Dempsey Pillot

OCT. 14. 2021.

Image Credit: Getty Images


Andreas Koefoed’s The Lost Leonardo is currently out on VOD. While you can check out our review HERE, our very own Dempsey Pillot was fortunate enough to sit down with Koefoed and pick his brain about the film.


You can read the full transcribed interview below:

DEMPSEY PILLOT: So the film had previously released at Tribeca Film Festival, but now it is. It's getting a wider release. So is any do you have a different kind of anxiety this time around because you have so many more eyes on it?

ANDREAS KOEFOED: Yeah, I'm very excited about it. I think it's a fantastic opportunity for me to show the film in the theaters in the US. I've never tried that before. I've done quite a few documentaries, and some of them have been released around the world in cinemas, but [to have it released here] is a fantastic opportunity. And I hope that the audience will come and see it. I'm curious to see what kind of people will be attracted by it and what their reactions will be. [Since] we showed the film at Tribeca we have kind of upgraded it a bit. The sound design and the music [are] much better now, and we also changed some smaller things in the editing.


DP: When people saw it at Tribeca, what was the reaction? I'm very curious to see what people are going to talk about or point out when it hits the mainstream. Did anybody come up to you saying, ‘Oh, that's definitely a Leonardo,” or ‘No way. That's not a Leonardo’?

AK: I mean, that was one of the things that I wanted to achieve, or that we wanted to achieve. To make people make up their own minds about the painting and become the detective in the story in a way. And that really happened. [After Tribeca] we got a lot of reactions from young people. I remember at the screening, I was sitting next to two young friends who were laughing. Yeah. At least in some of the scenes. So I was really happy to see that. It's not at all a nerdy art documentary. It's something that speaks to all of us because it's about this treasure - or possible treasure - that is being discovered. And then it takes you on this incredible journey. As it reaches a wider audience, I hope that will continue.

DP: One thing I found interesting is that you've made a film about the people who trade art and, you know, the people who deal in the black market. They are making millions of dollars. As a filmmaker, though, you're making a fraction of that. I know that money isn’t everything, and that there’s something deeper in it for you. What does it mean to you to  tell this kind of story about the rich that not a lot of people, or some people kind of understand is out there, but not a lot of people get to see firsthand? Does that make sense?

AK: Yeah, of course. What [attracted] me to the story was both the good and the bad of human beings. Basically, it shows our longing towards something that is authentic, something that is ancient:  a treasure. And it also shows our ability or tendency to become greedy if we have the opportunity to to reach out for the treasure. So I think in that way, it's not just a portrait of extremely wealthy people and their cynicism, but [a reflection of] something that lies in all of us. The people you see in the film, they are just fortunate that they had the opportunity to be in that position. But I think it could happen to most of us. I like that the film shows the mechanisms of the world and how capitalism rules so much that the truth disappears.


DP: Very well said. Now, when I first saw the movie, I was like,’This has to be a Leonardo da Vinci painting.’ I don't care what any of the critics or any of the experts say. Come on, the similarities are there, the aesthetic is there. But now, after having some time to sit on it, I think it's possible that maybe he had a mentor that not too many people knew about because there are some amateurish components to it as well. And, as it’s pointed out in the film, there was that one restoration artist who helped “rebuild” it quite a bit. So [now] I don't know. I'm kind of on the fence. What’s your position? Has your opinion wavered?

AK: No. I have decided not to share my opinions because I think it's not fair. I'm not an ad scholar or an expert and I've really wanted just to put out the information that I got from talking to all the crucial people. So I'm not really willing to share my view, but I understand why there are pros and cons. I understand both sides. But I also think there's something absurd about us being here discussing whether this man, or this man, touched this piece of wood five hundred years ago. I think that's kind of funny, and I understand why it's really difficult to say which one it was.

DP: Andreas, what's next for you? What can we expect from you?

AK: I have a few smaller film projects that I put aside for the past year that I have to complete. Then when I’m ready, I’ll move on to something new. I don't know exactly what it's going to be, but for the next year or so, I'm fully obliged to finish my other projects. And they are not anything like this. They are completely different. One is a film about Jazz.

DP: That sounds excellent. I'm a jazz fanatic, so  I'm looking forward to it. And maybe when that film comes out, I can talk to you about it, too. Who knows?

AK: More or less, yes. Because I know that we tried many different experiments in editing, moving some things around. We could have edited the movie for [another] two years if they let us, and just kept messing with it. Because the thing that would never change is that central relationship and the feeling of losing someone and trying to both move forward and rebuild the past. I think that would come through no matter how you put the movie together.

DP: Now, you also mentioned how great it was to work with Olivia and Jack, and they’re incredible. You know, it didn’t really strike me until after the film was over that there’s really only like four characters in the movie, but because we spend so much time with them it doesn’t really matter. I love both of them. I think everything they’re in is brilliant - and this film is included in that. So, do you have any fun stories you’d like to share or any great experiences you had with them while they were on set?

AK: I hope so. I hope so. Stay in touch.


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