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CPH PIX Copenhagen Film Festivals

CPH PIX is Denmark's new feature film festival. Launched in 2009 as the result of the merger between the city's two long-running festivals the Copenhagen International Film Festival and the Natfilm Festiva, it instantly became the biggest festival in the Danish capital ever.

CPH PIX focus on new talents, new ideas, new trends and artistic courage, both in the festival's film programme and in its collaborations across artistic genres and cultural institutions

CPH PIX also host COPENHAGEN FILM MARKET in September.

CPH PIX is part of COPENHAGEN FILM FESTIVALS which also house BUSTER (children and youth films) and CPH:DOX (documentaries). 


CHARLIE BUTTERFLY, interview with Dariusz Steiness

still from 'Charlie Butterfly'


INTERVIEW WITH DARIUSZ STEINESS on his film CHARLIE BUTTERFLY (2002) and his director cut release at Copenhagen Film Festival.


I interviewed Dariusz in Copenhagen over a fantastic French dinner the night before his big premier, the re-release of his film CHARLIE BUTTERFLY (Denmark, 2002) in the form of a never before seen Director’s Cut. When I asked Dariusz about his film, he simply said: “If I could sum it up in one word, my film is about ‘hope’”. It is a beautifully shot story about a man who has lost all hope and who discovers that hope can present itself to the hopeless as quickly as the wings of a butterfly, that no matter how bleak things look in life, there is always hope around the corner. Here is what he said about his idea of ‘hope’ and his vision of CHARLIE BUTTERFLY.


ME: So, Dariusz, tell us about your film. You filmed it ten years ago?


DARIUSZ: Yeah. Exactly ten years ago. What I do sell is hope in that direction. It comes from this little story when I was a little kid, a really sad story. But actually, it’s true. When I was a little kid, I was with my mother and there was this Christmas Eve and I was very sad and she asked me, ‘why are you so sad?’ and I was in a neighbor’s apartment and they had presents and they were all together while I was just me and my mom and we had almost nothing. And my mom said, “well, one day it’s going to be all better”. And it’s incredible because of this sentence that my mother said, you can change. That’s how I described HOPE. It’s a simple thing that people you trust say to you and you believe it. And that’s it.


ME: Yeah, that’s so true.


DARIUSZ: So, when I grew up, I thought I would like to make movies because I got really in love with moviemaking… with studious and equipment and such. And I thought, “what am I going to make a movie about?” And I realized, it will be about ‘hope’. That’s how I describe hope. It’s something somebody says to you and you trust it. It can change everything with one sentence, with one look of your eye. I don’t really know what hope is but I will try to describe it in movies. Charlie is the first thing. And the first thing is I really wanted to tell the story about somebody who is getting down, totally down with his face on the pavement and then raising him up again. That’s the journey I wanted to take with this movie, with somebody down who can see the way up again because it’s very easy to see people get down. But what is interesting is how they get up again. That’s what CHARLIE BUTTERFLY is about. And I dedicated it to my friend called Frederick who came from Finland. And we started to make movies together but he dropped out of university. He was studying politics but after a year he dropped out to make movies. We followed each other for several years. He’s dead now. He was 37. He drank too much. He was really a filmmaker. ..[he laughs] But really, every time I was down and I thought, “oh god, I can’t manage it. It’s too hard”. And I thought, “come on, get up, you can do it, you can fight. Stop crying, put the gloves on” and that’s what Charlie is about. It’s about a man who fucked everything up and the movie is about getting up again. It always liked positive films like ROCKY. He came from nothing and he just fought. I like that. There’s nothing like that in ‘ANIMAE’ but still it’s people who are searching, searching for something that’s going to make them better people than what they are.


ME: Awesome. So, tell us what is ‘ANIMAE’?


DARIUSZ: ‘ANIMAE’ is an incredible script which Vanessa McMahon wrote.


ME: Is that your next project?


DARIUSZ: That’s my next project. I like when people risk everything and try to go and develop themselves.


ME: Even if it’s painful!


DARIUSZ: Yeah, that’s what life is. Life is painful. I was doing this reading of this old Polish director, Zulawski… He said, “show me one happy actor. There’s no happy actor. All the actors are unhappy. Show me one happy one. Which one is that?” So, it’s about people who make movies and probably have a big baggage with it because in some way they try to make life better. I wanted to be one of those people trying to make life better.


ME: So, why are there no happy actors?


DARIUSZ: Well, that’s what Zulawski said.



ME: LOL. So, they [actors] try to make life better?


DARIUSZ: No, I believe that a lot of cinema people start to make movies because they try come from causes, or whatever it is, to make life better. At least they try to reach their dreams or whatever…


ME: Or find a kind of truth maybe?


DARIUSZ: There is no truth. There’s only a way there. And if you like something you go for it.


ME: No, there are ‘truths’. For example, what you just said about ‘hope’. I mean, we’re all looking for things, pillars, truth in terms of things in a world of constant change where everything is born and dies and everything changes, we are confronted with these realities which make us all sad every day. The reality of life, birth, loss…right? So, there are some things which we can count on, some truths. And for me, that is ‘hope’. No? When you know that when everything is chaos and everything is changing, at least there are some truths of our own that we can bend our minds on, some kind of fixed truth to give us hope.


DARIUSZ: Yeah, that’s trust. That’s trust in another human being. And you have that.


ME: That’s a truth, even if that truth is not true for someone else or if that truth doesn’t last.


DARIUSZ: Okay, I’m with you.


ME: Psychologically, while we need chaos but we also need control. While everything changes we also need constants truths, if you will.


DARIUSZ: Yes, who’s interviewing who?


[LOL] Okay, here we both burst out laughing.


ME: LOL. Exactly! Those are my interviews. No, just kidding.


DARIUSZ: No, but really, I’m sharing that point of view. We have to put on the record that we’ve had a lot of wine and we are eating here. But the last thing….I really love what Coppola said about filmmaking. He said that you have to “risk all the time,” that making movies means you have to risk everything. The more you risk, then the greater the project will be.


ME: Here! Here! And we lifted our glasses of a fruity French Chardonnay, clinked and drank and ate merrily.


Dariusz’s film premiered the following night to a very pleased audience. Here is what the festival wrote about his film: “Nine years have passed since Dariusz Steiness's debut was premiered, but he has not been able to let go of it and has been working on it ever since. Now, it is ready, reedited and newly conceived, but still retro-cool, timeless and with one of the best Danish soundtracks ever.” Read more:α=C


director Dariusz Steiness


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