Erik Gandini

Last updated
Erik Gandini

Erik Gandini in 2015.jpg

Erik Gandini in 2015
Born (1967-08-14) 14 August 1967 (age 50)
Bergamo, Italy
Occupation Producer, director, writer
Years active 1994–present

Erik Walter Gandini (born 14 August 1967) is an Italian-Swedish film director, writer, and producer and one of the co-founders of production company ATMO.


His film The Swedish Theory of Love premiered at the 2015 Stockholm International Film Festival.

The Swedish Theory of Love is a 2016 Swedish documentary film directed by Erik Gandini.

Stockholm International Film Festival annual film festival held in Stockholm, Sweden

The Stockholm International Film Festival is an annual film festival held in Stockholm, Sweden. It was launched in 1990 and has been held every year in the second half of November. The film voted by a jury as the best in the competition section receives the Bronze Horse (Bronshästen). Since its start the festival has focused on bringing forth and supporting new talents through competitions and scholarships. A third of the films selected for the festival are made by a debuting director and only directors who have made less than 3 films are selected for the competition. In 2011 "The Stockholm Film Festival Feature Film Award" was inaugurated which funds a feature film for an unestablished female director. The aim for Stockholm International Film Festival is to broaden the selection of films in Sweden with creative new films of high quality and offer the visitor an orientation within modern film. With seminars, opportunities to meet actors and filmmakers during the festival, all means are given to make the film experience come full circle. An impressive list of filmmakers and actors have attended the festival, including Dennis Hopper, Lauren Bacall, Gena Rowlands, Charlotte Rampling, Susan Sarandon, Ang Lee, David Cronenberg, Roman Polanski, Terry Gilliam, David Lynch, Elia Kazan, Wong Kar-Wai and Uma Thurman.

Early life

Erik Gandini moved to Sweden aged 19 to attend film school and avoid military service in Italy. After his studies at Biskops Arnö and having completed a master's degree in film science at Stockholm University, he started working as a documentary filmmaker.

Stockholm University state university of Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm University is a public university in Stockholm, Sweden, founded as a college in 1878, with university status since 1960. Stockholm University has two scientific fields: the natural sciences and the humanities/social sciences. With over 34,000 students at four different faculties: law, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, it is one of the largest universities in Scandinavia. The institution is regarded as one of the top 100 universities in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

In 1994, Gandini adventured with a fake letter of recommendation from a small local Swedish TV broadcaster to the besieged city of Sarajevo where he directed and produced his first documentary Raja Sarajevo for Sveriges Television. The film, shot on a small Hi-8 camera by cinematographer Martina Iverus, followed four young friends trying to survive the brutality of the siege. Raja Sarajevo was Gandini's international breakthrough and was presented at Berlin International Film Festival, [1] at IDFA, [2] Cinema du Reél in Paris.

Sveriges Television Swedish public service

Sveriges Television AB, Sweden's Television, is the Swedish national public television broadcaster, funded by a public service tax on personal income set by the Riksdag. Prior to 2019, SVT was funded by a television licence fee payable by all owners of television sets. The Swedish public broadcasting system is largely modeled after the system used in the United Kingdom, and Sveriges Television shares many traits with its British counterpart, the BBC.

In 2000, Erik Gandini founded the Stockholm-based film production company ATMO, together with Tarik Saleh, Lars Rodvald and Kristina Åberg. In 2013 Gandini moved to Fasad, working alongside Jesper Kurlandsky, Jesper Ganslandt and Juan Libossart.

Tarik Saleh Swedish film director

Tarik Saleh is a Swedish television producer, animator, publisher, journalist and film director. He was born in Högalids församling, Stockholm to a Swedish mother and an Egyptian father. In the late 1980s and early 1990s he was one of Sweden's most prominent graffiti artists. He has also worked as a TV host for Sveriges Television and is one of the founders of production company Atmo.


Raja Sarajevo

Raja Sarajevo from 1994 (Raja means 'group of friends' in Bosnian) starred i.a. Enes Zlatar, leader of rock band Sikter and international artist Nebojsa Seric Soba, who at the time was a part-time art student and part-time soldier in the Bosnian army. In 1996, Erik Gandini shot a second documentary about the Balkan War, Not without Prijedor, about four young Bosnian refugees in Sweden who decided to return to their country to join the war. The same year he became part of a cult TV show on Swedish TV, ELBYL, where he met with Tarik Saleh.


