When Iikka Vehkalahti and Menno Boerema created Rough Cut Service the aim was to especially give support to the talented film makers who often have to work alone and in countries where support to documentary film making is small. But the service is also for experienced film makers who are missing a fresh, professional eye.
Listed below are the films RCS has supported so far including feedback from the film makers. With some of these films we have done quite a lot of work, with others our contribution has been less or small. But all of them have been great to work with.
Incredible story of the Yugoslavian space program or actually about truth and lies, what we believe in and the relation of former Yogoslavia with US. Premiere at Tribeca Film Festival 2016. The Oscar candidate of Slovenia 2017.
“We met with the Rough Cut Service team in a rough cut stage of our feature-length project. The service was recommended to us by Hanka Kastelicova, HBO Europe. We were really satisfied with the cooperation, helping us to calibrate our compass and giving a fresh perspective and pumping up our little bit drained creative process. We even took two consulting cycles and production-wise it was one of the best investments in the production of the film. And we also like twisted and sometimes bizarre Finnish humor!”
Bostjan Virc, producer.
For The Love Of A Man by Rinku Kalsy (India 2015)
In South India, in Tamil Nadu a film star Rajinikanth is a God to hundreds of thousands of his fans. The film got it´s premiere at Venice Film Festival 2015.
“I am deeply grateful to have had RCS to hand-hold us through this process. Your advice was absolutely super both in structural terms, but also as two people who we felt got the meaning of the film and its cultural nuances and helped us come up with something that preserves these.”
Joyojeet Pal, producer.
Cecilia by Pankaj Johar (India, Norway 2015)
One day a middle class, young couple faces the reality of their country: how child trafficking was killing the daughter of their own maid. An unique film, that has travelled around the world and India. Premiere at the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival, IDFA 2015.
Olympic Pride, American Prejudices by Deborah Riley Draper (US 2016)
Everybody knows who is Jesse Owens. But what happen to other black athletes who came in the US team to Olympic Games of Hitler´s Berlin? Premiere at LA Film Festival 2016.
“Having meaningful, productive, valuable access to some of the world’s greatest filmmakers and documentary editors is an incredible opportunity and is what Rough Cut Service delivers. RCS’s engagement with me, was solely focused on my film and my film’s needs around story, structure and the elements to take it from good to amazing. Skyping, chatting and exchanging ideas, notes and solutions with Iikka Vehkalahti and Jean Tsien is extraordinary and not only made the film better but made me better too.”
Deborah Riley Draper, director.
Noma by Pablo Pinedo (South Africa 2016)
A documentary following the tradition of Italian neorealism follows the fight of shack dwellers against the brutal eviction. Premiere at Durban Film Festival 2016.
“For me and the project the RCS was very helpful. It helped to confront already existing doubts and to confirm final decisions towards the closing of the project. Even if in my case it was a low budget film, those few conversations we did helped a lot. Thanks for that!”
Pablo Pinedo, director.
Hospital by Kesang Tseten (Nepal 2016)
High on the mountains of Nepal a hospital is receiving patients, who have been carried for hours or even days before they reach the doctors. Cinema verité-film grows to tell especially about the position of women in Nepal. Completed in autumn 2016.
Lampedusa In Winter by Jakob Brossmann (Austria, Switzerland, Italy 2015)
Very first documentary on Lampadusa, it´s inhabitants and their reactions and actions when refugees have arrived to the island. Premiere at Locarno Film Festival 2015. Österreichischer Filmpreis 2015 – Best documentary film. Boccalino d’oro award for Best Film at Locarno Film Festival 2015.
Zen And Bones by Takayuki Nakamura (Japan 2016)
Kaleidoscopic portrait of an unconventional 93-year-old Japanese-American Zen monk, his dramatic history and turbulent family life. Premiere at Busan Film Festival 2015.
The Girl Who Saved My Life by Hogir Hirori (Sweden 2016)
Because of a girl, a man does not board a flight with a fatal ending. This is not the story of a Hollywood rom com, but an incredibly incisive refugee portrait by the Kurdish-Swedish filmmaker Hogir Hirori. Premiere at Gothenburg Film Festival 2016.
“Before I contacted RCS I was in a very difficult place. I had so much material, a very complicated editing procedure and had a hard time choosing and prioritizing in the vast amount of material. Iikka and Per K. at RCS made me rethink, restructure and tell a story effectively, and shorten the film in a way that felt intuitive and natural.”
Hogir Hirori, director.
Free by Tomislav Zaja (Croatia 2015)
An intimate documentary on people with intellectual disabilities released from institutions to live normal life among other people in Croatia. Premiere at One World Romania Human Rights Film Festival 2016. Liburnia Film Festival 2016 – Best Director. Venice Film Week 2016 – Best Feature Documentary.
“The experience of working with Rough Cut Service helped both me and my editor to see the film from new, fresh perspective and to discover new ways to tell the story – ways that were unimaginable to us before we started to work with experts from RCS. It was very inspirational to see my film from different angles and to analyse each scene and every single shot in detail. It helped me to get the distance from my footage and become more realistic about story structure and my main characters. So I can divide editing of my film in two very different phases – before I started to work with people from Rough Cut Service and after it.”
Tomislav Zaja, director.
Exodus- Where I Come From Is Disappearing by Hank Levine (Brazil, Germany 2017)
In six different countries shot documentary film on refugees, their lives and thoughts. Screened at São Paulo International Film Festival and Reykjavik International Film Festival.
The Beast Is Still Alive by Vesela Kazakova and Mina Mileva (Bulgaria 2016)
In a fictional dialogue with her dead grandfather, a young woman takes a critical look at communist ideology. Premiere at Warsaw Film Festival 2016. Awarded at Aegean Docs, European Independent Film Awards, European Cinematography Awards, and Mexico International Film Festival.
Becoming Who I Was by Chang-Young Moon (South Korea 2017)
Shot during five years the film follows a young Rinpoche, who is living in Ladakh and waiting for the monks to come from Kham, China to take him to the monastery of his previous life. Completed in 2017. Grand Prix in Berlinale Generation. Best Feature Documentary and Best Editing Moscow International Documentary Film Festival DOKer.
