In the Blood and Heartstone to Toronto

TORONTO. Experienced scriptwriter Rasmus Heisterberg is making his directorial debut with "In the Blood," while Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson's first feature "Heartstone" follows a pair of prizewinning shorts. Both are selected for the Toronto Film Festival's Discovery section.

Part of a new line of films announced Tuesday for the Toronto Film Festival (8-18 September) are two feature film debuts, Rasmus Heisterberg's "In the Blood" and Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson's "Heartstone." Both films are selected for Toronto's Discovery programme, the festival's window for contemporary international cinema and a showcase for new and emerging filmmakers.  

A total of five Danish-produced films are now part of Toronto's lineup. See the full list, including co-productions, below.

In the Blood

With more than a dozen features under his belt as screenwriter, Rasmus Heisterberg is making his directorial debut with "In the Blood." Toronto marks the film's world premiere.

It's summer in Copenhagen. A time of endless days and carefree nights. Simon goes to medical school with his best friend Knud and they share an apartment with Søren and Esben, the last two friends in the group. The four boys party, drink and chase girls and wake up the next day only to do the whole thing all over again. But it is also a time of change between the friends and when everyone, except Simon, wants to sell their shared apartment, it creates a growing tension within the group. Simon is not ready to quit the happy-go-lucky days of no responsibility, while the others are steadily gravitating towards the safe haven of adulthood.

The film is written and directed by Heisterberg, who for more than a decade has teamed up with director Nikolaj Arcel as writing partner on a string of international successes. Their collaboration includes the 2009 adaptation of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," Mikkel Nørgaard's cold case thriller "The Absent One" (2014) as well as Arcel's Oscar-nominated historical drama "A Royal Affair" (2012).

The film's cast is a young team of actors led by Kristoffer Bech, Elliott Crosset Hove, Aske Bang, Mads Reuther and Victoria Carmen Sonne. Caroline Schlüter Bingestam has produced for Profile Pictures with funding support from the Danish Film Institute. LevelK is handling international sales. Danish release is set for 15 September.

Hovedstill til Gudmundur A. Gudmundssons dansk-islandske spillefilm
HEARTSTONE. A story of friendship, love and family ties is at the centre of Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson's feature debut, ready for Toronto. Photo: Roxana Reiss


Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson's feature debut "Heartstone" will be making its North American premiere in Toronto, after world premiering in Venice Film Festival's auteur strand Venice Days.

The film, developed through the Cannes Festival's Résidence Programme, is set in a remote fishing village in Iceland. Teenage boys Thor and Christian experience a turbulent summer as one tries to win the heart of a girl while the other discovers new feelings toward his best friend. When summer ends and the harsh nature of Iceland takes back its rights, it's time to leave the playground and face adulthood.

Newcomers Baldur Einarsson and Blær Hinriksson play the two friends, and the cast also includes Søren Malling, who has been hailed for his performances in the series "The Killing" and "Borgen" and films such as "The Hijacking" and "Men & Chicken."

Gudmundsson, a graduate from the Icelandic Art Academy, received a Special Mention at Cannes for his short film "Whale Valley," also nominated for a European Film Award. The director took home a string of prizes for his 2014 short film "Ártún."

"Heartstone" is written by Gudmundsson, and Jesper Morthorst and Lise Orheim Stender are producing for SF Film Production, in a close co-production setup with Anton Mani Svansson of Icelandic company Join Motion Pictures. The film is backed by the Icelandic Film Center and the Danish Film Institute. Berlin-based Films Boutique handles sales.

Danish participation at Toronto

  • "In the Blood" / Rasmus Heisterberg / Discovery
  • "Heartstone" / Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson / Discovery
  • "The War Show" / Andreas Dalsgaard, Obaidah Zytoon / TIFF Docs
  • "Amanda Knox" / Brian McGinn, Rod Blackhurst / TIFF Docs
  • "The Commune" / Thomas Vinterberg / Special Presentation

Co-production with Danish partners

  • "The Untamed" / Amat Escalante / Mexico / Vanguard
  • "The Giant" / Johannes Nyholm / Sweden / Discovery
  • "Same Blood" / Amanda Kernell / Sweden / Discovery
  • "Godless" / Ralitza Petrova / Bulgaria / Discovery
  • "Little Wing" / Selma Vilhunen / Finland / Discovery

More names

  • Director Lone Scherfig's British feature film "Their Finest" will be screening as a Gala Presentation
  • Actor Kristoffer Bech from "In the Blood" is one of 20 actors selected from the festival's international titles invited to participate in the promotional platform International Actors Programme

Toronto International Film Festival 8-18 September 2016