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With film festivals like Eurodok, Oslo International Film Festival and Human Rights Human Wrongs Documentary Film Festival to name a few, there is plenty of good documentaries screening in cinemas in Oslo, Norway, making it a very nice city to live in. Docs & Film Festivals was in Oslo few weeks ago and meet up with Ketil Magnussen, the founder and owner of Oslo Dokumentarkino. Magnussen screens docs under the name of Oslo Dokumentarkino at various cinemas in Oslo such as Parkteatret, Litteraturhuset and Vika Kino and hosts discussions and events linked to the screenings.
When Magnussen started the Oslo Dokumentarkino in 2003 he thought there was lack of documentaries screened at the cinemas and he wanted to increase people’s access to good documentaries. Also, he thought there needed to be more general discussion about various topics in the society, topics that often get little or no attention in the media, but are the subjects of documentaries. ‘Large part of the mass media is bound its perception of ‘objective journalism’ meaning that they seemingly are neutral. They are not, of course, but pretending to be neutral makes it harder for the reader/viewer to interpret the message. Most documentary film makers are not afraid of taking a stand towards the topics they treat, and this is both more engaging and empowering for the viewers as well as makes it easier to interpret and take a stand towards the content and perspective of the film.’
Now, nine years later, screening documentaries under the name of Oslo Dokumentarkino and hosting events, has become more than a full-time job for Magnussen. ‘We don’t choose films from submissions but we actively search for and buy the rights to films we want to show. The films are chosen because of their subject matter, their ability to make a valid and interesting argument about the topic and their quality as films. We almost always have a discussion before or after the film with invited guests and the reason we usually prefer to have other guests than the film director is that we want to have a focus on the topic of the film rather than the making of the film.’
Oslo Dokumentarkino also hosts the Human Rights Human Wrongs Documentary Film Festival. 13 films screened at this years festival in February, which marked the fourth anniversary of the festival. In addition to the festival, Oslo Dokumentarkino hosts several standalone documentary screenings. ‘In 2010 we had 110 film screenings of 80 different films, including the festival. In 2011 the number is app. 55 screenings including the festival, so it varies a lot from year to year. This depends on funding and on what kind of collaborations we are able to establish. Some times we organise mini-festivals with a series of films on one topic and the total number of films increases.’
Magnuseen´s next documentary screening is of The Crisis of Civilazation at Literaturhuset in Oslo 24th of April @ 19:00. The Crisis if Civilization is based on the book A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It by international security analyst Dr. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed. With archive film footage and animation, film-maker Dean Puckett, animator Lucca Benney and Ahme, made a documentary investigating how global crises like ecological disaster, financial meltdown, dwindling oil reserves, terrorism and food shortages are converging symptoms of a single, failed global system. The screening starts @19:00 and following a short break after the screening, there will be discussions with Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed. Those of you who are in Oslo on the 24th of April should attend this event, but the rest of us should either catch the film´s screenings in another country or buy the DVD, which is available on the films website along with more information about the film, video clips and screening info.