My World Is Upside Down by Petra Seliskar (Slovenia 2016)
Singers and musicians from different countries perform the songs of Frane Milčinski, who was an actor, comedian, musician, “Chaplin of the former Yugoslavia”. Premiere at MakeDox 2016. Awarded at South East European Film Festival LA.
“RCS helped our film a lot . The days when I felt trapped with our film only with my editor became much more dynamic, I had to think it all over again and answer all the questions (even the weird ones) and try all the possibilities in editing I did not try until then. And fight for everything I thought was important in the film, but not necessarily important to everyone from the RCS team. It was a gamble of ideas and trying to make them work in the final film. And I must say it was done with respect to authors, I never felt under pressure if certain ideas didn’t work out. I really respect this way of working.”
Petra Seliskar, director.
A State of Exception by Jason O´Hara (Canada 2017)
Five years the filmmaker followed what is happening to the indigenous people and inhabitants of favelas in Rio De Janeiro when World Cup and Olympic Games were changing the city. Premiere at Hot Docs 2017. Magnus Isacsson Award at RIDM – Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal 2017.
“We were lost at sea when we turned to Rough Cut Service – so much footage shot over so many years and a drawn out editing process had muffled and blinkered our ability to see our material objectively as a cinematic experience. Iikka wrangled with us through finding a new structure – suggesting a completely radical approach that we trusted and flew with. And yet, at no point was it an imposition – the few things we wanted to keep, we kept, and otherwise were blown away at how much the new ideas, the new input, not only shaved off all the unnecessary junk and helped clear up confusions, it also gave us tons of fresh insights on how to tell our story, re-energized our own creative approach to the material.
Yael came in next and offered a subtler eye on the rhythms, the pacing, the filmic experience, bringing the scenes from rushed, pedestrian assemblies to living, breathing scenes. Such an incredibly valuable service!”
Katharine Asals, editor.
An Insignificant Man by Khusboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla (India 2016)
The film follows the birth of the newest political party in India, AAP, that got a landslide victory in Delhi and grows to a universal story about how people are tired of the old elite of politics. Premiere at Toronto Film Festival 2016. Further screenings include IDFA, the BFI London Film Festival and Busan International Film Festival.
Machines by Rahul Jain (India 2016)
A cinematic essay on machines and workers in a pre-modern, huge textile factory in Gujarat, India. Premiere at IDFA – International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam, 2016. Winner of the best cinematography at Sundance 2017. Grierson Award for Best Documentary – International, 2017.
Skulls Of My People by Vincent Moloi (South Africa 2016)
A documentary film on the struggle of the smallest tribe in Namibia fighting for the return of the skulls of their people taken by the Germans for racial science profiling after the genocide of 1904. Premiere at IDFA 2016.
Trembling Mountain by Kesang Tseten (Nepal 2016)
A natural calamity of an order unseen this century in Nepal brought destruction of highland villages of mud-and-stone dwellings of Langtang, one of the most scenic trekking spots in the Himalaya. Premiere at IDFA 2016.
“Hiring an editor for several months for a feature length documentary can cost 10,000 to 20,000 euros. Often my budgets cannot sustain this cost. And yet I feel the need for editing help by people who know an international audience, who know documentary, and who are sensitive and understanding of stories faraway from their society, and know how to help bring out the universal elements in them while keeping the integrity and authenticity of the ‘local’.
The Rough Cut Service, which I have used twice now, answers all these needs. Their critique of the film is thorough, detail , and look at both the content (ie a faraway world) as well as the aesthetic and technical. The RCS responded to my rough cuts with a fine, nuanced critique, paying attention to all the seemingly small details that ultimate add or, their mishandling, spoil a film. Its comments are to the point, forceful, yet sympathetic, and leave room for the filmmaker to decide for herself the important decisions.
I have used the RoughCutService in my last two films and would use it again, without hesitation. Its affordability and ease of collaboration is a boon especially for filmmakers in the developing world.”
Kesang Tseten, director.
Nowhere To Hide by Zaradasht Ahmed (Norway, Iraq 2016)
A disturbing war experience by an Iraqi father and male nurse who is forced to flee when his home city is occupied by ISIS. Winner of the main competition at IDFA 2016. Winner at Prague One World Festival 2017.
“Rough Cut Service is an important documentary film consulting service for film makers that need to lift up her/his project 2 to 3 levels. During our cooperation with RCS with Iikka Vehkalahti and Jean Tsien we were able to improve the quality of the film. We managed to make a more interesting story both dramaturgical and also story wise. As a director I highly recommend the RCS with my full support to them and their vision of developing one of the most important areas outside the European union and USA. I’m very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with highly dedicated film-people.”
Zaradasht Ahmed, director.
City of the Sun by Rati Oneli (Georgia, US 2017)
In his documentary debut, director Rati Oneli provides fascinating insights into a living environment in a ghost mining town Chiatura in western Georgia. It´s bleak industrial ruins appear at once colossal and like a film set. In a city where the sun never shines, it’s only the inhabitants that generate warmth. Premiere at Berlinale Forum 2017 and nominated for the Glasshütte Original Documentary Award. Heart of Sarajevo Best Documentary at Sarajevo Film Festival.
Silas by Hawa Essuman, Anjali Nayar (Liberia, Kenya 2017)
Anjali Nayar and Hawa Essuman profile the life of Liberian activist Silas Siakor, a tireless crusader against illegal logging and a symbol of resistance for a new generation. Premiere at Toronto Film Festival 2017.
“We worked with Joelle Alexis and Iikka Vehkalahti on the documentary at a very critical stage in the edit. I can say with absolute certainty they contributed significantly to turning the film around. Their proposed solutions, big and small, brought clarity to the storytelling. We had got to a point in the edit where we had run out of ideas on how to improve the film. With their input, the edit gained momentum and the storytelling leaped forward. They are film rescuers! I am a big fan!”
Steven Markovitz, producer.
