Previously: #10. Los Angeles Film Festival
Our take: The game changer on the European late fall doc circuit, Copenhagen famously opens up the definition of documentary to program one of the most provocative and stimulating slates around. Not for nothing did Harmony Korine's TRASH HUMPERS take the Grand Jury Prize this year. What's more, Copenhagen seems to be constantly rethinking the elements surrounding the film festival - a forum geared toward international advice not sales, full tilt game shows and imoprtant face time with a who's who of the international documentary circuit. It's a great introduction to the thriving Danish doc community and the accommodations are first class. Plus it's Copenhagen, which is pretty awesome in its own right.
The downside: The fest can sometimes seem chaotic and several filmmakers have told us that they never got a rejection response from the festival - just silence. It's placement on the calendar can spell convenience if you're planning on staying in Europe for the entire month of November or it can feel like overkill sandwiched between Sheffield and IDFA. Leans toward more experimental or music-based US titles.
Important recent premieres: BURMA VJ, THE INVENTION OF DR. NAKAMATS
Selection of US films screened at 2009 Fest: THE WINDMILL MOVIE, TRASH HUMPERS, O'ER THE LAND, WHEN YOU'RE STRANGE, ALL TOMORROW'S PARTIES
Our coverage of CPH:DOX here.
Filmmaker: "Loved it. They have a great film industry and it's good to get a taste of it. Paid for all expenses and treated lavishly. Would go there again in a second."
Filmmaker: "Incredible hospitality – beautiful stylish hotel accommodations, amazing lavish meals, welcoming hosts. Doc line-up felt sporadic and more experimental than mainstream."
Filmmaker: "CPH:Dox in Copenhagen is a very good festival. Incredibly well organised and they look after directors and make them feel very welcome. Very friendly and good fun. Plus a good selection of films in different categories. Oh and Copenhagen is a very cool city."
Filmmaker: "CPH:DOX really pushes the boundaries of what a documentary festival could be. You'll see films at this festival that you won't be able to get your hands on at any other doc fest. Seriously, Trash Humpers won the Grand Jury Prize. Yes, seriously. It's a film-lovers festival, but they also really take care of their guests."
Filmmaker: "Very disorganised and too many films...potential to be great though Lovely people and hotel etc but definitely not enough industry events etc outside of the films (and they seemed to start quite late each afternoon)."
Industry: "I really like the way its curated. I think they’re doing something different and at least curatorially they are opening up what is documentary. For me, it’s a great intersection of politics and art and culture – they are really opening up that space. For those of us reaching out to young audiences, it’s a really interesting space to be in. Not sure it entirely works, it’s very small, but they’re trying something new. I think they’re trying to create a kind of discussion/lab. Not sure they’ve found it yet, but I think they might get there in the next couple years. I like the attempt of trying to create the small roundtable lab. It’s going to be a format that more and more festivals try to emulate."
Industry: "I really enjoyed CPH:DOX this year and found it
to have some of the most ballsy programming in terms of thinking creatively
about the non-fiction form. The festival program was itself a treatise on
the boundaries and fine lines surrounding documentary, and I saw some
incredibly beautiful as well as challenging films while at this festival.
It's also a great way to catch up on new Scandinavian non-fiction as well
as music films."
Industry: "Almost don't want to say anything because this one is so special. Interesting programming. Really thoughtful staff. A little disorganized - but I forgive them."
Industry: "A lot of my filmmkaers have been, apparently it's a blast. No real market reason for me to go. I've had the problem before where they don't respond about if a title is in or not."
Industry: "Perfect size – big enough for variety and small enough to get to know new friends and hang out with old. Always an interesting mix of films with some more leftfield programming choices and very hip extra-curricular. Achieves that rare balance of the right amount of stuff going on – enough to keep one interested but not so much it feels overwhelming with some time to enjoy the city too. Relaxed on that front.
A shambles organizationally but that is maybe growing pains and staff are friendly and do want to help.
Distribution Forum is in the early stages of development but is a format to watch and has been clever finding a pre-IDFA space in crowded Fall calendar."
Industry: "I loved it. I thought it was great. It’s so different from Sheffield and so different from IDFA, it’s like a breath of fresh air. It really embodies that creative documentary. It’s so different. I love that the forum focuses on distribution. That hotel was really super. It was such a nice atmosphere and it really feels like its about the filmmaker."
Industry: "Small and perfectly formed, but a very small industry component."