The Great Bear to Berlin

FESTIVAL. A 1000-year-old bear is the towering eye-catcher in Esben Toft Jacobsen's animated feature "The Great Bear" which is selected for Berlinale's Generation Kplus. This makes for the third Danish film in competition at this year's festival.

Jonathan and his sister Sophie are staying with their granddad who lives on the edge of a dense forest. Jonathan, who usually spends these vacations alone with his granddad, tries hard to avoid his kid sister. When he finally succeeds in getting rid of her, it is in a way he would never have imagined: Sophie is taken by a giant, mythical bear residing in the forest for more than 1000 years.

"I was looking for a magical dimension that lies within nature"

Nordic fairy tale

The Nordic landscape plays a central role in Esben Toft Jacobsen's animated feature debut "The Great Bear", selected for the Generation Kplus competition at the Berlin Film Festival.

"I'm very excited," says the director who was in Berlin in 2007 with his graduation film "Having a Brother" for which he received a Special Mention. "For me the Berlin festival is one of the best – if not the best – competition venues for children's films. I've always admired their strong hand in selecting films for kids that are both entertaining and have a lot of depth," says Esben Toft Jacobsen who has been working on "The Great Bear" for the last four years.

"I wanted to create a Nordic fairy tale, and to me the bear figure embodies something which is very true to that. Something appealing and scary and epic at the same time. I was looking for a magical dimension that lies within nature, in the rocks, forests and animals, and wanted to make this power felt as something tangible and living."

The film is co-scripted by the director and Jannik Tai Mosholt, and Petter Lindblad has produced for Copenhagen Bombay. The film is supported by the Danish Film Institute through the film commissioner scheme.

Two films in Generation 14plus

Also in competition in Berlin – in Generation 14plus – are Rune Schjøtt's "Skyscraper" and Heidi Maria Faisst's "Rebounce". The festival has not yet announced their entire programme.

"The Great Bear" is released domestically on 10 February. International sales are handled by Copenhagen Bombay Sales.

Berlin International Film Festival 10-20 February