Danish films and professionals at the Berlinale

BERLIN. 'The Guilty' director Gustav Möller's prison drama 'Sons' starring Sidse Babett Knudsen will be celebrating the World premiere in the International Competition strand of the Berlinale. Birgitte Stærmose's 'Afterwar' is presented in the festival's Panorama program, which also includes two Danish co-productions. Here we give you an overview of the Danish presence at this year's Berlinale.

*Published January 22. Edited February 13*. There is a strong Danish presence at this year's Berlin Film Festival, also known as the Berlinale, where two Danish films will celebrate their world premieres and in addition two Danish co-productions are also featured as part of the prestigious festival that runs from February 15.-25.

"It is a great international achievement to make it into the official selection of the Berlinale, which is considered to be one of Europe's biggest festivals in regards to audience attendance. The Berlinale is an incredibly important platform: Besides the dedicated audiences, the festival also has great international press attention and the festival's European Film Market attracts film buyers from all over the world.” says Lizette Gram Mygind, Festival Consultant for feature films at The Danish Film Institute.

Sons by Gustav Möller

Eva, an idealistic prison officer, is faced with the dilemma of her life when a young man from her past is transferred to the prison where she works. Without revealing her secret, Eva asks to be moved to the young man’s ward – the toughest and most violent in the prison. Here begins an unsettling psychological thriller, where Eva’s sense of justice puts both her morality and future at stake. 'Sons' will have it's World Premiere February 22 at 22.00 in the Berlinale Palast.

'Sons' is director Gustav Möller's follow-up to his award-winning and critically acclaimed debut feature film 'The Guilty' from 2018, which won the Audience Award for International Feature Film at the Sundance Film Festival, where it had its world premiere. 'Sons' is written by Gustav Möller and Emil Nygaard Albertsen and produced by Lina Flint for Nordisk Film with funding from the Danish Film Institute. 

Afterwar by Birgitte Stærmose

Set in Kosovo, ‘Afterwar’ begins in 2008, where children sell peanuts and cigarettes in the streets of Pristina to help support their families after the war. In 2023, 15 years later, the children have become adults. They still fight for a future, for dignity, and a better life for their own children in the never-ending afterwar. ‘Afterwar’ is a group portrait made in co-creation with the cast, and moves between raw realism, staging and an existential reflection on the long aftermath of any war.

'Afterwar' is screened in the festival's Panorama program for more experimental films from around the world and is and is also nominated for the prestigious Berlinale Documentary Award, where the festival's artistic director, Carlo Chatrian, has nominated 20 documentaries from the festival's different sections to compete for the prestigious award. 'Afterwar' has its world premiere on February 19 at 16:30 in the International.

Director Birgitte Stærmose has directed the Danish feature films 'Room 304' (2011), 'Darling' (2017) and 'Camino' (2023), as well as being lead director on international TV series for HBO and Netflix - including 'Industry' (2022) and 'The English Game' (2020). 'Afterwar' is a sequel to Stærmose's own award-winning short film 'Out of Love' from 2009, which got a special mention at the Berlinale in 2010. The film is produced by Lise Lense-Møller for Magic Hour Films with funding from the Danish Film Institute. 

Two Danish co-productions in Panorama

In addition to 'Afterwar', two Danish minor co-productions have been selected for the Panorama program: Panorama's opening film is Swedish-Georgian Levan Akin's drama 'Crossing', a co-production between Sweden, Denmark, France and Turkey. In 2019, Akin directed the critically acclaimed coming of age dance drama ‘And Then We Danced’ about a gay Georgian dancer. 'Crossing' is co-produced by Danish Katja Adomeit for Adomeit Film with funding from the Danish Film Institute. 


Lizette Gram Mygind
Festivalkonsulent, spillefilm
Tlf. +45 2482 3758

The Chinese/Danish 'Brief History of a Family', directed by Jiajie Lin, is also part of the Panorama program. The film is about a middle-class Chinese family whose fate becomes intertwined with their only son's enigmatic new friend. Unspoken secrets, unfulfilled expectations and unresolved feelings suddenly comes out in the open. 'Brief History of a Family' is co-produced by Danish Rikke Tambo for Tambo Film with funding from the Danish Film Institute.

Danes in Berlin and screenings of Danish films

There are many Danish film professionals attending the Berlinale and you can find a full list here. Additionally, the festival team from the International Department will be present at the European Film Market in Gropius Bau as part of the Scandinavian Films stand, promoting Danish films and hosting festival meetings.

The Danish lineup at Berlinale 2024.

'Sons' will be screened at the following times in Berlin:

  • 21.02.2024 19:30 CinemaxX 1 - 4 (Press Screening)
  • 21.02.2024 21:45 CinemaxX 1 - 4 (Press Screening)
  • 22.02.2024 16:00 Press center HYATT (Photocall followed by Press Conference) 
  • 22.02.2024 22:00 Berlinale Palast (World Premiere)
  • 23.02.2024 09:30 Verti Music Hall 
  • 23.02.2024 13:00 HKW 1 - Miriam Makeba Auditorium 
  • 24.02.2024 19:00 Verti Music Hall 
  • 25.02.2024 21:45 Verti Music Hall 

'Afterwar' will be screened at the following times in Berlin:

  • 19.02.2024 16:30 International (World premiere) 
  • 20.02.2024 21:30 Cubix 8     
  • 21.02.2024 12:45 Cubix 5     
  • 22.02.2024 22:00 Zoo Palast 2     
  • 24.02.2024 18:45 Cubix 5

 Danish films at the European Film Market

  • Boundless / Ole Christian Madsen / Nordisk Film / World Sales: TrustNordisk
  • Eternal / Ulaa Salim / Hyæne Film / Market / World Sales: New Europe Film Sales
  • Kingmaker / Mikkel Serup / Meta Film / World Sales: ReInvent Studio
  • Oxen (EFM Market Selects) / Jannik Johansen (director) / Mai Brostrøm & Peter Thorsboe (creators) / SF Studios / World Sales: ReInvent Studio
  • Unsinkeable / Christian Andersen / Wasabi Film / Sales: Picture Tree International
  • When in Rome / Niclas Bendixen / Motor Production / World Sales: ReInvent Studio

About Berlin International Film Festival

The Berlin International Film Festival, also known as the Berlinale, is one of the most important film festivals in the world. The main award at the festival is the Golden Bear: one for best feature film, one for best short film and one as an honorary award. The other awards are Silver Bears.

With a program of over 400 films, and more than 4,000 visiting journalists and 20,000 visiting film professionals from over 130 countries, the festival is a central piece in achieving international financing and distribution.