All right I thought after the first day – but where are the weird, ambitious, non-subject, non-linear, personal artistic projects that can only be pitched at CPH:DOX Forum. A couple came on the second day but raised for me the question whether they fit in to the pitching format that we have developed during the last 20 years? The most obvious example was ”Watermark” by iconic Lithuanian master Sharunas Bartas, a film that takes it origin from the essay of Joseph Brodsky, who for twenty years stayed in Venice during the month of December and wrote his famous essay. Bartas was not there and his producer Janja Kralj presented a trailer that was a screening of a (beautiful) text from the book plus some birds in the sky. The problem was that the panelists – apart from distributor Heino Deckert – did not know the two big artists – they could maybe have prepared a bit from home? – and that Bartas apparently did not see the purpose of making a trailer. He might be right, he does not work that way and he will start filming anyway and get the money later? And a film like that will end up at Cannes or Venice (obvious) and at CPH:DOX next edition.
The second one to be mentioned is ”Aeterna” by Swedish Jesper Kurlandsky
and Fredrik Wenzel, ”a non-verbal, audiovisual celebration of planetary diversity”, huge budget, a lot of money already confirmed, beautiful images but even if they explained that there would be chapters like ”work”, ”spare time”, that there would be a montage to ”embrace the opposite”, that they would have ”the overview experience”, I don’t think they were able to convey what they want in the standard 7 minutes.
Could the solution be: Fewer projects, more time for presentation and discussion, maybe have some panelists prepare their comments in beforehand having seen trailers…?
A big time problem came up for Canadian Peter Mettler and Scottish Emma Davie to tell us/show us what ”Becoming Animal” was to be. On paper (the Forum has made a brilliant catalogue) ”a cinematic exploration of how we perceive the natural world”, great visuals but a voice over the whole way through, difficult to grap and – Emma Davie told me afterwards – only two minutes of verbal presentation as the trailer was looong.
So, as it is now, you have to adapt to the formula, make a trailer that is both informative, gives a hint of the style of the filmmaker and plays with our emotions. Danish producer Sigrid Dyekjær knows how to do it and it helps when she has a strong director next to her: Pernille Rose Grønkjær, who again works with scientist Lone Frank, this time on ”Hunting for Hedonia” – one line from the catalogue: What if there was a place deep in the brain that can take you from pain to pleasure… on the historical background of the American Psychiatrist Robert Heath, who implanted electrodes deep within the brain of a human but – as it is written – was forgotten.