Niels Bjerg Ladefoged – MA Documentary Film

Niels Ladefoged was one of the first students to graduate from MA Documentary Film at London College of Communication, in 2010. His degree project was screened at The Barbican and below Niels describes how the course has helped him hone his craft.

Can you tell us about your background?

I have a BA (Hons) in Video and Film, with particular focus on experimental film, installation art and video poetry. Following that, I worked as a freelance Editing Assistant in Denmark before I started the MA Documentary Film course at London College of Communication.

What drew you to documentary filmmaking and the course at LCC?

After finishing my BA I travelled through Iran, where I made a short documentary and became fascinated by hearing peoples' stories and working with actualities. "The creative treatment of actualities" of everyday events opened a new world, a world I instantly connected to.

What have you learnt from the MA?

I have taken in many new theories, methods and I have obtained a far richer language when articulating myself visually, as well as academically. The course provided the space where I, as a visual craftsman, could develop my individual authorship.

How, do you think, it has helped/changed your career prospects?

Before the MA I worked as a professional Editing Assistant at a post-production facility house, and was heading towards a career as an Editor, though aiming to become a director of documentary film. LCC offered me a way to fully use all my previous skills in filmmaking and narrow them into the craft of documentary filmmaking. I have developed skills as a researcher and journalist, which I have incorporated in a documentary film, produced as part of the major project. A documentary film that I am personally very proud of. A film that both reflects the aim of my career and furthermore the style of my filmmaking.

What inspired you to make Disclosure?

The idea came alive following a trip to Iceland where I heard, for the first time, about The Icelandic Modern Media Initiative. I then started to research the idea but what really made me go head-on with the project was a combination of people who inspired me profoundly. A guest lecture at LCC by Gavin MacFadyen inspired me to trial my skills with investigative journalism. I had, at the same time, followed the organisation Wikileaks, who I believe kicked off neglected but nonetheless crucial and essential discussions of transparency/contra secrecy that society must face when stepping into the 21st century.

What type of industry do you imagine going into?

Any industry is perceived as a potential opportunity. I am at the moment creating a production company with friends and fellow filmmakers, and I seek collaborators and funding to continue a project concerned with whistleblowers.

What would be your dream project?

To work with issues of human rights and individual freedoms. To stir the water that lies still.