Danish filmmaker Mikkel Stolt made the comment (in Danish) that he had seen “You’ve Been Trumped” at the wonderful Irish festival Guth Gafa International Film Festival. We asked him to write a text about the festival. Here it is:

A film festival in a village with no cinemas? No problem for festival directors Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane or their dedicated staff, so this June I spent four lovely days and nights in tiny Gortahork in the utmost Northwestern part of Ireland. Bente Milton’s and my own film “My Avatar and Me” had been invited, and since Bente had to cancel her trip, I went alone. This being my first time in Ireland, I was a curious whether the locals would be as friendly as I’ve always heard and whether they really do have Guinness. I was not to be disappointed!

There was a small seminar towards the end about international financing with representatives from Sundance, Tribeca, POV and Hot Docs, but one of the good things about the festival is that there is no market and no competition, so mostly it’s all about the art of filmmaking and the films themselves. Beforehand, Neasa had arranged for me to be interviewed on the local radio show before the festival really started and that’s when I met young JoEllen Marsh, who is the main character of Jerry Rothwell’s entertaining and thought-provoking “Donor Unknown”, which was the opening film. It was shown in the ball room of Hotel Loch Altan which proved a wonderful cinema. My own showings were in a special “cinema-mobile” complete with 100 seats and full HD equipment. The audience was a mix of international colleagues and local film enthusiasts and all in all there was a wonderful ambience. At every screening I went to, there was lot of good questions and competent moderators.

One of the funny things about festivals is that you somehow team up with a group of people, and I wonder whether it’s pure chemistry or something else. Anyway, JoEllen and I found us a bunch of Swiss, New Zealandic, Canadian, Paraguayan, British, German and of course Irish new friends to hang out with between the screenings and all the after parties and concerts were just really awesome. During the day and early night I did manage to see quite a few films, including Leonard Retel Helmrich’s wonderful “Position among the stars” which I find to be the best – and most humorous – in his trilogy. Leonard also held a masterclass which I unfortunately didn’t attend. Another favorite of mine was “Battle of the Queens” by the young Swiss director Nicolas Steiner. In a beautiful and very musical style it depicts an old Swiss tradition of cow-fighting! “You’ve been Trumped” by Anthony Baxter was also shown in front of an enthusiastic audience. Personally, I got carried away by the story but was nevertheless a bit disappointed by the somewhat “old fashioned” and journalistic film language that didn’t really leave much to me to think about.

Only feature length documentaries are accepted and the official themes of the festival are “Environmental Justice, Social Action and Human Rights Films”, but I am happy to say that they can’t take themselves too seriously: there was also screenings of animated shorts from Ireland and Canada and I saw several films in the about 30 films large catalogue which was not really within the themes, including my own. But I must immediately make another feature doc, because I want to come back!

Photo: Mike Proud.


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Mikkel Stolt
Mikkel Stolt
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