Martin Zandvliet's "Land of Mine" is screening at the Sundance Film Festival in Spotlight, a showcase of feature favourites from the past year. The festival, which takes place 21-31 January and spreads out across Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance in Utah, marks the US premiere for Zandvliet's historical drama.
In the days following the surrender of Nazi Germany in May 1945, German POWs in Denmark were forced to remove millions of their own landmines from the west coast of Denmark. Martin Zandvliet uses this historical footnote as the entry to a story of a group of young German POWs who are dropped off by the seaside and greeted by the Danish Sergeant Rasmussen. Intent on punishing them for Germany's brutal five-year occupation of his country, he marches the squad out onto the dunes each day to prod for mines. This seemingly endless task soon starts to look like a bloodletting, and Rasmussen grows conflicted in his feelings toward the young boys.
Read interview with Martin Zandvliet: The Untold Story
World premiering at the Toronto Film Festival in September, "Land of Mine" has kept a busy dance card since then, meeting up with festival audiences in Hamburg, London, Rome, Sao Paulo, Tokyo, Lübeck, Thessaloniki, Tallinn, Goa, Gijon and Dubai. Roland Møller, who plays the bullish sergeant, and Louis Hofmann, one of the boys in the German squad, shared a Best Actor award at the Tokyo festival, while the film was awarded an Audience award in Gijon.
Martin Zandvliet "did to sand what Steven Spielberg did to water!" said Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post at the film's Toronto premiere.
Read more about the warm press reactions in our roundup.
"Land of Mine" is Zandvliet's third feature, after 2009's "Applause" and 2011's "A Funny Man," and is produced by Mikael Rieks for Nordisk Film and co-produced with Germany's Amusement Park Films. Munich-based K5 Media Group is handling international sales, reporting that the film has sold for distribution in a large number of countries including Italy, Spain, France, the Benelux, Turkey, the Middle East, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and North America.
Revised version of update first published in December 2015.