I Called Him Morgan and Sámi Blood: two Swedish world premieres at Venice
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- After US avant-garde saxophonist Albert Ayler, Kasper Collin portrays US trumpeter Lee Morgan and his wife Helen, who killed him in 1972
Swedish director Kasper Collin’s I Called Him Morgan [+see also:
film profile] has been selected for the main programme (out of competition) at the Venice International Film Festival, while Amanda Kernell’s feature debut, Sámi Blood [+see also:
interview: Amanda Kernell
film profile], will screen in the Venice Days sidebar. Both will be world-premiered at the festival, which takes place between 31 August and 10 September.
Collin scripted, directed and produced the full-length documentary about the celebrated US jazz musician and trumpeter Lee Morgan, who, on a snowy night in February 1972, was shot dead by his wife Helen during a gig at Slug’s Saloon in New York City’s East Village. The murder sent shockwaves through the jazz community – “and this is a love letter to two unique personalities and the music that brought them together,” the director said.
“It is a great feeling that the film is now ready after seven years of work,” he added. “To those who knew Lee and Helen, she was as much the woman who saved him as the woman who killed him. I want to thank everybody who contributed to this film, and above all those who made – and make – this music possible. I can hardly imagine my life without it.”
It also took Collin seven years to make My Name Is Albert Ayler, his 2005 first feature-length documentary about the American avant-garde saxophonist, who recorded his first album in Sweden in 1962 and was found dead eight years later in New York’s East River, aged 34. New York’s Submarine Entertainment handles the international sales of the new film.
Unspooling in the Venice Days sidebar, Kernell’s Sámi Blood tells the 1930s story of a 14-year-old reindeer-breeding Sámi girl, who must endure racism and biology examinations at her boarding school. She starts dreaming of another life, but to achieve this, she has to become someone else and break all ties with her family and culture.
The director’s award-winning short Northern Great Mountain (2015), about a Sámi mother and her son who return to the mother’s roots together, was a prologue to the feature, which stars Lene Cecilia Sparrok, Mia Sparrok and Maj-Doris Rimpi. Lars G Lindström produced the movie for Nordisk Film Production Sverige – Nordisk will also take care of the local release, while Denmark’s LevelK is in charge of international sales.
As a final note, Swedish-Argentinian director-producer Juan Pablo Libossart’s first short, Amalimbo – a Swedish-Estonian production by Johanna Lind for Sweden’s Fasad – has entered the Orizzonti competition.