Up Down & Sideways by Anushka Meenakshi & Iswar Srikumar (India 2017)
A musical portrait of a community of rice cultivators in a village close to the India-Myanmar border. While working in the fields in small cooperative groups, the men and women sing together – songs that follow the seasons. Screened at IDFA and Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. Nominated for Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2018.
“One thing that really worked for us is that both Per and Iikka were acutely aware of what we wanted and they helped us get the best version of that. Having two mentors working on the film is an excellent idea. Sometimes they agree and sometimes they don’t, but all of this helps create more and more possibilities for us to play with as story tellers. Ideas and suggestions are one thing, but to be able to give them with a sense of humour and with a lot of love is of unbelievable help when one is questioning and doubting everything, which is pretty much what happens while editing. These people love documentaries, and it shows.
Creating a unique platform such as this, keeping it affordable and helping with suggestions on how to fundraise, putting us in touch with people, all of this has made it one of the most fulfilling experiences for us.”
Anushka Meenakshi & Iswar Srikumar, directors.
The Mountain Pact by Manuele Cecconello & Maurizio Pellegrini (Italy 2017)
The Mountain Pact was the first act in Europe through which equal pay between men and women was established. It took place in 1944 in Biella – the oldest textile district in Italy. Now a young fashion designer goes to Biella to trace back the roots of the fabrics he uses to create his own collections. He meets places, outputs and protagonists, such as Nino Cerruti and Argante. The former is the internationally renowned stylist and son to one of the signatories of the pact, the latter is a partisan commander and witness of what took place then.
“I met Joelle Alexis in a training session about how to do good teasers and when she looked at the teaser of the Mountain Pact she simply said: “nothing to say… perfect, professional”. Now I’m back to Rough Cut Service and I hope the film will impact equally good, but I know your full support and help will make the difference!”
Francesca Conti, producer.
The Redeemed by Morten Vest (Denmark 2018)
The story of Danish Christian missionaries in countries like Nigeria is not just about the past – on the contrary. A fascinating, historical film in two parallel tracks. Premiere at CPH:DOX 2018.
A Day for Susana by Giovanna Giovanini & Rodrigo Boecker (Brazil 2018)
How much is a woman capable of letting go when she can lose everything in the blink of an eye? Susana Schnarndorf is a Brazilian professional swimmer and mother of three, who was diagnosed in 2005 with Multiple System Atrophy. In 2013, beyond any given life expectancy, Susana decides to start a one-thousand-day journey to achieve a dream – a medal in the 2016 Para-Olympic Games. Atlanta Film Festival – nominee Grand Jury Award. Screened at Havana Film Festival, São Paulo International Film Festival, This Human World.
“Rough Cut Service was one of the most important pieces of our puzzle during the editing process. After many years shooting one story, we become kind of “blind” to really see some aspects of it. Iikka and Erez were very sensitive and accurate in terms of defining the boundaries between what we have lived during filming and what is within our images. They were exceptional in understanding our view as auteurs and working from this aspect, exploring the potentials that we had within it.
RCS is an important tool in documentary world that gives the opportunity for young directors to connect with very talented and experienced editors throughout the world for bringing up what we all have in common: love for documentaries.” Giovanna Giovanini & Rodrigo Boecker, directors.
Rush Hour by Luciana Kaplan (Mexico 2017)
Transportation is a burning topic of everyday life nowadays. Rush Hour follows three stories, three cities and three characters in different contexts but similar realities that survive long journeys and time of life lost. Morelia International Film Festival 2017 – Best Mexican Feature-Length Documentary. Screened at SXSW, Hot Docs, Documental Ambulante.
Rangoon – the story of the Bogyoke Aung San movie by Frode Skog (Myanmar, Norway)
Norwegian Director Frode Skog returns to his childhood home of Rangoon, Burma to make a film he’s waited 25 years to finish.
To Be Continued by Ivars Seleckis (Latvia 2018)
A master film maker from Latvia follows children, when they start their first schoolyear. The film grows during the year to reflect the different lifestyles and values in the Latvian society today. International premiere at Visions du Réel 2018. Latvia’s Oscar entry for best foreign language film.
Boys Who Like Girls by Inka Achté (India, UK, Finland 2018)
At times like an absurd comedy, at times a heart-breaking drama, Boys Who Like Girls follows the challenges of three men, interconnected through the organization MAVA (Men Against Violence And Abuse) in Mumbai, India. Premiere Sheffield Doc/fest 2018.
“In the editing process one can easily become blind to the material and its potential. The help we got from RCS was absolutely vital in first of all getting very skilled and insightful but objective eyes to look at our cut. As a first time filmmaker, it was very important for me that the feedback was encouraging, warm, seemed to be “on our side” but was also honest, critical and constructive. There is no doubt in my mind that the film is much better as a result from RCS help.” Inka Achté, director
The Cleaners by Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck (Germany 2018)
A look at the shadowy underworld of the Internet where questionable content is removed. Premiere at Sundance 2018. Nominee International Emmy Awards (Outstanding Science and Technology Documentary). Nominee News & Documentary Emmy Award.
Oslo Diaries by Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan (Israel 2018)
1992 Israeli-Palestinian relations are at an all time low. In an attempt to stop the bloodshed, a small group of Israelis & Palestinians meet in Oslo – secretly and against the law. Premiere at Sundance 2018. Nominee – Outstanding Historical Documentary, News and Documentary Emmy Awards.
Turning 18 by HO Chao-ti (Taiwan 2018)
The film follows two indigenous girls in the Taiwanese/Chinese society for more than three years. During that time both of them make decisions and choices for the rest of their lives. CinemAsia Film Festival – Youth Jury Award Best Female Director. Hong Kong IDF – Best Feature-lenght (Chinese Doc Competition).
The Other Side Of Everything by Mila Turajlic (Serbia 2017)
For Serbian filmmaker Mila Turajlic, a locked door in her mother’s apartment in Belgrade provides the gateway to both her remarkable family history and her country’s tumultuous political inheritance. Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival. IDFA 2017 – Best feature-length documentary.