Sikter is a Bosnian alternative rock band from Sarajevo. The band was formed in 1990 as a punk rock project of a few students, but became one of the most successful Bosnian rock bands. The name of the band is translated as Buzz Off!

His film Amerasians-the 100.000 children of the vietnam war from 1998 about the children of American soldiers and Vietnamese women was awarded the Silver Spire at the 1999 San Francisco International Film Festival [3]

Sacrificio - Who Betrayed Che Guevara?

In 2001, he co-directed with Tarik Saleh the documentary film Sacrificio - Who Betrayed Che Guevara?. The film centers around Ciro Bustos, Che Guevara's Argentinian lieutenant and the person who more than other has been blamed in history books as guilty of Che's death.

When captured in Bolivia, Bustos drew Ches portraits of Che Guevara and his guerrillas for the Bolivian army. Providing his interrogators with drawings framed Bustos as a traitor by historians but was according to his version part of a misleading strategy adopted under interrogation. After living in Sweden in silence for some thirty years, Sacrificio was the first documentary he took part in.

Sacrificio confronts Busto's version of the events with the surviving protagonists of Che Guevara's death and raises questions about how history has been written. Sacrificio stars several of the main characters surrounding the capture and killing of the Argentinian revolutionary leader, including former CIA agent Felix Rodriguez, former Bolivian General Gary Prado and Che Guevara's executioner Mario Teran.

When released in 2001, Sacrificio sparked an international debate concerning Che's death and shed new light on the role played by French intellectual Régis Debray.[ citation needed ]

Creative documentary

Surplus - Terrorized into Being Consumers

Surplus: Terrorized into Being Consumers from 2003 is a film odyssey about the destructive sides of consumer culture, shot in Sweden, USA, China, India, Cuba, Hungary and Italy over a three-year period and described as "a global doomsday satire set to music". [4] Surplus marked the start of a strong co-operation with composer-editor Johan Söderberg. Surplus premiered in competition at the largest documentary film festival IDFA in Amsterdam [5] in 2003 where it won the prestigious Silver Wolf Award.

Surplus's innovative style is the product of a method that Gandini adopts in his very personal approach to documentary film, "the freest, cheapest way for a person to express themselves cinematically". [6] Although his films deal with social issues they are far from traditional political documentaries. They are "creative documentaries" [7] relying on the idea of "show, don't tell", to give the viewer an experience of politics rather than mere facts, making a powerful use of cinematography, music and editing to make their point.[ citation needed ]


Gitmo – The New Rules of War is a documentary about the Guantanamo Bay detention camp by Erik Gandini and Tarik Saleh. The film features interviews with Janis Karpinski, Mehdi Ghezali and Geoffrey Miller, among others. Gitmo premiered at IDFA in 2005, and reached mainstream theaters in Sweden on February 10, 2006. It won a Jury award as best documentary at the 2006 Seattle International Film Festival, [8]

In July 2012, after a suicide bomb attack that left seven people dead in the Bulgarian city of Burgas on a bus carrying Israeli tourists, Gitmo's main character and former Guantanamo detainee Mehdi Ghezali was named in Bulgarian and Israeli media as the main suspect. [9] The Swedish Secret services denied soon after categorically his involvement but his name picture had already been widely exposed in the world press.[ citation needed ]


Erik Gandini's 2009 feature-length documentary Videocracy is so far his most successful film. The film, produced and directed by Gandini, explores how Italy has been pushed to the brink of moral melt-down under the rule of Silvio Berlusconi. When it premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, its trailer was banned by Italian state broadcaster RAI, [10] stirring an international controversy. When widely released in theaters across Italy, it climbed to the fourth position on the Italian Box Office the first weekend. [11]

Videocracy was voted best documentary film at the Toronto International Film Festival by a critics poll conducted by Indy Wire [12] and chosen as one of the best documentaries in 2010 by The Guardian top critic Peter Bradshaw. [13]

"The Evilness of Banality"

To explain the cultural phenomenon of Berlusconismo, Erik Gandini coined the expression "The Evilness of Banality", thus paraphrasing Hanna Arendt's banality of evil.

In 2010, Erik Gandini was appointed visiting professor at Karlstad University, Gobal Media Studies. [14] Besides his professional career as a director and producer, Gandini lectures extensively about film, politics and media, in Sweden, Italy and around the world.

