«A festival is first and foremost a collective effort brought to you by a team that is only as strong as its weakest link»

CPH:DOX: Modern Times Review speaks with new Artistic Director Niklas Engstrøm.

CPH:DOX was founded in 2003 and has introduced its audience to some of the best Danish and international documentary films in Copenhagen for almost 20 years. As the 2022 edition kick starts today through 3 April, CPH:DOX has become one of the biggest such festivals in the world.

In 2022, new Artistic Director Niklas Engstrøm took the regns fromn Tine Fischer for his first CPH:DOX edition. Here, Modern Times Review speaks with Engstrøm on his philosophy behind the artistic direction, adjusting back to physical screenings, and more.

As the Artistic Director of CPH:DOX, my primary role is to set the direction of the festival

In your words, what is the role and responsibility of a festival’s Artistic Director? How does this play into your own approach to the role?
As the Artistic Director of CPH:DOX, my primary role is to set the direction of the festival: What are the core values of the festival, what makes our festival unique, how can we develop the festival in new ways, and how can we keep challenging the notion of documentary and the notion of a film festival. Obviously, this involves the curatorial line of our selection, mainly in the competitive sections, but also very much in terms of how we should structure the programme. For a festival like CPH:DOX, it’s not only about the films, but also about how we contextualize them in terms of talks, events and the physical structures around the film – the venues.

But being an Artistic Director is also very much about bringing freedom to all of the great, creative people working in the festival, leading them, helping them, coaching them, because a festival is first and foremost a collective effort brought to you by a team that is only as strong as its weakest link.

Where do you feel you fall into the landscape of the festival’s artistic vision and evolution?
Well, I’ve been with the festival since the very beginning, having been working with Tine Fischer from the earliest days when we discussed the very . . .

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Steve Rickinson
Communications Manager and Industry Editor at Modern Times Review.

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