Gertrud Sparre-Ulrich
"Each culture has their own norms, values, and traditions. In our modern globalized world, it is important that we try to understand other cultures."
Festival of documentary films and tv-spots "here i live"
The film follows the Danish opera singer, Hetna, who started a company that brings opera performances to private homes.
This short documentary portrays the life of the opera singer, Hetna. She started the company "Home Opera" in order to keep her dream of performing opera alive. Home Opera brings an opera ensemble to private homes. The film follows her as she prepares for a performance and during one of her performances in Copenhagen.
Crew members
Director: Nicolai af Rosenborg
Producer: Gertrud Sparre-Ulrich
Cinematography: Simon Christiansen
Sound design: Lina Drevs
Edition: Rasmus Sandager
Boom operators: Gertrud Sparre-Ulrich & Lina Drevs
Idea: Gertrud Sparre-Ulrich
Previous screenings and prizes
14th Jecheon International Film & Music Festival
Early Bird International Student Film Festival
Szczecin European Film Festival (category winner: MUSIC SEFF'18)

— What are you expecting from the upcoming Media-Forum Dialogue of Cultures?
— I am expecting some insightful days where I get to work with passionate film makers and journalists from different countries. I also believe that it is a rather unique opportunity that I get to make a project at the State Hermitage Museum. I have been told that I might be paired up with other participants with similar vision, which I am very excited about.
I have always been interested in exploring other cultures, and went on my first exchange trip to Greenland when I was just 11 years old. Since then I have been on exchange trips to India, Germany, United States, and Canada. I also recently finished a one-year program at the European Film College, where students came from all around the world go to make films together.
— Have you ever been to Russia? What are your expectations?

— I have never been to Russia. My Grandmother came from Russia, so I am really excited to finally visit. I am looking very much forward to seeing Saint Petersburg and I am especially looking forward to the amazing architectural sights, such as the Winter Palace
— Very soon your first journey to Russia will happen. Probably, you have already had the image of this big and multinational country. What is this image?

— Russia is a much bigger than Denmark – Saint Petersburg alone has the same number of inhabitants as the entire country of Denmark. I have heard that Saint Petersburg is quite different from the rest of Russia both in look and the level of diversity. I heard that it's a hub for intellectual people, but I am also excited to see people who don't fit in this category.

My main knowledge about Russia so far is from watching the news. Almost every time Russia is in the news it's because of something big happening such as Olympic Games or World Cup. A lot of other news about Russia are political. There are also some political decisions made in Russia which spark controversy in the Danish media. I think it's going to be interesting to meet the "average" Russian who doesn't go around making these decisions.
— Was it your first film? How did the idea of «Hetna – A Modern Opera Singer» come to you? Tell a little bit about the film process.
— It was my first documentary film. I had only been part of a few fiction short films before. I came up with the idea for the film as I remember my father telling me great things about a "Home Opera" performance. I pitched the idea for my co-student, Nicolai, and he happened to know the host of the opera and he had attended one of their performances before. We therefore decided to pair up and make this film together.

The film was made under a pretty tight time schedule, as we only had to finish within the film school deadlines. We had to just go and shoot a performance without having met with any of the performers beforehand. Initially, the film was to be about the company "Home Opera" but after the first night of shooting we were so fascinated by the founder, Hetna, that we decided to make it about her.

The film was shot in Berlin and Copenhagen. The crew was mainly Danish, however we had a German sound designer.
— You are a representative of a new age of digital artists. How modern technologies effect your work?
— Distribution wise it is much easier to get your work out in the world. The documentary I made has been shown in South Korea, Poland, and Bulgaria. This wouldn't have been possible without the digital portals available today. On the other hand, it's so easy to share media content that there is so much dumb stuff to sort through – So-called "YouTubers" can get a new haircut and make a 15-minute video about their experience. What I intend to produce in the future should work hard against this tendency. It should have genuine thought behind it.
— Do you easily find something that inspires you? What can it be?
— I am pretty easily inspired and always have a bunch of ideas in my head. I am, however, not that good on putting them down on writing. The ideas I have can be anything from a complete idea for a film, to a main character, or maybe just a single image I really like.

In Denmark I think it's very fascinating how different people are even though we are supposed to be a rather homogenous country. I believe that a great place for getting an impression of the place you are visiting is to go to the grocery store – what do people buy, how do they look, and how they behave? Observing people here always makes me think about what their story is and how it might be very different from my own.
— What do you want to reach in the sphere of documentary filmmaking?
— If I continue to make documentary films I would love to make documentaries that follow the subject over a longer period of time. I believe the most touching moments and the "best" truth comes forward when spending longer time on researching and shooting.
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