In the vanguard of documentary-making, Østergaard receives the Dreyer Award
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Oscar-nominated for his Burma VJ – Reporting from a Closed Country, Anders Østergaard has been honoured for outstanding artistic achievement
At a ceremony at the Danish Film Institute’s Cinematheque in Copenhagen, Oscar-nominated Danish director Anders Østergaard was presented with this year’s Dreyer Award – Danish cinema’s distinguished prize for outstanding artistic achievement, named after Carl Theodor Dreyer.
“Østergaard belongs to the absolute vanguard of documentary-making, reporting from both the artistic and the political combat zone,” said jury member and associate professor in film and media studies, Peter Schepelern, of the University of Copenhagen. “He comes from journalism – like Dreyer, incidentally – but maintains an artistic vision, as he juggles with plans and illusions, and weaves his stories together from fragments, archive material and reconstructions.”
After training at Central Television in London, working as a copywriter for an advertising agency and a researcher on documentary programmes, Østergaard returned to Copenhagen, where he graduated from the Danish School of Media and Journalism in 1991. His second film, The Magus – a portrait of Swedish jazz pianist Jan Johansson– won Best Documentary at the Odense International Film Festival in 1999.
He also signed Tintin and I (2003), about Belgian cartoonist Hergé and his famous boy reporter character, and Gasolin' (2006), about one of Denmark’s most popular rock bands, before making his international breakthrough with Burma VJ – Reporting from a Closed Country [+see also:
film profile] (2008); the movie examined Burma's undercover video journalists who filmed the monks’ uprising in 2007, and it landed him an Oscar nomination, as well as the Joris Ivens Award at IDFA-Amsterdam and another 15 international prizes.
Østergaard's most recent film, 1989, which premiered on last year’s 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in November, sees the event through the eyes of Hungarian Prime Minister Miklós Neméth, who played a much larger role in the events than history has given him credit for. 1989 was co-directed by Hungarian director Erzsébet Rácz.