The strong artistic results shown by Danish films in recent years have been inspired by partnerships with artists and production environments in other countries. Acknowledging that, the Danish Film Institute is now establishing a unit to strengthen, coordinate and focus these efforts.
The Danish film industry is already involved in a number of coproduction contexts. Also, via its festival activities and other efforts, the Danish Film Institute supports the ambitions of Danish filmmakers to reach international audiences. A third target area is cultural outreach and exchange. A current example of that is the Youth & Film Uganda project of mobile cinemas, film festivals, and film-production training. Read more
Three target areas
These three target areas will be found in DFI's future international strategy. A strategy aiming at strengthening the coordination between the three tracks: DFI's new international office with the main task of consulting in international development, financing and coproduction; support for festival activities with, among other things, an eye to exports and sales; and finally DFI's efforts in general concerning cultural outreach and exchange. In all, the gathering of knowledge and the stronger coordination will boost DFI's international efforts.
The new Danish Film Policy Accord moreover provides a very open framework for Danish film engagement abroad.
"The last Film Accord set a cap on the number of films we could enter into as a coproduction partner," says Claus Ladegaard, Head of DFI's Production and Development unit. "The new Accord gives us more opportunities and more funding. We can now support non-Danish-language films as well as Danish films, which will give us a much greater international orientation and put even more wind in the sails of Danish films."
One of the outcomes of this widened international focus is a new audiovisual coproduction agreement between Australia and Denmark, launched at the Cannes Festival.
In November a small delegation from the Danish Film Institute went to Australia for the negotiations. The purpose of the visit was to form relationships, get a handle on each other's subsidy schemes and create a framework for what will hopefully be a mutually fruitful partnership in potentially all areas of audiovisual content: Film, television and games. Traditionally coproduction agreements are mainly targeted at film production, but this one will broaden the perspective to all kinds of audiovisual works.
But, why is it even necessary to make a bilateral coproduction agreement of this kind?
"We do it to strengthen our relationship," Marianne Moritzen, the DFI Head of Unit for Feature Film, says. "We are, after all, inviting another country to come in and take advantage of the Danish subsidy system. Historically, we have been very cautious about doing that. We are a small country with limited subsidy funds that we have sought to protect. Accordingly, we have been reluctant in committing to mutual agreements."
"What's so good about our partnership with Australia, and this agreement, is that their motives, like ours, are not primarily financial. We have a mutual interest in creating high quality audiovisual content. The agreement will give us a better framework for merging our talented film professionals and knowhow. But then again, Australia as well as Denmark has put a strong political and economical priority to the audiovisual field. So, all in all, it's an agreement that should please and inspire both parties greatly."
The DFI expects that the agreement will be formally aproved after the European summer break.
The article is an abbreviated version of the original published in DFI's Cannes magazine, FILM#72.