Forthcoming Danish documentaries

NEW DOCS. There are so many new Danish documentary films coming out that it can be hard to keep track of them all. To help out, here is a pick of some of the films that have just premiered or will do so in the near future.

"Olmo & the Seagull" by Lea Glob and Petra Costa

"Olmo & the Seagull" by Lea Glob (Denmark) and Petra Costa (Brazil) is an existential journey into a woman's mind during the nine months of her pregnancy. The collaboration between the two directors began in 2012 with CPH:DOX' international talent programme DOX:LAB.

For the past 10 years Olivia has been an actress with the famous Théâtre du Soleil company, where she met her boyfriend Serge, who is also her acting partner. Part Italian diva, part punk rocker, Olivia has been used to being the centre of attention her whole life. That abruptly changes when she's 34 and finds out she's pregnant.

Translating this emotionally charged time in the couple's life into dramatic reenactments, "Olmo & the Seagull" is a hybrid film with roots in classical theatre performance.

"Olmo & the Seagull" is produced by Charlotte Pedersen for Zentropa. The film won the NORDIC:DOX award at CPH:DOX.

"Songs from the Soil" by Phie Ambo

As she was making "Good Things Await," a film about an idealistic farmer working according to biodyamic ideas that screened at IDFA, Phie Ambo was inspired to create an experimental piece, "Songs from the Soil," depicting nature's transformations over the course of a year in images and music only.

"I wanted to see how far I could take a story that exclusively works in an associative way with images and sound. I wanted to break out of my own concepts of 'real' dramaturgy and get to a more sensual, and perhaps truer, description of nature changing over time."

Ambo's "visual poem," as the director calls her film, premiered at CPH:DOX accompanied by a live performance by the renowned vocal group Theatre of Voices and will be released on DVD.

The film is produced by Malene Flindt Pedersen for Viola Film, Phie Ambo's own company.


"Sume – the Sound of a Revolution" by Inuk Silis Høegh

Director Inuk Silis Høegh and creative producer Emile Hertling Péronard have made a film about one of Greenland's most popular bands, Sume, whose songs kick-started the first big showdown with Danish colonial rule.

In the 1970s, the young, political rock band Sume gave voice to Greenlanders' longing for freedom. After the release of their first album in Greenlandic in 1973, concepts like "revolution" and "oppression" found their way into the Greenlandic language, and soon the country was engaged in its first big showdown with colonial Denmark – and with its own self-understanding.

"Sume – The Sound of a Revolution" is the first Greenlandic film about the country's modern history and the first feature-length documentary produced in Greenland. The film is produced by Anorak Film with Bullitt Film and Jabfilm as co-producers. Premiered at CPH:DOX.

"We Are Journalists" by Ahmad Jalali Farahani

Ahmad Jalali Farahani, an exiled filmmaker and newspaper editor from Iran who was persecuted and tortured by the regime, first came to Denmark to promote "Sofar," a film about Iranian underground culture.

Farahani, who later gained asylum in Denmark, is now bringing out "We Are Journalists," about the many Iranian journalists who like himself struggled to survive under the Ahmadinejad regime. The film is produced by Danish Doc Productions with support from the New Danish Screen talent scheme. Premiered at CPH:DOX.



"Afghan Justice" by Nicole N. Horanyi


"Afghan Justice" is the story of Kimberley Motley who left her husband and three children in America to work as a defense lawyer in Kabul. She is the only foreign lawyer, not to mention the only woman, who has a license to work in Afghan courts.

What was initially a financially driven personal decision has quickly developed into an obligation towards the underdeveloped Afghan legal system. But time is running out.

"Afghan Justice" is directed by Nicole N. Horanyi ("Au Pair", "The Devilles") and is produced by Helle Faber for Made in Copenhagen. The film was pitched at last year's IDFA Forum and is expected to release in 2015.


"Eskimo Diva" by Lene Stæhr

Nuka, a young gay man from Nuuk, Greenland, in 2009 found himself on the rooftop of an apartment building with the intent of committing suicide. Fortunately, he instead ventured – singlehandedly, at the age of 19 – to organise Greenland's first gay pride parade. Now, five years of gay pride later, the incidence of hate crimes and bullying in Nuuk has reportedly gone down.

Director Lene Stæhr's Eskimo Diva tracks Nuka and his friend and faithful companion Lu on tour with their shocking-pink drag show to tiny settlements across Greenland in the dead of Arctic winter.

Stæhr calls her film "an odyssey through psychedelic Greenlandic scenery, featuring death, a sexual revolution and a boy who becomes a man." Produced by Lene Børglum for Space Rocket Nation. Expected release in 2015.


"The Visit" by Michael Madsen

An alien encounter. A hypothetical visitor arrives from outer space. The authorities are immediately alerted. How to deal with this unprecedented event? How to reassure Earth's inhabitants when you have no previous experience to draw upon?

With Michael Madsen at the helm, this is the first time a film crew has gained access to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. The film is produced by Lise Lense-Møller for Magic Hour Films and will be screening at Sundance Film Festival in January.


"Misfits" by Jannik Splidsboel

"The characters in my film have the courage to be themselves in the face of massive resistance, and that's the feeling I want the audience to take away," says director Jannik Splidsboel about "Misfits," his coming-of-age documentary about three American teenagers from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the consequences of coming out as a young LGBT person in the Bible Belt.

Splidsboel's previous films include the internationally acclaimed "How Are You," about the artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset, which was selected for the 2011 Berlinale. "Misfits" is produced by Sara Stockmann for Sonntag Pictures. Expected release in 2015.


"Jacob Holdt" by Niels-Ole Rasmussen

Jacob Holdt ("American Pictures"), a well-known Danish photographer, lecturer, vagabond and preacher's son, in 2015 will be the subject of a film by Niels-Ole Rasmussen. Entitled "Jacob Holdt," the film looks in on its title character as he writes a book about his life, which forces him to confront the days when he hitchhiked America's highways. Produced by Copenhagen Film & TV. Expected release in 2015.


"The Allins" by Sami Saif

The late American, extreme punk-rock musician GG Allin is best remembered for his notorious live performances which featured transgressive acts like self-mutilation, eating his own feces and attacking the audience. Allin died of a heroin overdose in 1993.

In director Sami Saif's ("Family") upcoming film "The Allins," we meet Allin's two remaining family members, his mother Arleta and his brother Merle who is still active in Allin's backing band The Murder Junkies. The film explores our need to feed our own version of the past to overcome the present and the future. Signe Leick Jensen and Stine Boe Jensen are producing for Toolbox Film. Expected release in 2015.


"The Natural Disorder" by Christian Sønderby Jepsen

What does it mean to live with cerebral palsy? How does society in general regard people with brain damage? These questions are explored in "The Natural Disorder," a new project merging documentary filmmaking and scientific research by director Christian Sønderby Jepsen and philosopher and neuroscientist Dr Kristian Moltke Martiny, PhD.

The main character in the film is journalist and comedian Jacob Nossell ("The Red Chapel") who has cerebral palsy. Following Nossell in his everyday life and capturing people's reactions to his condition, the film asks the painful, heartrending question that has been haunting him all his life: Do I have the right to live?

"The Natural Disorder" is produced by Malene Flindt Pedersen, Sidsel Lønvig Siersted and Katrine Salhstrøm for Moving Documentary. Expected premiere in 2015.