When Danish filmmaker Lea Glob first met Apolonia Sokol in 2009, she appeared to be leading a storybook life. The talented Apolonia was born in an underground theatre in Paris and grew up in an artist community — the ultimate bohemian life. In her 20s, she studied at the Beaux-Arts de Paris, one of the most prestigious art academies in Europe. Over the years, Lea kept returning to film Apolonia as the latter sought her place in the art world, grappling with the agonies and joys of womanhood, the relationships with others and her own body and creation. The result is a fascinating portrait of the young woman’s trying voyage into the art world. Apolonia is confident in her talent, but her path is not always an easy one to tread. Life is not a storybook, and Apolonia learns that women painters have to make more sacrifices and overcome greater obstacles than their male counterparts. This also applied to the friend she lived with for a long time, Oksana Shachko, one of the founders of the feminist action group Femen. Apolonia’s resilience is put to the test. As time passes and a special bond grows between Apolonia and Lea, we witness a film being born and a painter rising to fame. 13 years on, the two women continue to reflect on each other’s paths in this mesmerizing film about art, love, motherhood, sexuality, representation, and how to succeed in a world dominated by patriarchy, capitalism and war, without losing oneself. Director Lea Glob (Olmo & the Seagull) joins us for a conversation on how and why her first meeting with Apolonia propelled them both on this complex and meaningful journey, how she navigated the line between director and subject during the 13-year long duration of the project, the impact that Oksana had on Apolonia, and where are Apolonia and Lea today.
About the filmmaker – Lea Glob graduated as a director from The National Film School of Denmark in 2011 with the short film MEETING MY FATHER- KASPER TOPHAT about the directors’ involuntary journey into a stranger than fiction story of her own origins. Glob co-directed OLMO & THE SEAGULL with Petra Costa in 2014. It premiered at Locarno where it won the Young Jury Prize. It also won the Best Nordic Dox Award at CPH:DOX, Best Documentary at the Rio Film Festival, Best Documentary at the Cairo Film Festival, and Best Narrative at the RiverRun International film festival, among others. In 2016 Glob co-directed the feature documentary VENUS together with Mette Carla Albrechtsen about sexuality from a female perspective, which became a moment to share thoughts on sexuality and identity, in an attempt to formulate a language and reclaim the female body. The film premiered in IDFA’s First Appearance Competition and won the audience award in IndieLisboa IIFF. All along those years Glob followed the story of Apolonia Sokol, creating a sort of double sided portrait of the artist as a young woman. APOLONIA, APOLONIA is the director’s first documentary feature as a solo-director.
About the subject – Apolonia Sokol was born in 1988 in Paris, Apolonia Sokol is a French figurative painter of Danish and Polish descent. After graduating from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, she moved to the United States and settled in New York where she worked in Dan Colen’s studio. She later moved to Los Angeles where she befriended other artists and painters with whom she started an ongoing conversation on figurative painting. Sokol is known for her political stance on the art of portraiture, claiming the need to use it as a tool of empowerment and deconstruction of marginalization and domination. That is why she addresses multiple issues such as feminisms, queerness, women’s representation throughout art history and body politics in general. Apolonia Sokol exhibited her work in Copenhagen, Brussels, Paris,Istanbul, Mexico City, Rome, Los Angeles and her work has been included in institutional exhibitions, such as: Tainted Love / Club Edit at the Villa Arson in 2019 (curated by Yann Chevallier), Aux sources des années 1980, at the Musée de l’Abbaye Sainte-Croix, Sables d’Olonne, in 2019 (curated by Amélie Adamo), Mademoiselle at the Crac Occitanie in 2018 (curated by Tara Londi), Tainted Love, inaugural exhibition at the Comfort Moderne in 2017 (curated by Yann Chevalier), Peindre, dit-elle at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Dole in 2017 (curated by Julie Crenn). Her recent institutional exhibitions includePossessedcurated by Vincent Honoré at the MOCO Museum and Conversation Piece VII Verso Narragonia (Towards Narragonia) curated by Marcello Smarrelli at the Fondazione Memmo in Rome, Women Painting Women at The Modern, Forth Worth, Texas USA and Women in Arken Museum of Modern Art, Denmark. In 2020, the artist was granted the prestigious Academy of France in Rome, enabling the artist to benefit from a one year residency at the Villa Medici.
“layered and substantial” “an impressively idiosyncratic, far-reaching work” – Variety
“an absorbingly intimate portrait of an artist” – Screen Daily
“A multi-layered, intensely personal exploration of what’s at stake in an artistic life.” – The Film Verdict
“delightful and poignant” – Volkskrant
”art and life melt together in a magnificent and hypnotizing portrait” – Politiken
“was utterly transfixed” – Lena Dunham, writer, director, actress, producer