The Swedish Theory of Love

The documentary The Swedish Theory of Love is Gandini's social critique on the ideology of individual independence of Swedish society. The film suggests that the Swedes are suffering from an epidemic of loneliness. [15] Gandini was inspired by his own 'split-life' as an Italian Swede. [16] The title of the movie is derived from the book Is the Swede a Human Being?, written by the Swedish historians Henrik Berggren och Lars Trägårdh.

The movie was nominated for Best Documentary at the Stockholm Film Festival in 2015.


Erik Gandini is the winner of the 2012 Maj Zetterling award. The prize of 200,000SEK was granted by the Swedish Art Council for his 'innovation of cinematic language within the documentary genre' [17] Gandini was also nominated Swedish producer of the year in 2010, competing for the Lorens Award [18]

Personal life

Gandini has three children with his wife, author and culinary writer Johanna Westman.


2015Nominated Best DocumentaryStockholm Film FestivalThe Swedish Theory of Love
2009Special Jury PrizeSheffield Film FestivalVideocracy
2009NominationSwedish GuldbaggeVideocracy
2006First PrizeSeattle Int. Film FestivalGitmo
2006Special Jury MentionMiami Int. Film FestivalGitmo
2004Audience AwardVila do Conde International Film Festival, PortugalSurplus
2003First prize, Silver WolfIDFA AmsterdamSurplus
2003International Festival Environmental Film, FICA, BrazilFirst PrizeSurplus
2003NominatedSwedish GulbaggeSurplus
2001First PrizeIts all True Doc, Film FestivalSacrificio
2001Best non Latin American documentaryHavana Film FestivalSacrificio
2001Best use of music and soundOne World Film FestivalSacrificio
2001First PrizeOporto International Film FestivalSacrificio

Related Research Articles

Mehdi Mohammad Ghezali, in media previously known as the Cuban-Swede, is a Swedish citizen of Algerian and Finnish descent who was held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camp in Cuba between January 2002 and July 2004. Ghezali claimed to have been "physically and mentally tortured" at Guantanamo.

Johan Olof Anders Söderberg is a Swedish film director and editor. He was considered part of the now terminated Swedish multimedia collective Lucky People Center.

Surplus: Terrorized Into Being Consumers is an award-winning 2003 Swedish documentary film on consumerism and globalization, created by director Erik Gandini and editor Johan Söderberg. It looks at the arguments for capitalism and technology, such as greater efficiency, more time and less work, and argues that these are not being fulfilled, and they never will be. The film leans towards anarcho-primitivist ideology and argues for 'a simple and fulfilling life'.

<i>Sergio</i> (film) 2009 film by Greg Barker

Sergio is a 2009 documentary film based on Pulitzer Prize-winner Samantha Power's biography, Sergio: One Man's Fight to Save the World. The film revolves around the story of United Nations diplomat, Sergio Vieira de Mello, who worked for the UN for more than 34 years and was ultimately killed in the Canal Hotel bombing in Iraq on August 19, 2003. The work includes extensive interviews with William von Zehle, a U.S. Army First Sergeant in 2003, who spent hours trying to rescue de Mello from under a 9m stack of concrete and other debris of the collapsed building.

Gitmo: The New Rules of War is a Swedish documentary about the Guantanamo Bay detention camp by Erik Gandini and Tarik Saleh. The film features interviews with Janis Karpinski, Mehdi Ghezali and Geoffrey Miller, among others.

Krister Linder Swedish singer

Krister Linder is a New York-based Swedish electronic musician.

Ernesto "Che" Guevara, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, politician, author, intellectual, physician, military theorist, and guerrilla leader. His life, legacy, and ideas have attracted a great deal of interest from historians, artists, film makers, musicians, and biographers. In reference to the abundance of material, Nobel Prize–winning author Gabriel García Márquez has declared that "it would take a thousand years and a million pages to write Che's biography."

<i>Beyond the Game</i> 2008 film by Jos de Putter

Beyond the Game is a 2008 Dutch documentary film about the world of professional video gaming, particularly of the game Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne featuring world champion players Chinese Xiaofeng "Sky" Li, Dutch Manuel "Grubby" Schenkhuizen and Swede Fredrik "MaDFroG" Johansson prominently. It is directed by award winning Dutch documentary filmmaker Jos de Putter. Filming took place in China, France, The Netherlands, United States and Sweden. Languages spoken in the documentary include Dutch, English, French, Spanish, Swedish, Standard Chinese and Korean.

