Elin Kamlert • Producer, Kamlert Film
“Fight for the things you can change, and give up the rest”
- Interview with Elin Kamlert, producer for Swedish outfit Kamlert Film and selected for the 2019 Emerging Producers programme
Why do you produce documentaries? Do you understand documentary film as an instrument of social and political change?
Elin Kamlert: In the beginning I was attracted to the opportunity and power of the documentary image. That power is of course still there. But I stay because the industry is filled with people who have extraordinary mindsets, visions, and stories to tell, people you just want to be around and create with. And because I find that I can channel my skills and be useful. Yes, I see my work as a contribution to change. I am very privileged and lucky to be able to do this work, and I believe it comes with a responsibility. But films talk about the human experience more than anything else. Films have their own purposes and are not solely an instrument to some second purpose. We need focus on the human story for a film to have a strong impact. Change begins in the heart.
What qualities should a documentary producer have these days?
I think it's more important than ever that producers find a sustainable way of working that fits them and their own purpose. For me personally, there has been too much adapting to imagined demands in terms of what to do, where to be, what qualities to have. I have landed in just trying to make it work on my own terms. More than ever, we need to be present and awake in front of our challenges, rather than seeking to fit into demanding stereotypes. If you are awake like this, I believe you are contributing to something larger than your own work. I find it important to ask myself what leadership means to me. To make sure I have sustainable structures around me, financially, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. To ask for help and guidance. I would encourage anyone to do the same. Be curious and listen deeply. Fight for the things you can change, and give up the rest.
What do you think is the future of distribution of documentary films?
The audiences will decide, and we will follow. So for the sake of distribution, I hope for more collaborative productions that include the audience early on, both in terms of crowdsourcing and financing. If you can activate an audience in the making of your film, you can have your initial - maybe your entire - distribution laid out for you. I think the future distribution will be more about giving the story to the audience and letting them decide how and where they want to see it. For this reason I expect we will see even more VOD options and smaller community screenings outside of cinemas.
What projects do you have under way (including in the area of fiction film and other projects)?
I am developing some projects together with Story in Stockholm, among them Waiting for the School Bus directed by Hanna Heilborn, about a Roma village in Italy and fascism on the rise. We are also developing Unkilled directed by David Aronowitsch and Hanna Heilborn, an animated documentary about the global system of detaining migrants. Also in development, I am working with director Juan DelGado on In the Shadow of the Midnight Sun a documentary and art installation about displacement, climate change and belonging.
Emerging Producers is a promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.
Deadline for applications to the Emerging Producers 2020 edition is 15 March, 2019. Click here.
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