Every Face Has a Name


St. Anthony Main Theatre 5 Sat, Apr 11, 2015 7:20 PM
St. Anthony Main Theatre 2 Sun, Apr 12, 2015 1:00 PM
St. Anthony Main Theatre 3 Mon, Apr 13, 2015 4:45 PM
Film Info
Premiere Status:US Premiere
English Title:Every Face Has a Name
Competition: Documentary Feature
Social Justice
Filmmaker/Guest Attending
Voice Category:Panorama
Release Year:2015
Type:Documentary Feature
Festivals & Awards:The Angelos Award, Gothenburg International Film Festival, January 2015
The FIPRESCI Award, Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, March 2015
Director:Magnus Gertten
Producer:Lennart Ström
Magnus Gertten
Cinematographer:Adam Makarenko
Caroline Troedsson
Editor:Jesper Osmund
Principal Cast:Piotr Górski
Phillip Jackson
Bernhard Kempler
Ryszard Lagemo
Anita Lobel
Screenwriter:Magnus Gertten
Jesper Osmund


Director Magnus Gertten attending.

In Every Face Has A Name, a sequel of sorts to Harbor of Hope (MSPIFF 2012), director Magnus Gertten tracks down and interviews survivors from German concentration camps seen in a 35mm archival film reel showing their arrival at the harbour of Malmo, Sweden on April 28, 1945.

The group includes Jews from all over Europe, Norwegian prisoners of war, Polish mothers and children, members of the French resistance, British spies, as well as a young Italian-American accused of being a spy—with personal reactions that are both powerful and moving.


Many documentaries start with taking on a big challenge. By trying to do the almost impossible. This is also the case with Every Face Has a Name. I got fascinated and obsessed by a film reel showing war survivors arriving in the harbour of Malmö, Sweden, the 28th of April, 1945. I wanted to know: How many of the anonymous faces is it possible to identify 70 years later?

My team at Auto Images has been researching this historic footage since 2008. At this point we’ve identified and put names to approximately 60 out of the several hundreds of survivors from the German concentration camps that are visible in the archive footage. Several of them are surprisingly still alive. Nine of them ended up being main characters in Every Face Has a Name.

This documentary has an obvious humanistic mission. The people in the archive footage are not just anonymous victims. They are real people with names like all of us. My film is – in an almost ceremonial way – giving back the names to many of the survivors who arrived to Malmö, Sweden, at April 28, 1945.

To me this is a film with a huge contemporary relevance. Every week on international news media, we see endless streams of war refugees arriving in harbour and borders stations. For a long time, I had the idea of making a comparison between the 1945 situation and today’s global war refugee situation. It was tough to find the right harbour, but finally I was lucky. The 1st of July, 2014, I was standing in a small Sicilian harbour with my team as a nearly 600 refugees arrived after a dramatic journey over the Mediterranean Sea. Being there had a great impact on me. If I in any way can change people’s views on the refugee streams coming from horrific circumstances all over the world today, then I have reached a goal with my film.

Every director has has his or her trademarks. My style has always been very intimate. Bringing the audience close the main characters through sensitive and emotionally strong interviews is a foundation in my work. In Every Face Has a Name I want to combine the emotional power in the portraits of people with a concept based on a magical exploration of a 35 mm film reel from 1945. My ambition was to make the film reel one of the main characters in the doc. Sophisticated editing, high end technology, including a new 4k scan, has revealed new details and helped us create ”new scenes” in the archive footage.

One important element in my artistic method is the team building. Making films is like playing in a rock band. Even if you’re the singer and the songwriter in the band, you still depend on a solid bassplayer and a rythmic drummer. To point out one key member in my band: Jesper Osmund, editor from Copenhagen, with whom I’ve done seven documentaries so far. His storytelling abilities on the highest international level is of great importance for the film.

Parts of the same archive material was used in my 2011 documentary Harbour of Hope, which gives the historic context to the almost 30 000 survivors from the German concentration camps who arrived to Sweden during 1945. In Every Face Has A Name I want to tell a story about one specific day. This is a film about the complicated moment of freedom.