The Deminer by Hogir Hirori and Shinwar Kamal (Sweden 2017)
What difference can a pair of clippers make? In deminer Fakhir’s hands: thousands and thousands of human lives. A portrait of a Kurdish colonel, who disarmed thousands of roadside bombs and mines armed only with his courage and a pair of wire cutters. Special mention at IDFA 2017, feature-length competition. One World International Film Festival – Best Film. Nordisk Panorama – Best Nordic Documentary. Inconvenient Films Festival – Audience Award. Human Rights Human Wrongs Festival – Best International Documentary. DOCVILLE – The Conscience Jury Award.
Laila at the Bridge by Elizabeth Mirzaei, Gulistan Mirzaei (Canada, Afganistan 2018)
Laila Haidari survived child marriage and her own traumatic past to battle one of the deadliest problems in Afghanistan: heroin addiction. As the “mother of the addicts,” she must prevail over a crisis of addiction and a corrupt government in a country on the verge of collapse. Premiere at CPH:DOX 2018,Winner of Fact Award. BIFF – Human Rights Award. Santa Barbara IFF – Social Justice Award.
“Joelle and Iikka were immensely helpful. When we sent them the rough cut, we knew that the film was in there but it wasn’t coming through the way we wanted. Their constructive notes and specific suggestions helped us to continue to carve the footage, like a sculpture, to reveal the film. We would absolutely work with Rough Cut Service again.” Elizabeth Mirzaei, director.
Eisenberger by Hercli Bundi (Switzerland 2018)
The film examines the relationship between art and provocation in a world where almost everything is possible and permissible. In dialogue with the aspiring artist Christian Eisenberger who works with waste, animal corpses and swastikas, the director tries to reveal what secret transforms some objects into art, while others are detested and despised. Premiere at DOK Leipzig 2018.
“The input of Maya and Jakob was very useful! It helped to choose at the end of the editing which options suit best for the movie. It’s an experience which I would love to repeat with another rough cut.” Hercli Bundi, director.
Commander Arian by Alba Sotorra (Spain, Germany, Syria 2018)
On the frontline of the Syrian war, 30 years old commander Arian leads her commando of women as they fight ISIS. For her, war is the only path to emancipation from a deeply patriarchal society. Premiere at Hot Docs 2018, main competition.
“I’m happy we had the chance to work with RCS during the final stage of the editing of our feature length documentary Commander Arian. The input from RCS was very concrete and useful and helped us improve a few key scenes in the film, like the beginning. We would like to highlight the personalised treatment we received and the promptness of their feedback and all communications in general. I hope we will have the chance to work with RCS in our next projects.”
Alba Sotorra, director.
Chris The Swiss by Anja Kofmel (Switzerland 2018)
Croatia, 7th of January 1992: In the middle of the war a young journalist’s body is found dressed with a uniform of the international mercenary group. 19 years later, his cousin Anja Kofmel detects his story. Premiere in Cannes Semaine de la Critique 2018. Swiss Film Awards – Best documentary, Best editing, Best music.
Exit by Karen Winther (Norway; Germany, Sweden 2018)
Director Karen Winther puts on a personal journey through her past and up to present time, in search for answers to what has caused a handful of violent extremists to choose violence and hatred. Throughout her journey, Karen meets unpleasant truths linked to her own extremist past. Premiere 2018 at CPH:DOX. DOK Leipzig – the Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize, the Young Eyes Film Award and the Gedanken-Aufschluss Prize.
“I think the RCS is both fantastic and important.”
Eirin Gjørv, producer.
When the War Comes by Jan Gebert (The Czech Republic 2018)
The plot of the film is set in Slovakia, where a paramilitary group, with the government’s silent approval, recruits hundreds of teenagers. Their goal is simple: to create a totalitarian community based on isolation and life in fear. Premiere at Berlinale Panorama 2018. Nominee – Berlinale Glasshütte Original Documentary Award.
Cinema Morocco by Ricardo Calil (Brazil 2018)
In a huge building occupied by homeless people is the abandoned cinema Morocco. In 1954 it was the center of a Film Festival with US stars and great films of Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini. Today the refugees in the building select their favorite scenes of the old films and make their own representations of them. Premiere at DOK Leipzig 2018. DOK Leipzig – Golden Dove Next Masters Competition.
Reconstructing Utøya by Carl Javer (Sweden 2018)
A feature documentary where four survivors from the Utøya terrorist attack in 2011 reconstruct their memories in a black box studio together with twelve young participants in order to share and remember their experiences. Premiere at Berlinale 2019. Swedish Film Awards – Best documentary, Best directing. Nominee – Nordic Council Film Prize.
“We we were really happy with your service! The film has so far had its international premerie at Berlinale, won two Guldbagge awards and have had cinema distribution in Norway, Sweden and Denmark so far. Would very much like to work with you again!”
Frederik Lange, producer.
I Had A Dream by Claudia Tosi (Italy 2018)
Manuela and Daniela dream of changing their country, Italy, but have to meet the harsh reality. From the feminist fights against Berlusconi to the last elections of 2018, the film explores the last ten years of Italy through the political actions and the everyday life of the two compelling women. Premiere DOK Leipzig 2018. DOK Leipzig – Golden Dove International Competition, FIPRESCI Award, Award of the Interreligious Jury. Biografilm Festival – Audience Award.
“I thought the film was there, even though there was something that was not working, but I could not say what it was. I came to RCS with the idea to do some make up but it turned out that there was much more than a bit of make up to do. By going once again through the footage (10 years of footage!) in order to provide answers made us discover a treasure hidden because of decisions made long ago. The film has incredibly improved, the protagonists have become tridimensional, the storyline is at the service of the protagonists.
Working with Iikka and Menno allowed me and the editor to watch our film from an International perspective and discover weaknesses and strengths. There is no doubt I will ask RCS’ help also in the future.”
Claudia Tosi, director.
Cinema Dadaab by Kati Juurus (Finland 2018)
Cinema Dadaab takes the viewers to one of the world’s largest and oldest refugee camps, Dadaab. A dreamlike place forgotten by the rest of the world. Here Abdikafi Mohamed runs a simple cinema, which offers moments of dreaming and mind travelling for the refugees, who cannot leave the camp. The film premiered at Helsinki International Film Festival Love & Anarcy in 2018.
