Mads Brügger : The Danish journalist turned documentarian who is cracking conspiracies and exposing regimes


The Lusaka International Film Festival (LIFF) is proud to welcome Danish filmmaker, journalist, author and TV Host, Mads Brügger to this year’s programme. His latest film, Cold Case Hammarskjöld has been chosen as this year’s opening night film.Brügger has written a number of books, worked for newspapers and magazines, produced award winning radio programmes and has hosted the popular critically acclaimed late night TV show, The 11th Hour and the daily new programme Deadline.

Brügger’s first two films were the satirical docuseries Danes for Bush and The Red Chapel which won the World Cinema Documentary Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. These films were followed by The Ambassador which was screened at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.A unifying factor with these films is that they have been provocative and bold.  In The Red Chapel, the filmmaker pulled off a dangerous stunt by infiltrating North Korea as part of a fake socialist comedy group. While being closely watched by the North Korean Government, Brügger and his crew set out to film in a nation that notoriously operates under ‘The Cult of the Leader’. In The Ambassador, Brügger purchased a Liberian diplomatic title to infiltrate the Central African Republic (CAR) to expose the illegal blood diamond trade and the corrupt world of CAR officials, business people and western diplomats.

In his latest work, Cold Case Hammarskjöld, Mads Brügger investigates the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the United Nations Second Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold who died in a plane crash in 1961 in Ndola, Zambia. He had been on his way to the Democratic Republic of Congo to negotiate a cease fire between troops and United Nations (UN) forces.  These are the facts that the world knows about the death of Dag Hammarskjöld, however in digging deeper and investigating various aspects surrounding this death, Brügger uncovers jaw dropping facts about the exact nature of this assassination and it is revealed that such incidents have occurred more often than we care to admit.

From cracking conspiracies to exposing regimes and actions, Brügger is clearly not afraid to expose questionable circumstances surrounding events to expose individuals whose actions are contributing to the infringement of people’s human rights. We live in a world where state and non-state actors for geopolitical and other reasons, time and time again get away with harming people without being held accountable.  The work of Brügger is contributing by not only shedding a light on key issues but also demonstrating that through each of our strengths, career focus and talents we can all speak up and contribute to ending these negative precedents.

Grounded in facts, documentaries help us to understand the world and key occurrences that have affected the world in one way or another. They are educational and sometimes hold inspirational value. In the story of the assassination of Dag Hammarskjöld told through Brügger’s daring style, one can draw inspiration from the story of Dag Hammarskjöld a man who until his untimely death was a dedicated civil servant who was driven by the desire to act quickly to avoid escalation in domestic and international crises.

LIFF is excited to welcome this daring filmmaker who through his work continues to tell important stories about issues that have been overlooked.  He will available for a Q and A session after screening of Cold Case Hammarskjöld at Ster Kinekor Cinema, Mandahill in Lusaka on 27 September.

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