Rome FF

Jesper Ganslandt – 438 Days #RomaFF14

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4 min. and 50 sec.

The director talks to FRED about this biopic, based on the real story of two journalists, kidnapped in Ethiopia.

Play Podcast
4 min. and 50 sec.

PODCAST | David Martos interviews Jesper Ganslandt, director of the film 438 Days.

To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture

Jesper Ganslandt, director of 438 Days, talks to FRED Film Radio in the context of the 14th edition of the Rome Film Festival. He talks about what interested him about directing a film based in a real event -an a book by the two journalists involved-, and how difficult was the shooting, that took place in South Africa.

438 Days: On the eve of June 28th, 2011 Swedish journalists Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson put everything at stake by illegally crossing the border from Somalia into Ethiopia. After months of research, planning and failed attempts, they were finally on their way to report on how the ruthless hunt for oil effected the population of the isolated and conflict-ridden Ogaden region. Five days later they lay wounded in the desert sand, shot and captured by the Ethiopian army. But when their initial reportage died, another story began. A story about lawlessness, propaganda and global politics. After a Kafkaesque trial they were sentenced to eleven years in prison for terrorism. And they were far from alone. Their cellmates were journalists, writers and politicians persecuted for not bowing down to dictatorship. Their reportage about oil was transformed into a story about ink, and their daily lives turned into a fight for survival inside the notorious Kality prison in Addis Ababa. Exposed to deadly diseases, daily beatings and fierce repression – deprived of their shoelaces and their freedom of speech – they fought to preserve the most valuable thing of all: the freedom to determine who you are and what you believe. This is their story of 438 days of hell.


  • Reporter
    David Martos
  • Guest
    Jesper Ganslandt
  • Interviewee role
  • Film title
    438 Days
  • Festival section
    Official selection
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