Directors Lasse and Frida Barkfors (“Pervert Park,””Death of a Child”) are pitching their new documentary project, “School Shooters,” at IDFA’s Forum.
“Shooters” plumbs the phenomenon of school massacres, whose authors are often kids attending the same centers. But it takes a novel approach, focusing on the parents of the shooters. What happen to those parents when they learn that it was their child pulling the trigger?
The documentary feature will be produced by Copenhagen-based, and twice Oscar-nominated, production company Final Cut for Real, the company behind Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing” and “The Look of Silence”, as well as Frida and Lasse Barkfors’ De Andra Films, based in Trelleborg, Sweden. Final Cut for Real was founded in 2009 by producers Signe Byrge Sørensen and Anne Köhncke.
The feature will be made for Danish pubcaster DR and Swedish pubcaster SVT, with support from Film i Skåne and Creative Europe.
It will mark the third installment in a social stigma trilogy initiated with “Pervert Park,” a Special Jury Prize winner at Sundance in 2015, which explored the ins and outs of convicted sex offenders in Florida. Challenging prejudices of guilt, punishment and forgiveness, “Death of a Child” offered an insight into parents who were, in one way or another, responsible for their children’s deaths.
“When we started working on our first film, we realized how much we could gain from listening to those normally not heard. This became the starting point and the main idea of the trilogy,” Lasse Barkfors told Variety.
He went on: “We are generally interested in things we don’t understand, and simply try to go beyond the headlines in stories that keep being repeated in media, but almost always have the same angle.”
“This is a film that listens,” Frida Barkfors added. “When we are often prompted to quickly take a standpoint and toss verdicts, we believe it is fruitful and enriching to have conflicting thoughts and emotions about a matter. It keeps us on our toes, as human beings and participants in society.”
Born in Denmark, Frida and Lasse Barkfors attended the National Film School of Denmark and Royal Danish Academy of Art respectively.
They have few discussions about style, they say, but are highly concerned about “intimacy and identification.” The Barkfors work with the smallest possible team, just the two of them, so that the participants feel close enough to the directors to open up and talk about things they haven’t shared before. Meanwhile, they work “without judgement,” expecting to discover “how the story is told the best. For us, there is not a certain type of filmmaking that is more valid than others,” Lasse Barkfors said.
Frida Barkfors doesn’t dismiss the idea of making a feel-good film, or at least, a “lighter film”: “Right now we are developing our first fiction drama together as well as a true crime documentary series. And we would love to make comedy!”