Pictured above: still from ‘Facebookistan’
The thirteenth edition of Denmark’s renowned documentary festival CPH:DOX came to an end last weekend. Taking place from the 5-15th of November, the festival screened over 200 films in 15 venues across Copenhagen – whilst also staging extra screenings and events in several other Danish towns and cities.
The world’s third largest documentary festival, CPH:DOX catalogues its extensive film programme into four core competitions. The main award – DOX:AWARD – selects the best international documentaries of the year. F:ACT AWARD focuses on political documentaries, showcasing informed and cohesive investigative journalism. The NEW:VISION award pursues innovative and experimental work, finding documentaries that succeed in balancing creative artistry with powerful film. Lastly, NORDIC:DOX categorizes the best documentaries from the Nordic region, with topics ranging from dark political comedies to poignant personal stories.
Also read: CPH:DOX
Still from ‘Return of the Atom’
The NORDIC:DOX category featured 12 films from Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Iceland. The winning film in the category was the Finnish/German production ‘Return of the Atom’, directed by Mika Taanila & Jussi Eerola. The jury praised the film, “…it convincingly travels through…the ramifications of building nuclear power stations in a post-Chernobyl world where decisions made by one nation or group can be potentially fatal for everyone else on our shared planet”. Read more about the award here.
Another film in the NORDIC:DOX category was ‘Monalisa Story’, a Swedish documentary by Jessica Nettelbladt that follows the life of heroin user Monalisa. Shot over eight years in Malmö, the film follows Monalisa through the darkest lows of being a user – from abandoning her beloved children to begging her elderly mother for money. It is an intimate and raw depiction of the hopelessness of addiction, showing that quitting junk is anything but an easy, straightforward path to absolution. Is there any hope for a woman whose own mother was high during pregnancy? “I was born high… When I took drugs for the first time, it felt like I was going home” describes Monalisa in this poignant and honest film.
Also check out: Short Nordic Film ‘Far’
Still from ‘Monalisa Story’
A large number of quality films that were not included in the award categories were also shown during festival. Danish film ‘Facebookistan’, directed by Jakob Gottschau, investigates the shadowy privacy laws of the world’s largest public space. With over 1.4 billion users, Facebook has access to an enormous amount of information. Yet the public who use it are unaware of how the website uses their personal details. The film features those who have been mistreated by Facebook’s moderation and privacy laws –from an anonymous underpaid content moderator in India (“we get .9 seconds to moderate each picture in order to earn four dollars an hour”) to Peter Øvig Knudsen, author of the book ‘Hippie’, content from which was removed from the site. Facebook’s shady covertness is further exampled when the documentary team unsuccessfully attempt to speak to anyone in person from the headquarters in California, Ireland and India. “It is like George Orwell’s 1984,” reflects Knudsen. “…there is no communicating with Big Brother.”
CPH:DOX is one of the most important film events in Scandinavia. It allows directors, especially from the Nordic region, to showcase their work and connect with a wider audience. Last year over 80,000 admissions to the festival were counted. Alongside documentary screenings, the festival includes numerous events such as concerts, artistic performances, guest lectures by industry experts and notable academics, as well as after-parties.
To learn more about the event, click here.
Photo credit: CPH:DOX
Recommended read: Armi Alive! – The Creation of Marimekko Film
Tags: copenhagen, CPH:DOX, documentary, nordic
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