The humorous documentary is nominated for CPH:DOX’ Next:Wave Award and will be premiered on March 16th, 20.00 at Empire Bio. Prior to the world premiere, Frederik shares a little insight on the making of “DOEL”.

How did you stumble upon Doel, how was initial contact made?

A few years back I had a girlfriend who spent six months in Antwerp. I went to visit her and my Belgian friend Johan took me on a ride to Doel.
To get to Doel you drive through a vast industry area, pass a gigantic container dock, and then just before the nuclear power plant you’ll see the town. Or the leftovers of it. It’s an absurd place and I was instantly fascinated by it.  So I decided to make a film about the place. When I got back I used something called the internet to search for information about Doel. In that way I got in touch with Brian who is an local activist and he introduced me to the town and inhabitants.

How much time did you spend in Doel?

I think I have been there more than 20 times. The first couple of years I would go 2-3 times a year and spend a few days researching and shooting some interviews. I have spent plenty of hours on my own in rental cars driving through the area and I have slept in abandoned houses. The film itself was shot with a small film crew over 15 days in 2016.

How does the vision of the final product shape during the time of filming?

From idea to first shoot it took almost four years. To begin with I had some idea of a David and Goliath story – the 26 inhabitants against the huge evil port. But as time passed I realized that it was something else that interested me. I changed my focus from the political perspective to a more humanistic or philosophical view: Why is it so important to have a place to call home?

How would you describe your documentary style?

I’m mainly inspired by fiction. By directors like Billy Wilder, Ruben Östlund, Helle Ryslinge, Yiorgos Lanthimos, Roy Andersson. I’m also very inspired by a Danish filmmaker called Jon Bang Carlsen. He is a pioneer of staged documentary and he has some great thoughts on staging and the poetry of people playing themselves. I also like American 80ies comedies. I guess my style embraces these influences and hopefully adds some kind of personal touch or handwriting on the way.

Who of the characters you’ve filmed is your favorite, who can you relate to most?

That’s a hard one. But our oldest character Emilienne is very charming. She easily steals the picture and there is a reason.

What is most important to you in a documentary?

To me a touching story is important. But everyone says that so that’s easy. I also like to get introduced to new and unknown environments or issues. What I don’t like so much are documentaries that look like crap.

The doc is rather slow paced and sound and ambient noise carry the edit and build the humor. Explain the importance of sound.

We have made a film that is slowly paced and that’s great. But at the same time we have worked very determined on making it a dynamic and surprising film. So you don’t fall asleep watching it. One way to do that is to work with a dynamic sound mix where silent is very silent and loud is the opposite. We have also worked with an expression where we let sounds define a scene and the connection between scenes. In that sense we tie the film together with sound.

You’re no stranger to film festivals, how is it special to premier your film at CPH:DOX this year?

In 2010 I started working for CPH:DOX as a production manager. I did that for two years. In 2012 and 2013 I contributed to the festival by making music for the festival trailer and playing a live concert. In 2014 I directed the festival trailer. In 2018 my debut film is premiering in competition at CPH:DOX. That’s special.

You’re a musician as well as a filmmaker, what’s your focus for 2018 after being done with “DOEL”?

My next project is a hybrid film which probably in the end will turn out as a fiction film. I also have an idea for a podcast series I would like to do. I would also like to go on holidays with my girlfriend. We are good at being on holidays.

Additional to the premier on March 16th, 20.00 at Empire Bio, the film will also be screened March 22nd, 17.00 at Gloria and March 25th, 16.45 at Cinemateket.