A STORY FOR THE MODLINS (26', Spain, 2012)

Screening: Fr, 13 Dec., Elvira Popescu Cinema, 8:00pm

At the border between fiction and documentary, A STORY FOR THE MODLINS, the audience sweetheart and winner of the Grand Prix at Clermont-Ferrand 2012, tells the eccentric and touching story of Elmer Modlin. You probably never heard of him and it’s no wonder – the climax of his acting career was a few seconds as an extra in Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby. His creative life full of frustrations, amounting to a heap of photos, letters and videotapes left in the dumpster, accidentally lands in the hands of OKSMAN, who pieces them together to reconstruct his story. An impressive sample of creative repurposing of found footage, the film reveals human life as a concoction of chance, passion and hard work in unknown proportions, with questions of destiny and free-will inevitably arising.



Cast: Margaret Modlin, Elmer Modlin, Nelson Modlin

Screenplay: Carlos Muguiro, Emilo Tomé, Sergio Oksman

Cinematography: Migue Amoedo

Editing: Fernando Franco, Sergio Oksman

Sound: Carlos Bonmatí

Producer: Sergio Oksman

Production: Dok Films


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Sergio Oksman




SERGIO OKSMAN (b. 1970, Brazil) is a Madrid-based filmmaker who graduated as a director from the New York Film School, after having studied journalism at the University of São Paulo. He is currently a teacher in Madrid and head of the production company Dok Film. His 2009 short film NOTES ON THE OTHER has participated in many prestigious international film festivals, such as Clermont-Ferrand, Sundance, Karlovy Vary and IDFA, winning an impressive number of prizes. 



European Film Academy Awards Nominee 2013

IDFA International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam – Paradocs 2012

Grand Prix & Audience Award – Clermont Ferrand 2012

Best Short Documentary – Goya Awards 2013

Best Short Documentary Film – Karlovy Vary 2012

Great Prize Cidade de Vila do Conde – Curtas Vila do Conde Film Festival 2012

Best Short Film, Avant-Garde and Genre section – BAFICI 2013

Oberhausen IFF 2013

Sundance IFF 2012

Viennale 2012

Sarajevo Film Festival 2013

more than 40 awards and over 100 film festivals selections


“One day, hundreds of photographs, letters and other intimate objects turned up next to a garbage container in a narrow street in downtown Madrid. Everything belonged to the same family, the Modlins. Father, mother and son were dead. Now their story became fragmented pieces lying on the floor like a jigsaw puzzle. Some time later, just by chance, they fell into my hands, the hands of a stranger, who would piece them together just as he pleased. From the beginning we accepted that in order to piece together the material, we would have to employ some tools from fiction. Our intention was to create an idea of who the Modlins might have been.” (SERGIO OKSMAN)



“OKSMAN puts his sparse material (which includes a letter from the artist to her highly manipulated son) to effective use: the black-and-white photos, taken over a period of several years from the same spot in the Spanish apartment, tell of Margaret's neurotic artistic mood swings, her son's submissiveness and her husband's worship. The pièce de resistance is a VHS tape recorded by a visitor. She films the couple as they show her around their home, strewn with impressive works of art. These are the last images of a life of promise unfulfilled. (IDFA 2013)

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