The Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) presented a pre-screening of Kapringen – A Hijacking in London. The special screening to an invited audience was sponsored by the ICC International Maritime Bureau, the International Chamber of Shipping / ISF, The Nautical Institute, Videotel and INCE & CO.
The film, inspired by a real incident of piracy, follows both the crew and the company through the ordeal from capture to release. It makes for 100 minutes of harrowing viewing. In the panel discussion that followed, IMO Secretary General Mr Koji Sekimizu said that while, after seeing such a film, one normally leaves the theatre relieved to return to reality, this film is too close to home: it is our reality.
The film’s focus is the effect of piracy on its characters. Pilou Asbæk delivers a riveting performance as the ship’s cook who is left damaged by the events. Equally captivating is Søren Malling as the company negotiator. Clearly, piracy leaves all those affected devastated. Gary Skjoldmose Porter essentially plays himself: he was the company’s security adviser during the actual events that inspired the film. He brings such credibility to the role that one is drawn into the claustrophobic atmosphere of the negotiating room. Speaking after the screening he said that the filming of those scenes was done on location where the negotiations were conducted. The reenactment of the negotiations brought back difficult memories for him. The location and genial direction of Tobias Lindholm clearly paid off. The film has deservedly won awards at the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, in addition to several accolades in its native Denmark.
There are no heroes in this film. Seafarers and company bosses are ordinary people who seek only to get on with the business of everyday life. They are catapulted into extraordinary events. That they survive is in itself heroic.
It is the seafarers behind this film that should be brought to mind; those 79 still held captive, and those who, upon release, now find it tough to deal with life. It is to assist these seafarers that the MPHRP exists. The International Christian Maritime Association is a member of this cross-industry alliance. We bring to piracy response a network of welfare responders and religious support for seafarers and their families. ICMA members are eager to do more. Our members are willing to work with the industry to provide fellowship and humanitarian assistance to affected seafarers and families.
Kapringen – A Hijacking is a thought provoking film. It deserves an audience for its own sake. For us who care for seafarers, even more so.