Privacy Of Wounds by Dalia Kury (Norway 2018)
How do you tell completely authentic stories from Syria? Would former prisoners be able to reveal their deepest feelings to an interviewer? The Jordanian filmmaker Dalia Kury came up with a solution. For Privacy of Wounds, she reconstructed a prison cell in a Norwegian cellar, in which three Syrian immigrants agree to be locked up. With unmanned cameras constantly filming them, they spend three days without daylight on thin mattresses, talking about their time in different Syrian prisons. They tell the most appalling stories: of the deaths of fellow prisoners, torture techniques, and a growing sense of being abandoned. Premiere at IDFA 2018, Mid-length competition.
“RCS was instrumental for the crucial progress we made on the way to our IDFA premiere. The combination of Iikka and Yael gave us both very specific detailed feedback as well as a big picture philosophical angle on our film. Since IDFA the film has been nominated for awards at festivals such as Gothenburg, HUMAN, Tromsø IFF, One World and Haifa IFF.”
Jonathan Borg Lie, producer.
The Wandering Chef by Hye-Ryeong Park (South-Korea 2018)
A deep homage to Mother Nature through a heart-warming culinary journey. Jiho Im, better known as the “Wandering Chef”, travels the Korean peninsula, in search of the most unique ingredients, honouring Mother Nature with whom he has a very strong and personal relationship. For him, Nature is at the core of his life and his creative work. One day, he meets someone very special on the road leading him to the most incredible challenge of a lifetime: conceiving and cooking 108 plates in 24 hours – significant of 108 agonies of life in Buddhism – to pay tribute to his adoptive mother. Premiere at Hot Docs 2019.
About Love by Archana Phadke (India 2019)
Three generations of the Phadke family live and work together in South Mumbai. As they prepare for a family wedding, director Archana Atul Phadke, who is not in any hurry to marry, observes the shifting, often very funny household dynamics, as both her mother and grandmother wonder how they have tolerated their husbands for so long. Premiere at Sheffield DocFest 2019, where the film won the New Talent Award. Best Documentary – Indian Film Festival Stuttgart. DMZ Docs – Best Film Asian Perspective Award.
For Sama by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts (UK 2019)
FOR SAMA is both an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. A love letter from a young mother to her daughter, the film tells the story of Waad al-Kateab’s life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria as she falls in love, gets married and gives birth to Sama, all while cataclysmic conflict rises around her. FOR SAMA was awarded the Prix L’Œil d’Or for Best Documentary at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. Further selected awards include the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary and the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the SXSW Film Festival, the Special Jury Prize for International Feature Documentary at Hot Docs, the Audience Award at Sheffield Doc/fest and Best Documentary at the European Film Awards. Oscar 2020 nomination – Best Feature Documentary.
“I cannot recommend RCS highly enough. They took a look at our film when we thought we’d finished everything. Their notes were brilliant and helped us to see with new eyes where we could really push the emotion and clarity of the cut. Their insights lifted the film to another level.”
Edward Watts, director.
ROBOLOVE by Maria Arlamovsky (Austria 2019)
ROBOLOVE is a film about the future of human interaction with humanoid, android robots. It explores how we will bond with robots that resemble human women and men. Robots that will serve us at home, teach us, help us, comfort us and perhaps be our cuddly partners. Premiere at DOK Leipzig 2019.
Vivos (43) by Ai Weiwei (2019)
Through a documentary film (and a series of portraits made with Lego pieces), the artist explores the personal and social consequences of the disappearance of the 43 students from the Escuela Normal Rural de Ayotzinapa on the night of September 26-27, 2014. This project makes a bid for constructing memory as an invisible tie that binds us to our ancestors and maps out an obligation to the generations that succeed us. World premiere at Sundance 2020.
Space Dogs by Elsa Kremser & Levin Peter (Austria 2019) How a Moscow street dog was sent into space and returned as a ghost.
Laika, a stray dog, was the first living being to be sent into space and thus to a certain death. According to a legend, she returned to Earth as a ghost and has roamed the streets of Moscow ever since. Following her trace, and filmed from a dog’s perspective, SPACE DOGS accompanies the adventures of her descendants: two street dogs living in today’s Moscow. Premiere at Locarno Film Festival 2019.
“We are really very thankful for the help RCS gave us during our editing process. It really gave us trust into our film, in a time when we where quite critical with ourselves – especially with the more abstract episodes of the storytelling and also with the overall philosophical arch of it. So it helped us to come finally to a version that we love ourselves, that works in terms of dramaturgy, and that is radical, without compromises.”
Elsa Kremser, director.
Contradict by Peter Guyer & Thomas Burkhalter (Switzerland 2020)
Together with artists from Ghana the filmmakers explore questions of global developments, values and visions for the future. Premiere at Solothurner Filmtage 2020.
“After almost a year of editing and a lot of test screenings with no tangible result, we were stuck and slightly desperate. The outside, e.g. international, view and the dramaturgical expertise as well as the fresh ideas how things could be told in a different way, helped a lot and opened new fields and thoughts which was liberating indeed! Moreover the feedback, remarks and criticism were direct but always very respectful.”
Madeleine Corbat, producer.
Never Happened by Barbora Berezňáková (Slovakia/Czech Republic 2019)
The director investigates a top level kidnapping case, exploring the chain of events and the emotional impact for the witnesses. Premiere at Warsaw IFF 2019. Cinematik IFF – Cinematik.doc Award.
“The RCS experience was one of the most eye-opening experiences after my studies. The consultants were very sensitive people with a lot of understanding for my film as well as the approach I took to the topic. Even that the story was quite complicated and of a local character, they understood the specifics and gave me sophisticated insight into both the structure of the film and the style I chose.” Barbora Berezňáková, director.
“From my point of view, the consultations with both Iikka Vehkalahti and Menno Boerema helped the director in the last phase of editing to focus the story, change some unclear spots in the narrative and they both gave her their insight in a very sensitive way. We were as well very pleased by very quick feedback which helped us a lot as we were under time pressure.”
Hana Blaha Šilarová, Czech Producer.
