EDITORIAL. At the Danish Film Institute from time to time we consider introducing a reverse audience award, that is, an award to the audience. The award would go to the movie audience that has the curiosity, courage and energy to seek out challenging movie experiences. An audience of people ready to take a chance and dig deep into their pockets without knowing exactly where the film will take them: perhaps it's a film with unknown actors, from an unknown place, telling stories in other images and other voices than we are used to seeing and hearing. That audience exists and deserves to be honoured.
It’s one of the most defining moments in Danish history, a drama that has everything. Many filmmakers have dreamed of putting it on screen, but as Nikolaj Arcel found out, telling the story of mad King Christian VII, his young English wife and the German doctor Struensee is not simple. Per Juul Carlsen spoke with the director of "A Royal Affair", in competition in Berlin.
Mads Mikkelsen has shown enormous versatility in his 16 years as a screen actor. Running the gamut from Viking warrior to Enlightenment man and World War II resistance fighter, from genius composer in Paris and pusher in Copenhagen to NGO worker in Africa, even Bond villain, Mikkelsen’s face can carry it all.
PROFILE. "You’re not good looking. You have an interesting face." Stellan Skarsgård spoke these words to Mads Mikkelsen, who plays the lead in Thomas Vinterberg's Cannes competitor "The Hunt", at the 2011 European Film Awards in Berlin. We've handpicked a few films that show proof of the Danish actor's versatility.
Simon Staho asked Danish critics not to review his new film "Love Is in the Air", because he thought they were too old to get it. Now in the youth competition at Berlin, the film is a riotous teen musical bubbling over with pop and rainbow colours about four young people who journey into the night in search of their sexual identities. Kim Skotte paints a portrait of an uncompromising Danish auteur who is not so easy to pin down.
Bille August is currently putting the finishing touches on his first Danish-produced film in 25 years. And a film based on a real slice of Danish history at that. But "Marie Krøyer" is first and foremost the story of a strong woman and her ill-fated marriage to the mercurial painter P.S. Krøyer.
Three years after the phenomenal international success of Niels Arden Oplev’s "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", Danish and Nordic films are still very much on world buyers’ priority lists. The surge of distribution platforms combined with the current hype on Nordic genre films and directors like Nicolas Winding Refn, Susanne Bier and Lars von Trier have spurred a buying spree on commercially viable Nordic content, re-focusing the market on pre-sales.
Seeing a theatre full of Canadians howling with laughter at the Danish comedy "Superclásico" or a crowd of Muslim girls in Zanzibar having a wildly animated discussion about authorities after watching Niels Arden Oplev’s "We Shall Overcome" – these are some of the great moments experienced by the people who work with Danish films in the international arena.
DIALOGUE ACROSS BORDERS. Steffen Andersen Møller, Head of Audience & Promotion, likes to point out that the Danish Film Act is there to support art. In practice, however, the DFI, with its subsidy system and independent activities, operates in the intersection between art and the market, an intersection with tremendous dynamism and potential, Andersen-Møller says.
DIALOGUE ACROSS BORDERS. Brazil, Canada, South Africa, England, Tanzania and now Uganda. For years the Danish Film Institute has been behind major cultural exchange projects around the world, and Charlotte Giese has been involved in most of them. Time and again, she is blown away by the ability of cinema to foster dialogue.
DIALOGUE ACROSS BORDERS. "It’s not enough that Denmark has a strong storytelling tradition and loads of creative filmmakers," Noemi Ferrer Schwenk says. "We also have to make sure that filmmakers can always stay up to speed on what’s going on elsewhere to be among the best." DFI’s International Producer is gearing up the Danish film industry for an even more dedicated international effort in the future.
"We aim to show some of the aspects of Danish cinema that we are most proud of," Christian Juhl Lemche, project leader of the film activities during the EU presidency, says.
Mette Damgaard-Sørensen, principal of the European Film College in Ebeltoft, is visiting the Berlinale with all 115 of her students. Director of Berlin contender "A Royal Affair", Nikolaj Arcel, is among the former students at the school in Ebeltoft which builds on the Danish Folk High School tradition.
IN PRODUCTION. Annette K. Olesen won a Blue Angel in Berlin for her first feature, "Minor Mishaps", in 2002. Recently she directed several episodes of "Borgen", which has become a huge hit in the UK and several other countries. Olesen is now at work on her fifth feature "The Shooter".