Leth challenges DFI
For the past year, Leth has been planning to make a sequel to his now 40-year-old classic, 'Life in Denmark'. But when applying for funding from Danish Film Institute, he has been met by a somewhat surprising response from the film consultant dealing with his application. The consultant refused to support the project unless there be made considerable creative changes. Leth was encouraged to work cross-media and abandon his reknown personal reflective style to cater to the consultant's suggestion that he 'take a stand'. The consultant also suggested that Leth leave his old film crew behind and seek new and younger talent as A-functions to his team.
Needless to say, Leth refused to be creatively controlled, which has now led to a refusal of funding from DFI. Jørgen Leth: 'I have no problem discussing cross-media or other buzzwords. I have a Mac. I have an iPad. I have an iPhone. But these tools will never dictate the cinematic language of any film that I make. That would be creative and artistic suicide. I am not ready to change my approach to filmmaking to accommodate to some airy, passing eagerness to please an audience, less of all a random film consultant.'
The case in point has spurred a larger debate about film support in Denmark. In the Danish film magazine Ekko, the editor in chief pinpoint the problem: 'Everyone must be subjected to the rules of the system. But at the same time it is crucial that consultants, curators and editors of Danish cultural life realize that they are not artists. Their task is to promote art. They are not, and should never be, a kind of co-creators, whose personal ambitions, ideas and outlook on life must be met by the artist in order to get access to state funding.'