does the melody step up again and remind us what started this thing. Jazz have these possibilities.

A film cannot start a story and abandon it… or rather: I would like to see more films do just that… as long as something else steps in and takes its place. The melody can carry through and soar over a jazz tune, but the plot and the story are way too often too important for the progression of the film to be interesting…

And on this happy note I will go out and enjoy some more jazz in the Copenhagen summer – as should you. Stop and say hello if you see me: I’m the one with a beer in my hand, wearing short trousers grossly inappropriate for my age. I should be the only one...

10/05/2014

Four reasons as to why making documentaries is such a pain in the ass.

1. You need to do research
For some reason, people seem to expect that documentaries need to be journalistically researched. No harm in that – more knowledge will not hurt you – but there IS a risk of reality ruling over fantasy and no real film needs that. (Besides, it sounds like a lot of work).

2. You need to convince other people about the importance of your project.
That goes for every film, of course, but in the documentary world the topic itself must be of interest to the commissioning editors. Well, no harm in that, but like a fiction film is not the same as its script, so is a documentary film so much more (or should be) than its topic.

3. You cannot make a living of making documentaries.
That’s okay; my wife has a real job. So no real harm in that for me - as long as no one files for divorce.

4. You cannot make fun of anything.
Use of humor equals insincerity and shallowness and is neither artistically nor journalistically viable. That’s just the way it is and always has been with people of the right and true faith (be it a religion or a specific school of filmmaking). No harm in that… oops… well, maybe just a bit, because lack of humor, satire or self-irony in my mind equals a risk of one-sided depictions of reality, self-righteousness and even propaganda. Docs should be multi-facetted, ambiguous and thought-provoking, and deliberate use of humor is a wonderful tool for just that (Did I say “tool”? I meant “fool”).

So all in all, I can live with up to three out of the four truisms above. Guess which one I cannot accept.