Archive for the ‘Portfolio’ Category

Slaves Of The Highway

A large group of Filipino and Sri Lancan drivers were exploited by the Danish haulier Kurt Beier Transport.
They lived in slum-like barracks close to the Danish-German border.

This is their story.

Courage – Journalism is not a crime

Watch the full length film here

The film is free-for-all and comes with 13 different subtile languages

They are devoted to journalism but are under an immense pressure by governments, companies and criminals.

They use freedom of expression to fight corruption and injustices.

They reveal what those in power want’s to hide.

They face torture, jail and even death, but still they keep on fighting.

From three different countries – on different continents – with one thing in common:

They have Courage– because Journalism is not a crime.

Bitter Grapes – Slavery in the vineyards

(December 2019: Full length film avaialble below)

”I don’t want to shake your filthy hand. You are a disgusting piece of rubbish”.

The message was clear when the film crew confronted one of the biggest exporters of South African wines. An industry that does not like to be investigated. An industry that offers cheap – but good wine to the International and Scandinavian market booming with wines from South Africa.

25 years after the Apartheid regime fell farm workers in South Africa are still seen as a commodity rather than workers with constitutional rights.

The workers in the flourishing province, Western Cape – working 9-12 hours a day – for as low as € 3,5 are muted. Unions are denied access to their members. Their houses are falling apart and according the industry itself workers are denied the most basic rights:

“For me personally, it seems as if modern day slavery is practised on many farms, and the farmworker is almost viewed as “the property” of the employer”, says a farm manager.

Meanwhile tourists and wine experts are touring the wine yards on wine safaris and wine tasting tours – living in lush and restored houses formerly inhabited by the workers.

Their destination is the townships where they live without water, sanitation and electricity – in cardboard houses and tin sheet roofs.

The Nordic state owned alcohol monopolies and retailers have apparently turned the blind eye to their own Code of Conduct. They rely on the South African wine industry’s own seals stating: “Certified fair labour practice” and “Integrity & Sustainability”. A label – accused as being nothing but a marketing tool for the industry – by the organization that was supposed to improve the living-, and working conditions for the bottom of the pyramid in South Africa.

Watch the entire film here:

Bitter Grapes UK Subtitles from Tom Heinemann on Vimeo.


A Heart That Never Dies

A Heart That Never Dies

A TV series in 6 episodes about courage and human rights.

Journalists, lawyers, political activists, human rights organizers and others are daily fighting an almost overwhelming struggle to survive in corrupt regimes and governments that suppresses the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression or violate other basic human rights.

This is the story of six people – each with a heart that never dies.


The Carbon Crooks

The Carbon Crooks (Full length documentary film below)

In December 2019, one of the crucial points in the negotiations at COP25 in Madrid, is the trading of carbon emissions. Can we simply buy a way out of our problems by counting carbon credits that only exist on paper.

When the EU started the Carbon Emissions Trading System (ETS) Denmark became the largest registry in the world. Why? Because hackers and VAT-fraudsters hijacked the system, and the – long gone failure with the UN Clean Development System (CDM) was no better. This film from 2013 tells the full story. A story, that the politicians six years later have not yet found any solution on.



The Micro Debt

(December 2019: Watch the full length film below)

For decades Microcredit has been hailed as the #1 solution to eradicate poverty. In December 2007, the Danish independent journalist and film maker, Tom Heinemann met with a woman by the name of Jahanara – living in a slum-like house two hours drive outside the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. Shortly before the meeting she had sold her house to pay her weekly instalments. For months, she had been intimidated, harassed and abused by the members of her loan group and by the loan officers from the various Micro Finance Institutions (MFI) – including Grameen Bank – who had given her the loans. Two years later the film crew went back to investigate if Jahanara had succeeded getting out of poverty. She wasn’t.

