When Denmark and France entered their first official film agreement in 1975, the purpose was clear: to make it easier for the two countries to co-produce films, as collaboration would benefit the films' artistic and technical quality and help enrich the film cultures in both countries.
Over the years, the joint effort between Denmark and France has left its imprint. From a Danish perspective, significant French funding has been provided to prominent directors like Thomas Vinterberg and Lars von Trier – most recently to Trier's 'The House That Jack Built' premiering at this year's Cannes Festival.
Also, younger talents have benefited from the close relationship. 'The Suicide Tourist,' an upcoming feature by Jonas Alexander Arnby, is co-produced with French partners, as is Afghan-born Shahrbanoo Sadat's debut feature 'Wolf and Sheep' which won the Directors' Fortnight prize at the Cannes Festival in 2016. Finally, the Danish company Nørlum has established close ties with the French animation industry as co-producers of the 2015 French-Danish animation feature 'Longway North.'
Paving the way for more co-productions
The 1975 agreement is now being brought up to date with a more flexible set of requirements for obtaining the status of co-production. This means that the co-producer's minimum contribution to the film's total budget is reduced to 20% (and 10% in special cases), rather than the previous 25%. With this reduction, the two countries hope that more films may rank as official co-productions and achieve the benefits that go with it.
A status of official co-production paves the way for more companies to invest in Danish-French projects as it enables them to seek funding through important European film bodies such as Eurimages. Also, it creates an added awareness of the competencies of a small nation such as Denmark in the field of co-producing, hopefully opening even more doors to international collaborations.
The agreement was signed Wednesday, 29 August, by the Danish and French Ministers for Culture, Mette Bock and Françoise Nyssen, during President Emmanuel Macron's state visit to Denmark 28-29 August.