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Cinema Documentary About Maja Ratkje Seeking Support

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Maja S.K. Ratkje
"Voice - Sculpting Sound with Maja S.K. Ratkje" is a cinematic feature documentary about the charismatic Norwegian composer, performer, innovator, multimedia artist and cult figure in various music genres, who also speaks up regularly about environmental issues. “Voice" is not only the portrait of a singular musician and artist, but the film will explore and pay homage to sound and to the nature of the human voice in all its facets, and will question deep-seated perceptions about our individual role in society. Why do we make art? How do we decide to live? How do we balance our personal life and our innermost dreams with making art, earning money, travelling the world, having a family and raising our children?

This ambitious documentary is the fourth feature-length movie director IJ.Biermann and cinematographer Kai Miedendorp, both graduates of the renowned German Film and Television Academy in Berlin, are working on together. The project has been in the works for more than three years, and it is planned be finished and distributed from summer 2013.

Versatile director IJ.Biermann (IJB), who was a student of Claire Denis, Béla Tarr and Christian Petzold, has made the first non-silent feature “officially” adapting J. W. von Goethe’s classic play “Faust" (2008), as well as several documentary features about musicians and arts, among them “Nine Women", about nine female artists active in as many media, and “Nocturne", an intimate and entertaining film about the work of the renowned contemporary string quartet Kairos 4tet rehearsing and premiering one of Dmitri Kourliandski’s genre-bending compositions.

Currently IJB is in the final stages of several projects, among them “Black Oyster", a 105 minute tour and concert film with Norwegian electronic and improv musicians Alexander Rishaug and Svarte Greiner aka Erik K Skodvin (of Deaf Center), which is scheduled for release in early 2013; the feature “Nordland", a road movie and intimate love story across Northern Norway, was filmed in this August and is currently at rough cut stage.

Like most of IJB’s previous films (which include more than 25 shorts and music videos), “Voice – Sculpting Sound with Maja Ratkje" deals with the power of individuality and boundary-crossing and the strength within being true to oneself despite all obstacles, and in this regard being the perfect directorial match for this first feature about the many-sided and confrontative artist and composer. The film will be the essence of more than 120 hours of footage shot all over Europe during the last three years, with the participation of lots of renowned musicians and artists from several genres and countries, among them guitarists Stephen O’Malley and Stian Westerhus, trumpeter Arve Henriksen, noise musician Lasse Marhaug, conductor Dima Slobodeniouk and the Avanti! orchestra, violist Garth Knox, improv quartet Spunk, trio Poing and frequent Tzadik-artists Sylvie Courvoisier and Ikue Mori, and others. Maja Ratkje’s and Frode Haltli’s very young daughters are also frequently present and bring Ratkje’s and the film’s open-minded artistic approach onto another level.

After support was declined from several film-funding institutions, the producers are now looking for support among institutions, arts supporters and music lovers all over the world to be able to have an editor and sound editor work on the footage professionally.

An 8 minute “mood trailer” showing some excerpts of and insight into the variety of footage can be viewed on Vimeo (or see below).

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