“Not all that glitters is gold”
The meeting with Jahanara was only the first in a long string of interviews with poor people in Bangladesh, Andhra Pardesh in India and in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico. The Microcredit loan-takers told the same story over and over again: Most of them had numerous loans in various NGO’s and Micro Finance Institutions – and many must take new loans to cover the old ones. They paid annual interest rates ranging from 30-200 %, and they are under extreme social pressure from the other members of their groups not to mention how cruel and rude some of the loan officers behave when it comes to defaulting a single weekly payment. The film also brings interviews with renowned Microfinance experts such as Thomas Dichter, Milford Bateman, Alex Counts, Jonathan Morduch and David Roodman etc. And we interview local experts and NGO’s such as Khushi Kubur from Nijera Kori and Shahidur Rahman from ActionAid International.

A Nobel banker
“The Micro Debt” also takes a closer look at the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Grameen Bank and Mr. Muhammad Yunus. The film reveals a number of secret documents proving how Mr. Yunus back in the mid-90’s transferred 100 mio. USD – where most was donated as grants from Norway, Sweden, Germany, USA and Canada – to a new company in the Grameen-family in order to save tax in the future.
12 years later the public is now – and for the first time – able to see what really happened to the taxpayers money.

The poor always pay back
The film crew travelled several times to Bangladesh, and visited some of the most hailed villages in the history of the Nobel laureate Grameen Bank.
In Jobra we met the daughter of the famous loan taker, Sufiya Begun and in “Hillary Village”, where the former first lady in the USA, Hillary Clinton in 1995 came and cheered both Mohammad Yunus and Grameen Bank, the crew meets poor people who has gained nothing else but more debt due to microcredit.
Almost each and every loan taker interviewed told the same story. All had multiple loans in various Micro credit banks and organisations and all interviewed had a hard time trying to pay back their loans. Some had sold their house, others had their tin-sheets pulled of their houses to cover the weekly payments.

“The Micro Debt” was first aired in a special Norwegian version on November 30. 2010 at NRK1 and caught attention in medias all over the world. In may 2011, Muhammad Yunus was sacked from Grameen Bank. Officially due to age, but according to Mr. Yunus it was the film that led to his fall. “The Micro Debt” has – so far – been aired in more than 20 countries and has received several international festival awards.

Click the image below to play the trailer.

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The Bitter Taste Of Tea

(December 2019: Watch the full length film below)

In the beautiful lush tea gardens in Kenya, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, millions of tea-workers struggle everyday fighting to survive. They are plucking tea for multinational companies such as Lipton and Finlay’s.The companies promise the consumers, that they will act as responsible members of the global society protecting the environment and ensuring good working and living conditions for the workers. Nothing could be more wrong. The western consumers have turned to Fairtrade because Fairtrade/Max Havelaar guarantees, that the workers in the Fairtrade certified tea estates get a little extra money, every time the consumer buys their tea. This film tells the true story of how Fairtrade is not at all fair.

Click on the image to watch the trailer


A Tower Of Promises

(December 2019: Watch the full length film below)

The world have never been bigger. In seconds we can connect. From Scandinavia to Bangladesh.
Globalization can create economical growth even in the poorest countries of the world. Good for some but not for all. The gap between the rich and the poor has never been bigger: 980 million people are starving every day, Just 1000 people own on
average more than 4 billion Dollars, 850 million people suffers from chronic malnutrition.
Who are the winners and who are the losers?
This documentary shows how Ericsson and Telenor for more than a decade have neglected to live up to their own Code Of Conduct. Fatal accidents, child labour, hazardous working conditions and environmental disasters are everyday occurrences in their factories in Bangladesh. Thousands of poor workers, work for subcontractors to Ericcson and Telenor (Two of the largest telecommunication companies in the world). These multinational
companies guarantees to the public and their shareholders, that the employees and suppliers have to live up to the most basic human rights and environmental standards. “A Tower Of Promises” documents how these guarantees are nothing more than empty words.
“Flip The Coin – A Tower Of Promises” is a co-production between SVT, Sweden – DR, Denmark and NRK, Norway. For more information, sales, international version please contact Tom Heinemann.