Two Roads by Radovan Síbrt (Czech Republic 2019)
The film follows members of The Tap Tap – a music band of physically disabled. A story full of music, friendship, desires and dreams that can be lived despite an unlucky fate. Premiere at Ji.hlava IDFF 2019. Selected for Hot Docs, One World, goEast.
“We planned to approach RCS as we had a prior experience with them and valued their input. We approached at the right moment, while we were editing but running in circles at the same time. We were even becoming depressed about our own film. Therefore, we needed someone to see with no closer involvement and help us to make a meaningful progress. Jordana Berg and Jakob Kirstein Høgel helped us to renew the strong story line and essential message of the film. It hurt as any editing process does, but totally worth it.”
Radovan Síbrt, director.
Remnants of a Revolution by Cha Escala (the Philippines 2019)
A founding member of the Communist Party of the Philippines is on the final days of his life when his son discovers his role in the dark period of the Party’s history. In the last phone call they would share, father and son tell each other everything that needs to be said. World premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2020.
“It took me 4 years to finish my film and I must say that without the help of RCS, I probably would never have finished it. Deciding on a structure with the materials that I was able to gather within the years I was working, mostly on own, was the most difficult part. I came up with a rough cut but couldn’t move forward from it. It sat there for more than a year until RCS came on board and solved the puzzle.” Cha Escala, director.
Holes by Shirly Berkovitz (Israel)
Following his son’s murder, Danny the father – an Ex-Hitman-Syrian-Muslim who turned Israeli-Jew – realizes the state won’t seek justice and sets on an investigative quest to find the truth. Premiere at Docaviv 2021.
School of Hope by Mohamed El Aboudi (Finland, France, Morocco 2020)
School of Hope tells about a nomad tribe struggling to get education for their children, and a young teacher trying to help them while suffering himself of the Government’s indifference toward rural regions. Premiere at DocPoint Documentary Film Festival 2021 where it was awarded the Jury Special Mention.
“It was a great experience to work with Iikka and Claudio from RCS. Both have a strong sense of dramaturgy and a clear vision of how to make the story stronger and lift it to a higher level. I enjoyed exchanging ideas with them; they were challenging me, sharing their views, but always leaving the final choice to the filmmaker. I can strongly recommend RCS.” Mohamed El Aboudi, director.
Colombia in my Arms by Jenni Kivistö & Jussi Rastas (Finland)
The film examines if a nation can stop the cycle of violence that has lasted for decades, even centuries. Ernesto is one of the FARC guerrillas who after 53 years of armed conflict, are about to hand over their arms in exchange for the social inclusion of the poor. While Ernesto thrives for a change, opposing forces arise: A furious right-wing politician and a descendant of Spanish conquistadors want to reclaim the country. Many want to tear the peace agreement and instead of the long awaited peace the country is pushed into chaos, where everyone tries to secure their privileges or just basic needs. World premiere at Göteborg Film Festival 2020 where it won the Dragon Award for Best Nordic Documentary.
My Rembrandt by Oeke Hoogendijk (The Netherlands 2019)
My Rembrandt provides fascinating insight into what makes the work of this Dutch master so extraordinary, and why different people are so deeply affected by his oeuvre, or a specific work? Meanwhile, centuries after Rembrandt’s death, his paintings are still a source of drama and gripping plot twists. Premiere at IDFA 2019.
“When in the editroom in Amsterdam we came to a point that we’ve had been editing for so long that we where losing our freshness and didn’t see clearly anymore where and how we could improve our film, I contacted the RCS. My first contact was with Iikka Vehkahlahti. Iikka put me in contact with Erez Laufer. From the moment I’ve shown my film to those two highly skilled proffesionals I felt I was in good hands. I felt they both understood the film and I also felt that working with both of them could bring the film to a higher level.
Showing one’s film in such a vulnerable stage is never easy, but I can not say otherwise than I’m truly amazed on how they worked with me and the film. They didn’t spare me nor the film, but instead put their fingers exactly on the weak spots of the film. Not just critizising, but always coming up with valuable suggestions on how we could try to solve our problems. And by following most of their suggestions the film has indeed inmensly improved.
I feel great gratitude to have had the opportunity to work with the RCS, in fact I cannot imagine how I’ve made films before without consulting them. It’s my sincere hope that this is the beginning of a life long collaboration.”
Oeke Hoogendijk, director.
PLAY! by Thorunn Hafstad (Iceland 2019)
The imagination of children leads us into a fantasy narrative of play, where adults are nowhere to be found and the harsh reality of nature and imagination takes over. Soon enough, however, we are brought back to earth when playtime comes to an end, in this case with the devastating closure of a unique Icelandic kindergarten.
The Happiest Man on Earth by Joonas Berghäll (Finland 2019)
When director Joonas Berghäll finds out that his life expectancy will be barely another 14 years if he doesn’t change his way of life, he gathers five other unhappy men for a round of commiseration. They speak very candidly about breakups and losses, about their personal fears and individual failures. Traumas from their schooldays and military service are as much a topic as tragic deaths, divorces, and burnout. The Happiest Man on Earth unleashes a chorus of the sorrowful, where the lone fighter isn’t so alone anymore. Selected festivals: DocPoint, Nordische Filmtage Lübeck, One World.
Bitter Love by Jerzy Sladkowski (Sweden, Finland 2020)
A lovesick misfit, a mysterious beauty, a retired civil servant, a randy fortuneteller and a couple of doubtful, young, charismatic lovers meet in late summer on a Russian river cruise. They have one thing in common – they suffer from emotional problems and doubts. However, they’ve come to the right place. River cruises in Russia are colloquially called “floating matchmaking agencies”. Premiere at CPH:DOX 2020.
Where Man Returns by Egil Håskjold Larsen (Norway 2019)
A man, a dog, a cabin near the sea. Steinar, age 75, has chosen to live a life in communion with nature. He lives in an isolated, frozen universe at the outermost point of Europe, barely one kilometer from the Norwegian-Russian border. In this seemingly inhospitable landscape, Steinar not only finds peace, he feels free. Amanda Awards 2019 – Best Documentary.
