Kasper Dissing: "I want to make films that spark debate"

INTERVIEW. 'Another Round’ producer Kasper Dissing has an ambition to make films that challenge audiences’ opinions and trigger discussion. At next week’s Producers on the Move, he’s bringing two projects that aim to do just that.

It has barely been two weeks since Kasper Dissing returned from Los Angeles, where the producer’s first feature, 'Another Round’, directed by Thomas Vinterberg, won an Oscar for best international film.

Meanwhile, Dissing is already busy with his next projects, which he will be presenting at the annual industry event Producers on the Move, running from 17 to 21 May in a virtual edition.

The series tries turning our life upside down and taking everything away from us. It’s a family saga that asks whether it’s possible to save yourself when you suddenly lose everything.

- Kasper Dissing on Thomas Vinterberg's series 'Families Like Ours'

"The comedown has been pretty hard after a couple of weeks up in the clouds. But for me, it’s about getting back to the projects I’m working on," says Dissing, who looks forward to meeting his 19 European producer colleagues.

"It's always interesting to hear what challenges producers from other countries are dealing with. Plus, the programme is an occasion to meet with industry decision-makers. I especially look forward to talking with programmers from the big festivals and get some insight into their selection process that will hopefully benefit my future projects."

Finding the human in the inhuman

The 33-year-old producer is bringing two new projects to present to his international colleagues. One is 'Shorta' director Frederik Louis Hviid’s next feature, 'The Quiet Ones', written by Anders Frithiof August.

Back in their days at Copenhagen's Super16 film school, Dissing worked with Hviid on their graduation film 'Halfman', which made it all the way to winning an award at Cannes.

Now, the duo is taking on the heist genre in a film inspired by Denmark’s biggest robbery ever, which was pulled off in 2008. Their ambition is to get behind the facade of the robbers and shine a light on their humanity.

“We want to show a side of the criminal world that can be hard for audiences to wrap their heads around,” Dissing says.

Upcoming projects

'The Quiet Ones’, directed by Frederik Louis Hviid, is in development at Zentropa. Kasper Dissing is producing the film, which is inspired by a notorious 2008 robbery in Denmark. The screenplay is by Anders Frithiof August.

'Families Like Ours' is Thomas Vinterberg’s first TV series, produced by Kasper Dissing and Sisse Graum Jørgensen for Zentropa in partnership with TV 2 and with funding from the Public Service Fund. Bo Hr. Hansen and Vinterberg are co-writing, and principal photography is expected to kick off at the end of the year.

"The film doesn’t glorify crime, but strives to portray a segment of society that we don’t see a lot of in our daily lives. It’s a film about the ambition to be the best in your business and spending years preparing, as we also know it from the film industry. But of course, this is about a robbery. We aspire to find the human in the inhuman."

Dissing wants to make films that are capable of moving from the arts and culture pages to the opinion pages. He pursues projects that give audiences a window into underexposed social issues or milieus and trigger discussion.

“I don’t think films should preach. I want to make films that spark debate, allowing audiences to make up their own minds about issues they may not have thought about before," he says.

Turning our life upside down

Sparking debate is also a feature of his upcoming project, Thomas Vinterberg’s first TV series, 'Families Like Ours', which Dissing is producing with his 'Another Round' partner Sisse Graum Jørgensen, and which Vinterberg is writing with Bo Hr. Hansen.

The series is set in the near future. When Denmark has to be evacuated because of the effects of climate change, the social safety net is pulled out from under the Danes.

"The series tries turning our life upside down and taking everything away from us," Dissing says. "It’s a family saga that asks whether it’s possible to save yourself when you suddenly lose everything."

The producer looks forward to discussing his projects with his international colleagues and maybe even bringing on a partner. "Programmes like Producers on the Move give you important exposure in cross-border partnerships," he says.

"When I was a trainee at Zentropa and later attended Super16, I was thrown into challenging situations alongside my peers. Those communities are still with me. I may not be working with everyone, but we still share experiences and ideas. I hope to find another community at Producers on the Move, even if there will be no physical interaction this time."

About Producers on the Move

Producers on the Move, a networking platform organised by European Film Promotion (EFP), presents twenty handpicked European producers, usually during the Cannes Festival, which in 2021 has changed dates due to corona.

The initiative aims at connecting the producers with potential co-production partners and strengthening their industry networks. They take part in project pitching, meetings, case studies and social events and benefit from an extensive press campaign.

Main criteria for qualifying are international experience in co-producing and theatrical releases outside of the producer's home country.

Danish film has been present at Producers on the Move since 2000. The most recent producers include Signe Leick Jensen, Mikael Rieks, Eva Jakobsen, Katja Adomeit, Mikkel Jersin, Ditte Milsted, Nina Bisgaard and, in 2020, 'Flee' producer Monica Hellström. 

Producers on the Move is supported by EU's media programme Creative Europe, which also hosts Shooting Stars every year at the Berlinale.