Click on image to watch the trailer


A Killer Bargain

(December 2019: Watch the full length film below)

Story line:

Yet cotton only covers 4-6 % of the fields in India, the consumption of pesticides on cotton is more than 50 % of all used pesticides in India.The illiterate farmers are spraying extensively – up to 30 times a year (4-5 times more that recommended) – without any use of protection equipment or safety measures.
Numerous of the pesticides used in India are by far banned in the Western world. Many of the international manufactores of pesticides is aware of the fact, that the Indian market is luctrative, and without the same restrictions as in their homelandsAs one, the Danish multinational pesticide company, Cheminova has their own factory in the town of Panoli in Gujarat.
Out of eleven known product manufactored at the Cheminova plant, seven of them are totally banned or not released in the EU.
Neighbouring villagers complain about what they see as an illegal pollution from Cheminova, and they also claim that their serious rash on their bodies comes from the gasses released by the many chemical factories in the area.

Many of the poor and illetarate farmers ends their lives at a charity hospital in the town of Bikaner or at special hospices for the poor. Doctors are currently investigating thousands of data from living and dead farmers, trying to establish knowlegde on the possible links between the extensive use of pesticides and the explosion af cancer in the so-called Cotton Belts of Inida.The uncontrolled and eccesive use of pesticides does not only affect the farmers health and safety. Where ever the authorities or ngo´s are testing they´ll find residues of pesticides. In milk, flour and bottled drinking water, high amounts of pesticides has been found thorughout the country. Even in Coca Cola and Pepsi, the scientist have found residues of some of the most hazardous chemicals.

Cotton in Sanganer.
The cotton ends in the acid baths in a number of primitive factories outside the famous tourist hub, Jaipur in the state of Rajesthan. But the buyers from the large European outlets and chains does not controle how the cotton is being bleached and dyed before it ends as beautiful hand printed tablecovers, bed linnen and cushion covers.
Officially the exporters claim, that there mainly is being used vegetable dyes, and that everything is being done in a well organized and environmental friendly way.
But reality in the town of Sanganer is completely different. Dalit (formerly known as the untouchables) workers standing barelegged in acid- and chlorine baths day in and day out, bleaching and dyeing the cotton on it´s long journey towards the European markets. In the town of Sanganer some 1.000 primitive factories are established.
Dyestuff, chemicals and and chlorine are released directly and untreted into the irrigation canals in Sanganer. The area is caractirized by it´s 100 % biological dead fauna, and the smell of chlorine and chemicals in the area is intense.To make solid proof the chain of production, the filmcrew baught a bautifull hand printed bed linnen at the “Indiska”-shop in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Film
The documentary follows the bed linnen back to the exact factory where it was produced under extremely hazardous conditions. Far awy from where it was supposed to be made, and far, far away from the Code of Conduct and environmental and ethical standards that the Swedish “Indiska”-chain of some 70 shops throughout Scandinavia has guarantied their customers.

Cotton in Panipat.
In the industrial town of Panipat – some 100 km north of New Delhi – large Swedish, Danish and European supermarkets are supplying the European customers with cheap home furnishing textiles as sofa covers, towels and bathroom rugs. The workers are underpaid, migrant dalit´s from some of India poorest states like West Bengal and Bihar. At the factories there are no unions, the daily work can be as many as 24 hours a day – seven days a week. The workers are mostly un-protected and chemicals are stored illegally. One of the factories appearing in the documentary does not even have an official permit from the Indian authorities to run. At the factory some 40-50-child workers are working on a regular basis.
Workers also claims that they are being beaten at the factory Companies like JYSK (DK), Dansk Supermarket Group (DK) and ICA (S) are among the customers. The sales manager of the factory also claims that European companies like Ahold (NL), Morison’s (GB) and Superquinn (IR) are among the regular buyers visiting the factory.On their websites the consumers can read, that many of the above mentioned companies has a high ethical profile, where the consumers are assured that all textiles/materials manufactured for the companies are done in an ethical, environmental and social right way. Disguised like potential buyers from a fictive chain of shops, the film crew reveals some of the harsh conditions at the factories and documents how the production in fact is being done.

directors statement
The world has never been smaller and the market has never been bigger.

