Jonas Poher Rasmussen interview: ‘Flee’ director

“Flee” is a feature documentary on the Oscar shortlist that tells the extraordinary true story of a man, Amin, on the verge of marriage which compels him to reveal his hidden past for the first time. The film is directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, who met Amin as a teenager in Denmark and uses animation to conceal his subject’s true identity in the documentary. Watch the exclusive video interview above.

“Our friendship started at the bus stop,” Rasmussen explains. “I grew up in this small, rural village in Denmark. When I was 15, Amin arrived all by himself from Afghanistan. He stayed in foster care with a family just around the corner from where I lived. We started meeting up at this bus stop every morning going to high school. There weren’t a lot of boys my age in the village so we just naturally started talking and became very good friends.”

Although the two of them became friendly, Rasmussen was unaware of everything Amin had been through. “He didn’t want to talk about it and I respected that,” the director says. “Our friendship grew and we traveled together. We had New Year’s every year together. All along he had this black box of a story that he didn’t want to open up. About 15 years ago I asked him if I could do a radio [piece] about his story. I have a background in radio. And then he said that he knew he would have to share his story at some point but he didn’t feel quite ready yet. When he would be ready he would like to do it with me and then we could do something about it. So I had it in the back of my head for a long time.”

Eight years ago when Rasmussen went to a workshop about animated documentaries he realized he could tell Amin’s story with a sense of anonymity. “I met up with him and asked him if he wanted to share his story and that we could turn it into an animated documentary,” the director explains. “He was very intrigued by the fact that he could be anonymous behind the animation. What you see in the film, what you hear, is his real voice telling his story for the very first time. It’s not easy for him to talk about these things. So the fact that he could be anonymous behind animation is what really enabled him to open up.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

UPLOADED Feb 8, 2022 7:30 am