The German directors Jana Magdalena Keuchel and Katharina Knust’s confident and clear-sighted film, Last Year in Utopia, charts the territory between documentary filmmaking and conceptual art in a way that questions both genres.

The film is a reconstruction of a reality TV show that collapsed, it is made stylish, enigmatic and with a lot of German humour, inviting the viewer right inside the experiment. The film will World Premiere at CPH:DOX the 20th of March, with both directors attending at the screening.

What triggered your inspiration to make the documentary?

We were interested in the term authenticity in relation to hybrid forms – where not hiding the filmic means and fictional elements can create a new form of credibility. Connected to that we were wondering about the relation between our work as documentary filmmakers and Reality TV Shows which possibly work with similar parameters. At the same time we feel the urge of distancing ourselves from these formats. We watched TV when we were younger and noticed an increased tendency of a socially accepted behaviour of looking down and making fun about people in public – often these participants come from a so called lower class. Our common indignation and the wonder why we feel so affected made us engage in this topic and reflect our own work habits.

How would you describe the work process when shooting the film?

We were basically producing the film by ourselves without money – which led to a lot of stress during the preparation and the shooting period. We caught ourselves sitting in our car in front of a small train station in the middle of nowhere – desperately needing WiFi in order to search for a replacement actor for the next shooting day. At the same time we were really concerned about having a team that would support us in creating a good and safe atmosphere for our protagonists who were facing not always pleasant memories. Fortunately solutions where found even in the biggest mess and we found a respectful way in dealing with these often emotional situations – not only for the protagonists but for the whole crew involved.

What are your thoughts and expectations about the main competition?

It is the first time we co-directed, also it is our first feature length film. We feel very honoured and happy to be at CPH:DOX in the main competition.

We hope the film will find its audience and we are very much looking forward to celebrate a great world premiere together!

Screenings

Tue. 20/03, 19:00, Charlottenborg, Tickets

Thu. 22/03, 21:15, Gloria, Tickets