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photo © Kai Miedendorp

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 02/2011

The Norwegian composer and performer Maja Ratkje is the subject of a feature documentary currently being made by Berlin-based filmmaker Ingo J. Biermann who studied at the German Film & Television Academy (dffb) in Berlin until last year.

Although Biermann doesn't himself play a musical instrument, he recalls that, from the beginning of his career, he has always regarded filmmaking as “a musical craft and film as being comparable with a musical composition.”

VOICE – SCULPTING SOUND WITH MAJA RATKJE is not only a portrait of the singular musician and singer, but also explores the sound and nature of the human voice in all its facets.

The film accompanies Ratkje as she composes and improvises in various constellations, in the studio, for example, while recording the next album of her quartet Spunk and new CDs of her compositions, which are being produced for Rune Grammofon and for John Zorn’s famous Tzadik record label. There will also be footage from concerts such as Passing Images in Bruges or with the trio Poing in Oslo. In addition, Biermann wants to give an insight into the work Ratkje does on her own back home in Norway, as well as including family moments with her two small children.

Citing directors Thomas Riedelsheimer and Claire Denis as inspirational for the making of this film, Biermann explains that he is aiming to make 2a sensual film, with images for the big screen. Images one can dive into. A film about this woman, her overwhelming creative spirit and her passion which appeals and touches us all. A sensual and unexpected journey into the world of voices and sounds with the complex means of cinema.”

Apart VOICE and NOCTURNE, Biermann is also currently working on a third documentary, ZEHN FRAUEN, which portrays ten women artists.

Genre Art, Biopic, Music, Road Movie
Category Documentary
Director Ingo J. Biermann
Screenplay Ingo J. Biermann
Cinematography Kai Miedendorp
Cast Maja Solvei Kjelstrup Ratkje, Frode Haltli, Spunk, Kathy Hinde, Trondheim Sinfonietta, Garth Knox, Arve Henriksen, Sylvie Courvoisier, Ikue Mori
Producer Andreas Louis
Co-Producers Ingo J. Biermann, Solveig Arnesen
Production Company Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB), in co-production with Genesis Film/Hausgesund, Myrland Films/Berlin
 English, Norwegian
Shooting Dates March 2010-Summer 2011
With backing from German Federal Film Board, Filmkraft Rogaland

Myrland Films
Ingo J. Biermann
Eisenacher Strasse 77
10823 Berlin/Germany
phone +49-30-94 88 47 94
fax +49-30-25 75 91 52