It all began in 1979
We went off to Central America equipped with a portable typewriter, a camera and a tape recorder to report on the popular revolt and the dream of justice. We were eye witnesses of the revolution in Nicaragua and produced the slide show ”Free the Mother Country – or die”.
We also produced Spor’s first teaching materials in collaboration with the Danish Spanish teachers’ association
We called ourselves the “work group Spor”: We wanted to make our mark and follow the trail we had joined. That is why we returned to Nicaragua to make the 16 mm film ”Children of the Revolution”.
We made the audio-slide productions “In the shadow of the bomb” (1982) about Hiroshima and “Little adults” (1984) for Danish national TV.
Spor produced major slide shows for WUS (now Oxfam IBIS): El Salvador on the move (1987) about the popular movements in the civil war and ”Life come what may” (1989) about the war and human destinies in Mozambique.
We were hired as consultants for Operation Day’s Work, which over the years produced slide shows with our help. We also taught communications skills for several of the Nicaragua Committee’s ‘Building Brigades’.
From the late 80s, Spor Media was the driving force behind the international film network ZEBRA, which attracted members from the heart of the Brazilian rainforest and the Sahara Desert. Many film makers and the representatives of organisations have endeavoured to sway the stereotype image of people and society in the so-called Third World. ZEBRA provided them with a network, while at the same time promoting documentary and informative films in which people in the South are portrayed as subjects and not objects. ZEBRA’s most important tool was its magazine in three languages – ZEBRA News.
In 1985 we were invited to take part in the annual Festival of Latin American Film in Havana, Cuba. We watched a whole lot of incredible films, which we thought a Danish audience should see too. On the way home we decided that we wanted to promote films from Latin America and from Africa and Asia as well, if possible.
Thanks to the support of Danida, we were able to promote films from the South for the next 13 years. In addition to the festival in Havana we attended FESPACO in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, along with festivals in Tunisia, Chile and India. Around 75 films found their way to Danish audiences. Five of these were African feature films, imported in collaboration with distributors in Sweden, Norway and Finland and subtitled in four languages.
With the support of the Ministry of Education and Danida, we began producing teaching materials for a number of films distributed in Denmark. You can find the materials on the website Distant Neighbours, the purpose being to give students and teachers an insight into the issues and realities the films concern themselves with.
We also collaborated with the Danish Film Institute on the festivals “The Open Window” and “Distant Neighbours“. We organized the Festival fra Syd (Festival from the South) in cooperation with a similar festival in Oslo. In 2004 we launched the film festival Salaam. It was a great success, and the following year Salaam was established as an independent organization.
At the 1987 film festival in Havana we met a group of Latin American directors who wanted to make an international co-production with young girls as the lead characters: Vision Latina. So in 1988 we returned to Havana with our film about a Danish-Chilean girl whose parents had fled from Pinochet’s dictatorship: ”Isabel c/o Denmark”
This was a new start at producing films based on our own ideas – most of them about people in Africa and Latin America and their visions, challenges identity issues. This has led to the creation of the films Isabel returns, Ancestors on-line, Hotel of dreams, The football school, Breaking Barriers and Sound Tracks of Linfe – Moussa Diallo on base.
We also make educational, informative and documentary films in collaboration with individuals and organisations; ”Okwiyamba/Joint effort” (about the building of schools in Namibia) for IBIS, ”En høne i hånden er bedre end 10 på taget” (about microcredit) for Cykler in Senegal, The Lioness (about a female producer and director in Burkina Faso) and The rainbow project (about a children’s´ theatre in Mali).
When important issues arise in Denmark or we meet someone with an important story, we also make films in Denmark: “Fading away” (about the illness ALS), ”What?!” (about hearing loss), and Last chapter (about aging). This also led to the creation of the website ”Øjenåbner” – film and background materials about children with visual impairment.
In collaboration with DR we produced the TV-series Rootless in 2018. The series portrays five young men who came to Denmark as refugees and their experiences in the Danish society.
For the Global Kids project we organise visits every by groups of children and young people from countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The groups form part of projects that focus on helping children from slum areas. In Denmark they arrange workshops and performances at schools, colleges and folk high schools, creating direct contact through theatre, dance, music and acrobatics. The cultural visits also result in debate on global issues like poverty, climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals.
We organize the visits in collaboration with the German KinderKulturKarawane and other partners in Denmark and Europe. For some of the periods, the project has received financial support from the EU.
After many visits we have expanded our knowledge of the cultural organizations in the South, and a logical follow-up has been to develop projects together. With the support of CISU, Spor has – in collaboration with the cultural organisation COMPA in Bolivia – established a media project for young people in one of Bolivia’s largest cities, El Alto.
In Kenya we collaborate with Nafsi Africa about projects that strengthen young – and in particular girls – possibilities to use cultural activities to express themselves and have a voice.
A timeline of the history of Spor Media
1979: Helle Toft Jensen, Michael Mogensen and Henrik Jørgensen produce the film “Free the country – or die”. The ” Spor Working Group” comes to life.
1980: Spor produces its first documentary: The Children of the Revolution
1984: Torben Vosbein applies his experiences from the education sector, and the Working group Spor becomes the “Media group Spor”
1985-1998: Spor participates in film festivals and promote documentaries from the South (with support from Danida)
1991-1997: Torben Vosbein is the driving force behing the international network “ZEBRA”, and Signe Byrge Sørensen becomes a committed and active colleague.
1991: Together with five other media companies, Spor establishes the Office Community in Elmegade 5, 1.
1997: Korthe Lund Barfod becomes our indispensable accounting manager.
2003: Gitte Jakobsen joins the team, and Spor starts working with the Global Kids project.
2004: With great contributions from Thomas Henriksen, Spor organizes the first Salaam festival
2005-: The Distant Neighbors website provides film and educational materials for danish schools
2008: Oskar Fanta – world citizen and film editor – joins the team
2011-2017: Spor collaborates with the Bolivian cultural organization COMPA on a an educational project for and with children and young people in El Alto.
2016-: Spor collaborates with Nafsi Africa on cultural projects for children and young people in the slum in Nairobi, Kenya.
2019-: Carsten Nørgaard joins the team and we start a partnership with Positive Vibes in Namibia to strengthen the rights of young people – focusing on sexual minorities and prostitutes.
© 2018 Spor Media