Safety and facts – IMS at CPH:DOX 2018

IMS is actively supporting this year’s CPH:DOX – the world’s second biggest documentary film festival – with a main focus on safety for documentarists and as sponsors of the F:ACT Award. The festival takes place between 15-25 March 2018

For the past 10 years, International Media Support (IMS) has supported CPH:DOX, Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, in various ways.

2018 is no different. Only this year, IMS’ support is also centred around the safety for documentarists and the merging of documentary film and investigative journalism.

Facts Matter

This year, CPH:DOX is giving six awards for documentary films, one of them being the F:ACT Award. Since its establishment in 2013, the F:ACT Award has honoured films that operate in the space where investigative journalism and documentary film meet.

Originally created by CPH:DOX and the Danish Union of Journalists (DJ), this year, IMS joins the two as co-sponsor of the award. This is in many ways a natural development of IMS’ continuous support to the festival, Jesper Højberg, executive director of IMS, explains:

”Good documentary films have the ability to access certain areas and convey issues, which ordinary journalism cannot. In countries haunted by censorship and media suppression, documentarists often have larger freedoms than journalists and can thereby enter environments that would otherwise be inaccessible. By sponsoring the F:ACT Award, International Media Support wants to contribute to the acknowledgement of the value and importance of films that unite the best from the journalistic toolbox and the visual power of documentary films.”

As IMS is sponsoring the award, no IMS-supported films are in the competition to win the award. Read about the 10 nominated films here:

Staying safe also applies to documentarists

Like journalists, filmmakers put themselves, their sources and crew in danger when working in hostile or dangerous environments. Even so, the safety aspect has not really been on the agenda of the global documentary film community until now.

Recently, the British organization Doc Society published a handbook with tools to mitigate the risks run by documentarists. As part of the CPH:CONFERENCE programme, Doc Society is hosting a range of sessions on the topic under the overall title Film:Risk.

On one of the panels is Osama Hababe, head of the IMS-programme in Iraq, who will give an overview of the safety issues facing both journalists and documentarists across the globe.

Find more information and buy tickets to the conference at:

Raised to jihad

Like in the previous years, IMS support documentary films from the Arab world and Iran. A number of these will participate as part of the programme at CPH:DOX 2018.

One of the films is ’Of Fathers and Sons’ by directed Syrian Talal Derki, who is also the director of ‘Return to Homs’ from 2013. Both movies have been awarded with the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and many other awards.

‘Of Fathers and Sons’ takes us to the war-torn area outside of Raqqa in Northern Syria, where we follow a family through 2 ½ years. The father is a dedicated jihadist raising his six sons to follow in his footsteps.

Rasmus Steen, who has been in charge of IMS’ Documentary Programme for more than 10 years, says that ‘Of Fathers and Sons’ is one of the most chilling documentaries he has ever seen.

“I was extremely moved after watching this film and I still carry the experience with me. The insight into the life of a father and jihadist was so overwhelming and frightening, yet so well portrayed,“ says Rasmus Steen, and explains that ‘Of Fathers and Sons’ is a very good example of how independent documentary films can give insights into other stories than those of the mainstream media:

“These films are lasting testimonies of a current situation and they play a very important role in diversifying the media landscape.”

Meet the Syrian director Talal Derki at a debate following the screening on 19 March or at the Film:Risk conference – find more information and buy tickets to the screenings at:

IMS’ Documentary Programme is supported by the Danish-Arab Partnership Programme.