This statement is both challenging and provocative.
When a traditional European company has more than 50 employees, you can be almost certain that the CEO´s are planning to outsource their production to a poor country in the third world – far away from the high salaries and expensive raw materials.

That’s globalisation – and that’s good. But can we trust the Western companies, when they promise the consumers that they have a high ethical, social, environmental and moral standard?What we saw and filmed during our 7.000 km long journey in India in the fall and winter of 2005 was like a nightmare. Farmers spraying their cotton fields with four to five times more than the recommended amount – completely unprotected and not even able to read the warning-sign on the pesticide containers from the multinational companies.

In the heavy fumes of the poisonous sprays, we found that many of the products manufactured and sold to the illiterate farmers have been banned in our part of the world for many years. We are quite aware of how dangerous the chemicals are but apparently we don’t give a damn about how the millions of Indian farmers are handling the toxic gasses – similar to the weapons of mass destruction that the UN-inspectors were so eagerly trying to find in Iraq.And what about the textile workers standing in acid baths up to their waists – supplying Western designer shops, discount outlets and supermarkets with the “beautiful textiles of India”– while their bodies are melting away in the toxic fumes of chlorine, acid and chemical dyes.

But the Dalit workers (formerly known as the untouchables) do not have an alternative. They migrate from some of the poorest states in India in the chase of survival on a dollar a day.Wherever we turned the camera, untreated chemical wastewater was being released directly into the rivers and canals. 100 metres further downstream, local farmers use the same water for irrigating rice, wheat and vegetables.Globalisation may be the stepping stone for many developing countries, but do not fall into the water.

You might die from it.

Click on the image to watch the trailer




“The Micro Debt”

The EU-commissions, Lorenzo Natali Prize 2011 –  The Grand Jury Award – selected among 1.300 projects

The EU-Commissions, Lorenzo Natali Prize 2011 – Special TV Prize

Best long documentary, “The Golden Panda” 2011 – Sichuan TV Festival – China

Best Television Program, Avanca Film Festival 2011 – Portugal

Special Award at Patras International Film Festival 2011 – Greece


“The Micro Debt”

Monte Carlo TV Festival, Monaco

Globians, Germany

This Human World, Austria

DOCSDF, Mexico

Prix Europa 2011

Ekofilm, Czech Republic



“A Killer Bargain”

Prix Italia 2007, Italy Best Current Affairs
FUJ-prisen 2007, Denmark
Ekofilm, Czech Republic
The International Festival Envirofilm 2007, Slovakia
GZ Docs, China
Festival d’Environnement, France
Ibiza Intl. Film festival

The Bitter Taste Of Tea”
Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival
Special Mention, Bioversity International, Italy
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization FAO special OSIRIS-prize,
International Agro Film Festival, Slovakia.
Aljazeera special price of Freedom Award
The Timbuktu Foundation award for critical journalism, Denmark
The Association for investigative journalism (FUJ), best television production 2009, Denmark

“A Tower Of Promises”


Cavling-prisen 2008, Denmark

“A Killer Bargain”
Ecofilms, Greece
Stories from the fields, USA
Cavling-prisen 2007, Denmark
TV-Oscar, Denmark
TV-Festival, Monte Carlo (two nomination)
TV-Festival, Denmark (two nomination)
One world human rights film festival, Czech Republic
Prix-europa 2007, Germany
Festival international du film d’environnement, France
The International Festival Envirofilm 2008, Slovakia
International Festival of Environmental Film and Video 2008, Brazil

“The Bitter Taste Of Tea”
Prix-europa 2008, Germany
Roma Independent Film Festival, Italy
The International Festival Envirofilm 2008, Slovakia
International Festival of Environmental Film and Video 2008, Brazil