Reykjavík Shorts&Docs festival 2012 – #Day 2

Day two started with a bang, on this year Reykjavík Short&Docs. We met a lot of interesting people, saw a couple of films and interviewed various guests on the festival. Bíó Paradís was the hotspot in town for film lovers and others, going in and out of the theatre all day long until midnight.

Fion Chan & Kit Lin

Volunteers on the run

On the Reykjavík Shorts&Docs you find that there are many volunteers in every corner, and at the main desk we met up with two charismatic girls that wanted to tell us more about experiencing the festival that way.

How do you end up being a volunteer here?

Fion Chan: We came here just for travelling, but we wanted to stay here longer, to get to know more about the society in Iceland. Then we found a website for a non-profit organization here, where we could find volunteer work and one of them was here at this film festival. And we like it very much!

We are both from Hong Kong; I’m working there as an accountant so I work with figures everyday. I think the film festival is something that I haven’t experienced before, so I thought it would be fun and cool to be a helper.

Have you been going to film festivals prior to this one?

Fion Chan: No, actually I have never been to a film festival before. I like watched movies, but I have never had the chance to attend a festival.

Kit Lin: This is also my first time. My story is very similar to Fion´s, we were classmates in University, and now I work in a bank. I thought to myself, now is the time that it would be cool to go to Iceland plus to get to work on a film festival, this is fantastic!

Have you seen any interesting films on the festival?

Fion Chan: We saw one, from Kim Longinotto, about women in Japan, that dress like men and but work to serve women customers. They had three characters in the film that were displayed both at work and at home.

Before I watched this film, I didn’t know that there were these boys over there working like this. They even talked about how they have sex with their partners without showing their bodies, because the feel very uncomfortable. They are neutral, they are not women and they are not men, their appearance is male but their bodies are female. That’s why they try to hide their bodies when they have sex, and that’s strange. And then there was one boy that was a woman that had a male partner. This is very complicated! Because the male partner, wanted to dress like a woman!

Sounds very complicated. Do you like documentaries?

Fion Chan: After I watched this documentary, I really like this format. Before I didn’t like it so much.

Kit Lin: I really like them, I watch documentaries on the Discovery channel and BBC, but I haven’t seen many like these independent films. So I really like to see some here at this film festival.

Thank you so much for the interview, and have a great time here at the festival!

Both: Thank you!

Ebba Margrét Magnúsdóttir

The film Sarabah a story, about the hip-hop singer Sister Fa from Senegal that is fighting against circumcision, by Maria Luisa Gambale and Gloria Bremer was shown last night on Reykjavík Shorts&Docs. We managed to grab one of the people doing the panel discussion hosted by UN Women Ebba Margrét Magnúsdóttir, gynaecologist and birth specialist, who was happy to be a part of the discussion.

So what can you tell me, in short, about this issue?

There are 2 million women circumcised per year approximately, so I think that the woman in this film is very brave to step forward and tell her story. I think it makes people understand better how serious this problem really is and how its often related to small isolated communities. It’s a tradition, and it’s difficult to brake out of that.

So do you think that documentaries can raise awareness about these things?

I think that this issue can be mediated in more than one medium; this young and beautiful woman can step forward in the film medium. I am a gynaecologist and a specialist in women’s births, so it touches this field also. I have been a spokesperson here in Iceland against female genital plastic surgeries; I think that is a direct effect from the porn industry that shakes our world today.

Have you seen the film Perfect Vagina?

Well, yes, I saw that film and I think young girls are shaving their genitals, as I said, it’s a direct influence from this porn culture, and we have to do something about it. The perfect vagina does not exist! My concern is that young girls don’t have the maturity to fight against it by themselves so we have to do it as much as we can.

Lastly, what can you tell me about the film screened last night, Sarabah, how did you like it?

I think this woman is very brave, she moves from Africa to Germany and tells her story. She is with this great band and visits schools, dances with other women. I thought it was a beautiful film, and this woman is a hero in my eyes.

Donor-Unknown, by Jerry-Rothwell

Donor Unknown by Jerry Rothwell was screened at eight o’clock followed by a Q&A by the director. The film follows the story of JoEllen Marsh, age 20, who goes in search of the sperm donor father which results in her finding 13 of her donor siblings and a meeting with her donor father. This issue is a very complicated and multi-layered, so the director got a lot of follow up questions about the people in the movie and the process of the filming, this issue in general, and the reception that the film got. Maybe there are hundreds of people related in these countries that donate the most, people maybe brothers and sisters without knowing it. Also, some don’t even know that they are donor conceived. My head was spinning after the screening, and I really liked the discussions afterwards.

Ása – columnist of Snoop-Around

Interviews: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís