About Jørgen Leth
Filmdirector & producer, writer, TV-commentator. Born 14 June 1937 in Aarhus, Denmark. Studied literature and anthropology in Aarhus and Copenhagen, Denmark. Journalist, critic (jazz, theater, film) for leading Danish newspapers (1959-68). Travelled in Africa (1961), South America (1966), India and Southeast Asia (1970-71). Creative consultant for the Danish Film Institute (1971-73, 1975-77). Chairman of the Board of The Danish Film Institute (1977-82).
Honorary Consul of Denmark in Haiti 1999-2005.
Has made forty-two films, many distributed worldwide. First book published in 1962; first film in 1963. One of the founding members of the avant garde film-group Abcinema in the sixties.
Ten volumes of poetry and six nonfiction books; represented in English, French and Italian anthologies of modern Danish poetry. Latest books: The Picture Is Showing (poems ,2000), Stories from Haiti (2000), Collected Poems (2002), The Imperfect Human, Scenes from My Life( memoir ,2005), It Doesn’t Matter (poems ,2006).
Most recent films: I’m Alive (a portrait of Danish poet Søren Ulrik Thomsen ,1999), Dreamers, (about Haitian naivist painters ,2001), New Scenes From America (2002), The Five Obstructions (2003), Aarhus, (about his childhood town, 2005).
Commentator for Danish television since 1989.
Professor at the National Film School in Copenhagen, Denmark. Lectured at UCLA, Berkeley, Harvard and other American universities.
Among awards: the Oberhausen Hauptpreis 1971; the Thomas Mann Award 1972; the Danish Academy’s Special Prize 1983; the Paul Hammerich Award 1992; the Drachmann Award for his literary oeuvre 1995; Prix de France 1997 for cultural reporting from France; the State Art Foundation’s Special Award 1999; the Danish Film Academy’s Robert Award 1996 and 2000. Grand Prix for Best Feature Film at the Odense International Film Festival 2004.
Recipient of a life-long grant from the Danish State for his achievements in film-making.
Retrospective presentations at National Film Theatre, London 1989; in Rouen, France, 1990; at the American Film Institute, Washington, 1992; in Mumbai, India, 1996; in New York City,2002; in Sao Paolo, 2003; in Toronto, 2004; in Firenze, 2005; in Rome, 2006; in San Sebastian, 2007.
Films shown in the United States on PBS, the Discovery Channel, the Bravo channel, the Sundance Channel, and in theatres in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Rome, Paris, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, and on many European television channels.
Two biographies about Leth have been published in Denmark, and two documentary film portraits have been produced: Tomas Gislason’s award-winning Heart and Soul (1995), and .Jørgen Flindt Pedersen’s The Price of Sensuality (2007)..
Has a daughter and three sons. Divorced. Residence in Haiti since 1991.