Flee: Directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen


Jonas Poher Rasmussen (‘Flee’)

Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Courtesy of Subject

Writer-director Rasmussen first met the subject of his powerful animated documentary Flee when they were both teenagers.

The film chronicles the harrowing life of a gay Afghan refugee who leaves his home to escape the Mujahideen and the Taliban, only to be victimized by corrupt police in Russia before finding a new life in Denmark.

“I had asked my friend permission to make a live-action documentary about his experiences for many years, and he kept saying no,” recalls the Danish filmmaker. “Finally, when I decided to tell his story as an animated documentary, he agreed to let me do it since animation offers a certain level of anonymity.”

The Neon release added Riz Ahmed and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as executive producers and voice actors for the English-language version earlier this year.

Flee also has been lauded for the way it used the medium to explore how traumatic events can alter the way a victim remembers the past. “This is a story about memory and trauma, which are difficult to explore in live action, where you are a slave to what footage you can get from a shoot,” says Rasmussen. “But in animation, you can fill in the missing pieces by simply drawing them.”

Sundance Grand Jury Prize Documentary winner

He was inspired by:

Once Upon a Time in the WestThe Karate Kid, I Lost My BodyWaltz With Bashir

He is now writing a movie based on three graphic novels by Danish author and artist Halfdan Pisket (Deserter, Cockroach, Dane).