<i>Metropia</i> (film) 2009 film by Tarik Saleh

Metropia is a 2009 English-language animated science fiction film directed by Tarik Saleh. The screenplay was written by Fredrik Edin, Stig Larsson, and Tarik Saleh after a story by Tarik Saleh, Fredrik Edin and Martin Hultman. The film uses a technique where photographs have been altered and heavily stylized in a computer program, and then animated. The visual style is inspired by the works of Terry Gilliam, Roy Andersson and Yuri Norstein. Metropia is Boulder Media Limited's first adult animated movie and production.

Videocracy is a 2009 documentary film directed by Swedish-Italian Erik Gandini about Italian television and its impact on Italian culture and politics, and about Silvio Berlusconi's powerful position on all of these. Gandini coined the phrase "The Evilness of Banality" to describe the cultural phenomenon of Berlusconism, thus making a word play on Hannah Arendt's "Banality of Evil".

Leonard Retel Helmrich Dutch film director

Leonard Retel Helmrich is a Dutch cinematographer and film director. He was born the 16th of August 1959 in Tilburg, Netherlands and has lived in Amsterdam since 1982. He received highest honours for international documentaries at the Sundance Festival and was the first two-time International Documentary winner at the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA).. In June 5, 2018 he was rewarded by the Dutch King Willem-Alexander with the title Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion, a very high distinction.

The Last Tightrope Dancer in Armenia is a documentary that tells the story of Zhora, 78 years old, and Knyaz, 77 years old, who were once the most celebrated tightrope dancers in Armenia.

Michael Obert German journalist

Michael Obert is an award-winning German book author and journalist who has been compared with the likes of Bruce Chatwin, Jon Krakauer and Ryszard Kapuściński. His debut movie Song from the Forest was honored with the Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2013. In 2016 Song from the Forest was considered for the 88th Academy Awards.

Gianni Minà Italian journalist and writer

Gianni Minà is an Italian journalist, writer and television host. He has collaborated with both Italian and foreign newspapers and magazines; produced hundreds of reports for the RAI ; designed and presented television programs, as well as produced successful documentary films on the lives of Che Guevara, Muhammad Ali, Fidel Castro, Rigoberta Menchú, Silvia Baraldini, Subcomandante Marcos, and Diego Maradona.

Orwa Nyrabia Syrian film producer

Orwa Nyrabia is a highly acclaimed independent Syrian documentary film producer, filmmaker, trainer, human rights defender and co-founder of DOX BOX International Documentary Film Festival in Syria. Nyrabia is a resident of Berlin, Germany, since the end of 2013 In January 2018 Nyrabia became the director of International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).

Nima Sarvestani Swedish-Iranian filmmaker

Nima Sarvestani is a Swedish-Iranian filmmaker.

Diana El Jeiroudi Syrian film director

Diana El Jeiroudi, is an award-winning, Berlin-based, Syrian independent documentary film director, producer and co-founder of DOX BOX International Documentary Film Festival in Syria and DOX BOX e.V. non-profit association in Germany. El Jeiroudi was the first Syrian to be a juror in Cannes Film Festival in 2014, when she was part of the first Documentary Film Award jury in the festival. Together with her partner Orwa Nyrabia, El Jeiroudi was also the first Syrian known to be invited to become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2017.

Boris Gerrets

Boris Gerrets is a Dutch film director, film writer and editor based in Berlin, Germany. He was born into a Bulgarian-German family in Amsterdam and was raised in The Netherlands, Spain, Sierra Leone and Germany.

<i>Becoming Zlatan</i> 2015 film by Fredrik Gertten

Becoming Zlatan is a 2015 Swedish independent coming-of age sports documentary about Swedish International association football player Zlatan Ibrahimović. The film was directed by brothers Fredrik and Magnus Gertten and follows Ibrahimović through his formative years with football clubs Malmö FF and AFC Ajax all the way to his break through with Juventus F.C. in 2005.


  15. "'Sweden is a paradise but we've lost human values'". 2015-12-29. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  16. "Why Swedes Are So Lonely | VICE | Sweden". VICE. 2015-11-10. Retrieved 2016-12-11.