Greenland films to be digitised

DIGITISATION. A new grant will enable even more historical films about Greenland and Arctic region to be digitised – films with the potential to broaden our perspective on climate changes and geopolitics.


The Danish Film Institute, in partnership with the Danish Arctic Institute and Greenland’s National Archive, will soon be digitising even more historical films about Greenland and the Arctic region, and making them available across Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

The work is made possible through a EUR 308,000 grant from the Ministry of Culture.

"The effort will realise a long-sought partnership between our three institutions. These films are interesting in a European and a global context as well, not least in light of climate change and geopolitics. Moreover, the project has great potential to offer Greenland access to, and greater ownership of, its cultural heritage," says DFI curator Thomas C. Christensen.

Watch films from Greenland

A number of the new films will be available on the Danish Film Institute's streaming site Denmark on Film, which already streams an array of historical films from Greenland:

Subject-wise, the collections include films about nature and culture, older films with an anthropological bent and more recent social-realistic depictions. Among them are films of landscapes and cultures that have vanished or changed over the years, notably as a result of global warming. There are documentaries, tourism and public-education films, as well as private footage, from the early 1930s to the 1970s, communicating information about Greenland’s road to self-government and Greenlandic business.

The films in the collections are considered to be of invaluable significance, especially to the people of Greenland. After they have been digitised, Greenlandic-language versions of the films will be distributed in Greenland. Digitisation will enable the participating institutions to activate the film heritage, and contextualise and disseminate the content in new ways. Digitisation will begin in early autumn, and the first films will be available shortly thereafter.

Summer in Greenland, including whales, polar bears and dog sledding. Presumably from the fifth Thule expedition, 1921 (7 minutes).

Current focus on Greenland and the Faroe Islands 

The Danish government recently established a 2019 fund dedicated to documentaries about Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

The fund, Norddok, will run in 2019 and benefit films and TV productions disseminating stories from Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Denmark, to promote and strengthen the community among the three nations in what is known as the Unity of the Realm (Rigsfællesskabet).

The fund has a one-time allotment of DKK 10m (EUR 1.34m), which must be spent in 2019.

A five-member editorial board, including two members each from Greenland and the Faroe Islands and one from Denmark, will assess the submitted applications:

Kuupik Kleist and Peter Olsen, Greenland; Tina Wagner Sørensen and Jóhan Martin Christiansen, the Faroe Islands; and Anita Reher, Denmark.