World premiere of The Privacy of Wounds in competition, several co-productions in the sidebars and two filmmakers on the juries
The Norwegian production of Jordanian director Dalia Al-Kury’s The Privacy of Wounds will have its world premiere in the mid-length competition at this year’s IDFA-the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, which is considered the world's most important showcase for documentaries.
Unspooling between 14-25 November, the festival which expects 3,000 film professionals will screen more than 300 films selling more than 250,000 tickets. Several Norwegian co-productions have been programmed, new Norwegian projects looking for finance are presented, and two Norwegian filmmakers will be jury members.
The Privacy of Wounds
The Privacy of Wounds is the second documentary by Al-Kury, a Jordanian-Palestinian-Canadian director with an MA in Screen Documentary from UK, who is now living in Norway. For her film she wanted completely authentic stories from the Civil War in Syria, but would former prisoners reveal their deep feelings to an interviewer?
She constructed a prison cell in a Norwegian basement, and three Syrian refugees agreed to be locked up. With unmanned cameras filming them, they spent three days without daylight, talking about their time in Syrian prisons – about the death of fellow prisoners, torture techniques and a growing sense of being abandoned.
The 70-minute documentary, which is nominated for Amsterdam’s Human Rights Award, was produced by Jonathan Borge Lie for UpNorth Film, with Håvard Bustnes, Christian Falch, Tonje Hessen Schei and Torstein Parelius, also for UpNorth Film, and co-produced by Victor Ede for France’s Cinéphage.
Co-productions: The Trial of Ratko Mladic, Hamada and Angels Are Made of Light
Three documentaries with Norwegian minority co-producers will be on show in the IDFA programme:
The Trial of Ratko Mladic (UK). Dirs/Prods: Henry Singer, Rob Miller, for Sandpaper Film. Norwegian co-producer: Ida Bruusgaard, for Sant & Usant. - In 2012 – 20 years after the Bosnian War, which cost the lives of 100,000 innocent people – the trial started at the Yugoslavia tribunal the Hague against the Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic, accused of leading the siege of Sarajevo and killing 7,000 Muslim men. The film shed light on the war from two angles: talking to the public prosecutors, victims and witnesses, and to Mladic’s lawyers, supporters and family, who consider him a patriotic hero.
Hamada (Sweden). Dir: Eloy Domínguez Serén (Western Sahara). Prod: David Herdies, Michael Krotkiewski, for Momento Film (Sweden). Norwegian co-producers: Kari Anne Moe, Gudmundur Gunnarsson for Fuglene. Three friends in a refugee camp - Sidahmed, Zaara and Taher – are separated by minefield and the second largest military wall in the world from their homeland that they have only heard about in their parent’s stories. But they refuse to be bothered by it - they use the power of creativity and play to denounce the reality around them and expand beyond the borders of the camp.
Angels Are Made of Light (USA). Dir/Prod: James Longley, for Daylight Factory. Norwegian co-producer: Torstein Grude, for Piraya Film. – Nominated for two Oscars for his documentaries (Iraq in Fragments/2007, Sari’s Mother/2008), US director James Longley explores the daily struggles and inner lives of students and teachers in Kabul, Afghanistan during the American war, which started in 2001. Filmed during several years, it will offer unprecedented access, insight and perspectives across generations perched precariously before an uncertain future.
Films in Forum
The producers of two Norwegian documentary projects and a co-production with China – presumably the first Chinese-Norwegian documentary – will be in Amsterdam to negotiate international financing of the films:
Kids Cup. Dir: Line Hatland, prod. Ingvil Giske and Mari Monrad Vistveen, for Medieoperatørene.
Sisters on Track. Dirs: Corinne Van der Borch, Tone Grøttjord-Glenne. Prod: Anita Rehoff Larsen, for Sant & Usant.
Hidden Letters (China). Dirs: Violet Du Feng, Zhao Qing. Prod: Feng for Lost & Found Film Studio. Norwegian co-producer: Mette Cheng Munthe-Kaas, for Ten Thousand Images.
Two Norwegian jury members
Two Norwegian filmmakers will be jury members at IDFA, including producer Ingvil Giske for the competition Kids & Docs. Giske started as a director, after a TV-series she moved into producing, and since 2011 she has been making documentaries for Oslo’s Medieoperatørene. Recently she staged Norwegian director Solveig Melkeraaen’s Tongue Cutters (Tungeskjærerne/2017), which was nominated for two Amanda awards - Norway’s national film prize.
Norwegian producer Kristine Ann Skaret, who will be on the jury for the Amsterdam Human Rights Award, is a co-founder of the Norwegian-Danish production company Stray Dog Productions, which was represented at last year’s IDFA by Norwegian director Nizam Najar’s Aleppo’s Fall (2017). Between 2012 and 2016 she was a documentary film consultant at the Norwegian Film Institute; she is also a dramaturg and a teacher, and recently became a consultant at the Central Norway Film Centre.