The Beloved Daughter by Tiina Madisson (Finland, Norway 2019)
Rekha has a dream: she wants to become an English teacher. However, she is already 14, and time is running out to find a husband for her. Although child marriage is forbidden by law, the practice is still common in this remote Nepalese village near the Indian border. The pressure of the community forces her father to search for a husband for Rekha. Premiere at Tampere Film Festival 2020.
An Impossible Project by Jens Meurer (Austria, Germany 2020)
The film tells the story of the self-professed crazy, charming, dogged and visionary Austrian, Dr. Florian Kaps – the world knows him simply as Doc – and his crusade for everything analog, instant photography especially. Doc decided to save the last Polaroid factory in the world, and started a wonderfully incongruous company called The Impossible Project. Premiere at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2020.
We are the Thousand by Anita Rivaroli (France, Italy 2020)
Rock music fan, Fabio wants to convince the Foo Fighters to perform in his little village in Italy. To do that he gathered 1,000 musicians to play their song together… This resulted in a huge community who became the biggest rock band on Earth.
Fish Eye by Amin Behroozzadeh (Iran 2020)
Fish Eye follows the biggest industrial fishing boat in Iran, the Parsian Shila, whose objective is to catch 2,000 tons of tuna fish. The film depicts the cruelty and harsh conditions of the job, and just how nature is affected by this activity. Premiere at Visions du Réel 2020.
Home Again? by Dögg Mósesdóttir (Iceland 2020)
An exploration of women’s stories of home birth in Iceland, seen through the lens of a female filmmaker who is forced to come to terms with her feminine side when she discovers she is pregnant.
“I cannot put into strong enough words how The rough cut service influenced my film. You could say I had two films, one before the RCS and one after. My consultants, Joelle Alexis and Jakob Høgel gave me the courage to tell the story I had hiding deep inside. They seemed to deeply care about the progress of the film and went out of their way to see it through to the end. Last but not least they showed me the power of the service of great editors, never to be underestimated.”
Dögg Mósesdóttir , director.
Fault by John Harkrider (USA 2020)
Fault tells the story of the director’s father – a Caltech geophysicist who is slowly losing his memory to Alzheimers. David G. Harkrider discovered how to tell the difference between underground nuclear tests and earthquakes. But he also tried to kill his wife when she told him she was leaving him for a young musician. The film is intended to understand the reasons people do what they do, while at the same time completely rejecting their sufficiency. To forgive, rather than to forget, while acknowledging that there may be no difference between the two.
Stories from the Sea by Jola Wieczorek (Austria 2020)
The Mediterranean has always played a central role in our world. It is crossed, made use of, enjoyed, feared and loved every day, every night. Stories from the Sea portrays women aboard three vessels who experience the Mediterranean Sea as a place of longing, a place of work, or a scene of human encounters. The all-encompassing waters, unceasing waves and distant horizons are elements that link the protagonists, regardless of their motivation to go out to sea.
“We started working with RCS at a stage when we felt to be stuck in a dead end, going in circles. The conversations with the consulting editors and Anne Fabini and Niels Pagh Andersen gave us a new look on our material, the edit and many fresh ideas. The feedback also helped us to look at our film from an audience perspective and discover what is working and what not and why. We started to try out things with new confidence which led us to change the film structure and way of storytelling. In a very short time we reached a stage, in which we felt that we have a real film in between our hands. We are very grateful and thankful for this fruitful collaboration. I feel I have now the film that I have been always looking for, that is sincere and close to me and at the same time works with the audience.” Jola Wieczorek, director & producer.
Ninosca by Peter Torbiörnsson (Sweden 2020)
Ninosca – The Woman and the Emigrant’s Song is the third and last film of a trilogy, about a woman’s struggle for independence which requires her to face her past in the macho-culture of Central America. Premiere at Göteborg Film Festival 2020.
Endphase by Hans Hochstöger (Austria 2020)
On the night of May 2nd, 1945, less than a week before the end of World War II, 228 Hungarian Jews were murdered in the small village of Hofamt Priel in Austria. The murderers are still unknown, and there was never a trial but witnesses recognized local helpers. The massacre is one of the largest endphase crimes and one of the few about which very little is known until today.
In My Skin by Toni Venturi & Val Gomes (Brazil 2020)
A poignant and disturbing blend of characters, music, and black intellectual thinking that unveil the racism rooted in the Brazilian soul. A documentary composed of personal stories and reflections of the white filmmaker about his privileges. International premiere at IDFA 2020.
“We had a very creative relationship with RCS. Our film has several narrative lines and countless possibilities of embroider it. We’re in the middle of its montage and got two independent feedbacks from Iikka Vehkalahti and Maya Hawke. It was great. Both provoked us to think deeply about our choices and helped us to find the best form to address it. Several meetings and innumerable exchanges throughout the process. We even thought we were abusing then but they kept interested in the film till the very end. We can only say: thank you very much for all!” Toni Venturi & Val Gomes, directors.
The Quest for Tonewood by Hans Lukas Hansen (Norway, The Netherlands 2020)
In certain alpine forests one might find special trees that are worth their weight in gold. Their value lies in the unique ability of the wood to amplify sound, making it a prerequisite for the best string instruments in the world. This film is the story about the quest for these magical trees. Tonewood they call it, a gift of trees so rare, that grow in places so secret and remote, that finding the perfect one – can be the quest of a lifetime. Premiere at Human IDFF 2021.
“When we got in contact with RCS “The Quest for Tonewood” needed an outside viewpoint, someone who could see the film from a different angle, without relating to other, previous versions or to the source material. Getting the feedback from the two RCS experts was really valuable. It confirmed some of the things we already knew, both good and bad, and it gave us some new ideas of how to solve specific scenes and overall structure. It was interesting to hear two completely different views, that nevertheless shared our enthusiasm for the film. Especially being at the very last stage of the editing, it was very useful to get a new perspective on the project.” Benedikte Danielsen, producer and Hans Lukas Hansen, director.
The Other Side of the River by Antonia Kilian (Germany, Finland 2020)
Hala, a young Arab woman, joins the Kurdish women’s movement to flee the Islamic State. After months, she returns to her hometown to help build a free society. She encounters resistance not only within the patriarchal traditional society, but also within her own family. Premiere at CPH:DOX 2021.
