Jonas Kærup Hjort to debut with absurd, baroque black comedy

IN PRODUCTION. Film school graduate Jonas Kærup Hjort makes his feature debut with a baroque black comedy exploring the human condition. Supported by the New Danish Screen talent scheme, the film is developed through visual sketches – a method that has proved successful for other recent Danish talent films.

'Den Næstsidste' (translates as The Penultimate) is the title of Jonas Kærup Hjort's debut feature, an absurd black comedy about a human being's travel into darkness.

The film carries this storyline: One fatal day the Water Inspector enters a building in a desolated area. Soon, he finds himself trapped inside a dark spiral of absurd incidents.

Joen Højerslev, known from the award-winning Danish primetime show 'Ride Upon the Storm', plays the leading role. Also on the cast are Joen Bille, Anne Fletting, Malene Melsen and Stine Schrøder.  

The film is written and directed by Kærup Hjort, who graduated from the National Film School of Denmark in 2017 with the award-winning short 'In a Month' and also has a background in theatre – both as an actor and director. 

Visual sketch rather than words

'Den Næstsidste' received support from the Danish Film Institute's talent scheme New Danish Screen, which encourages upcoming filmmakers to work with visual sketches throughout pre-production to allow for further expansion of the narrative concepts than would have been possible had they only worked with written words. 

Among other things, this allowed the filmmakers behind 'Den Næstsidste' to develop important storytelling aspects and stylistic devices as well as check out locations and actors. 

The visual method of development has proved successful for other Danish talent films such as 'A Horrible Woman' and 'Cutterhead'. It has been a highly integrated part of New Danish Screen's development method since the initiative 'Skitsen' (The Sketch) launched in 2015. 'Skitsen' part two is currently in progress. Also produced under the New Danish Screen label is Sundance-winner and Oscar-shortlisted 'The Guilty'.

'Den Næstsidste' is produced by Super16 graduate Rikke Tambo for Tambo Film in co-production with Norwegian Chezville. It also received support from the West Danish Film Fund, the Norwegian Film Institute and the Norwegian media foundation Zefyr. 

About New Danish Screen

The New Danish Screen talent programme offers new generations of filmmakers the opportunity to push their limits and create innovative cinematic experiences, so that Danish film on the whole may retain its originality, diversity and dynamism.  

The pilot programme Skitsen (The Sketch) was launched in 2015 under New Danish Screen as a new way of developing feature films. The idea was to stimulate filmmakers to explore new, primarily visual development methods aimed at low-budget films.

'Cutterhead', 'A Horrible Woman', 'Christian IV', 'Lifeboat' and 'Neon Heart' all sprang from the Skitsen initiative. 

The visual study is now a standard option when applying for funding at New Danish Screen.

Other acclaimed titles under the New Danish Screen label are 'The Guilty', 'Sons of Denmark' and 'Winter Brothers'.