“I’ve just got positive things to say. The RCS team worked really hard and they were also very flexible/collaborative (timeframe) and professional.” Merja Ritola, co-producer.
Be My Voice by Nahid Persson (Sweden 2020)
In Be My Voice filmmaker Nahid Persson follows journalist and activist Masih Alinejad, who has gained 4.5 million followers on Instagram after urging Iranian women to rebel against the forced hijab on social media. Premiere at Göteborg Film Festival 2021.
“During all my years as a documentary filmmaker, I have always wanted a group like RCS. They were the best thing that ever happened to my documentary, Be My Voice. I got help from three talented people. They did the job not only professionally but also with heart. They were very fast and were always ready to help me, even if it was weekends or late nights. I am eternally grateful for their help. I hope they can help me with my upcoming documentaries.” Nahid Persson, director.
Sabaya by Hogir Hirori (Sweden 2021)
In this observational film, directed, shot and edited by Hogir Hirori, viewers meet Mahmud, Ziyad and their group, who armed with just a mobile phone and a gun risk their lives trying to save Yazidi women and girls being held by ISIS as Sabaya (sex slaves) in the most dangerous camp in the Middle East, Al-Hol in Syria. Premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2021 – Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary.
“This was the third time and the third documentary where I turned to Rough Cut Service. I will definitely seek help there again for my future projects. I am so grateful for all the feedback, tips and advice we received from the amazing Iikka and Erez from RCS. It helped us make the story in the film clearer, shorter. It helped us think differently and took the documentary to another level.” Hogir Hirori, director.
Fly So Far by Celina Escher (Sweden, El Salvador 2021)
Fly So Far follows Teodora Vásquez, the spokesperson of the women accused of aggravated homicide and imprisoned in El Salvador for having had a miscarriage. Teodora’s case has become a symbol of the extremism in the criminalization of abortion and the cruelty against women within the Salvadoran system. But also, of empowerment, resilience and solidarity. Premiere at Tempo Documentary Festival 2021.
“We are eternaly grateful to Rough Cut Service. From the first to the last step we got the support and advice that we needed. Having Jordana’s and Joelle’s help through a long and difficult editing process was the best that could happen to our film. They saw the potential of the film and understood our vision directly, which created a safe space for us to share and discuss. RCS really helped us to make a film that fulfills our goals cinematographically, politically and emotionally.” Mónica Hernández Rejón, producer.
The Return: Life After ISIS by Alba Sotorra Clua (Spain, UK 2021)
With unprecedented access the film enters the prison camp Roj in Syria, which holds families of ISIS fighters. Among them Shamima Begum (UK) and Hoda Muthana (US) who made it into worldwide headlines when they left their countries as teenagers to join ISIS. Now they want to return but their countries don’t want them back. Premiere at SXSW 2021.
Reconstruction of the Occupation by Jan Sikl (The Czech Republic 2021)
Director Jan Šikl collects private film archives of different families and has found professionally filmed material that captures the invasion of the Warsaw Pact armies to Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968. Nobody has ever seen this footage. Jan begins to search who is captured in the footage and where it takes place. This becomes a film about our ability to reflect the past and about a form of the memory itself.
ALL-IN by Volkan Üce (Belgium, The Netherlands, France 2021)
Ismail and Hakan leave their village to start working in a gigantic all-inclusive hotel on the Turkish Riviera. They observe the colourful bikinis, the un-emptied plates, the different ways of addressing people, and gradually discover new opportunities to move ahead in life. ALL-IN explores a coming-of-age within the European dream, but at what cost? The hotel functions as a microcosm for a more universal story about the loss of innocence in capitalistic first-world societies. Premiere at CPH:DOX 2021.
The Bubble by Valerie Blankenbyl (Switzerland, Austria 2021)
In the “Villages”, the world’s largest retirement community, there are not only supermarkets, bars and restaurants. From belly dancing to synchronized swimming, everything that a pensioner’s heart desires is offered. But what at first glance appears to be the fulfilment of the American dream, cracks upon closer inspection. After all, maintaining this bubble has a price not only for its inhabitants, but also for the world around them. Premiere at Visions du Réel 2021.
“I worked with RCS on several projects so far and I am always very grateful for the wonderful and stimulating sessions. In case of The Bubble, my director and I had the chance to work with Erez, Maya and Per on very important questions regarding dramaturgy but not only. The sessions also enabled us to rethink our intentions and made them more transparent in the film, which was a crucial step towards the finishing line.” Nela Märki, editor.
Sweetheart Deal by Elisa Levine & Gabriel Miller (USA 2021)
Driven by their addiction to heroin, four women encounter friendship and betrayal while working the streets. Shot in unflinching vérité-style over several years, Sweetheart Deal offers an intimate portrait of hope, heartbreak and resilience on the fringes of modern America.
Children of the Enemy by Gorki Glaser-Müller (Sweden, Denmark 2021)
In 2014 Patricio Galvez’s daughter Amanda and her husband Michael Skråmo left Sweden to join ISIS in Syria. Five years later they were both killed, leaving behind seven small children. Deep in sorrow over his daughter’s death, Patricio makes a pledge to save his grandchildren. Premiere at CPH:DOX 2021.
“It was of great help having genuinely committed and super talented editors to scrutinize the film. Cherishing the vision but pushing and developing it. Loved it and will for sure do it again!” Gorki Glaser-Müller, director.
The Colonel’s Stray Dogs by Khalid Shamis (South Africa, Libya, Qatar 2021)
For 40 years, Ashur Shamis lived in exile in a quaint London suburb, organizing against the Libyan government and Muammar Gaddafi. After the 2011 Libyan revolution and fall of Gaddafi, Shamis finally returned home to his beloved country, but upon arriving, he realized the land he desperately worked to liberate was not the same one he left behind many years ago. Now, nearly a decade later, his son Khalid picks up the camera to direct this personal and political story about undying patriotism and what it means to fight for a country that no longer needs you. Premiere at Hot Docs 2021.