Nine Danish films selected for the largest film festival in the Nordic region

GÖTEBORG. There is a strong Danish presence at this year's Göteborg Film Festival, where 'Eternal’', 'Kalak', 'The Promised Land' and ‘As the Tide Comes In’ are in competition, while 'Birthday Girl', 'Before It Ends’, 'Rome', ‘The Quiet Migration’ and 'Nightwatch – Demons are forever' are also screened at the festival.

The largest film festival in the Nordics, Göteborg Film Festival, takes place from January 26 to February 4 and, as usual, has many Danish films on the program both in and out of competition. Ulaa Salim's science fiction love drama 'Eternal' is selected for the festival's competition for Nordic feature films along with Isabella Eklöf's San Sebastián winner 'Kalak' and Nikolaj Arcel's Oscar-shortlisted 'The Promised Land'. Juan Palacios' and Sofie Husum Johannesens' IDFA selected climate crisis documentary ‘As the Tide Comes In’ will compete in the Best Nordic Documentary competition. 


The largest film festival in the Nordic region in terms of audience numbers. The festival screens international films, but has a special focus on Nordic films, which is why it is considered an important international window for new Nordic talent. Last year, Lea Glob's 'Apolonia, Apolonia' won Best Nordic Documentary, while Malou Reyman's 'Uruly' won for Best Nordic Film and a cash prize of SEK 400,000.

Michael Noer’s thriller drama ‘Birthday Girl’, Anders Walter’s WWII drama 'Before It Ends’ and Niclas Bendixen’s romantic comedy drama ‘Rome will be screened in the Gala section of the festival. Ole Bornedal’s horror film 'Nightwatch – Demons are forever' will be screened in the Midnight Mania genre programme and Malene Choi’s Berlinale award winning drama ‘The Quiet Migration’ is screened in the Nordic Light programme of the festival. In addition, acclaimed Danish actress Sidse Babett Knudsen will receive the festival's Nordic Honorary Dragon Award, which has previously gone to prominent Nordic filmmakers such as Rebecca Ferguson, Ruben Östlund and Mads Mikkelsen.

Films in competition

'Eternal' is directed and written by Ulaa Salim, who made his feature film debut in 2019 with 'Sons of Denmark', which screened at both the Rotterdam and Göteborg Film Festivals as well as a number of other prominent film festivals. The cast includes Simon Sears, Nanna Øland Fabricius aka Oh Land, Viktor Hjelmsø, Anna Søgaard Frandsen and Magnus Krepper among others. Daniel Mühlendorph produced for Hyæne Film and co-produced by Netop Films with support from the Danish Film Institute. 

'Kalak', an adaptation of Kim Leine's autobiographical novel, is directed by Isabella Eklöf, who made her breakthrough in 2018 with the critically acclaimed debut film 'Holiday'. Isabella Eklöf co-wrote the screenplay with Sissel Dalsgaard Thomsen and Kim Leine, and Maria Møller Kjeldgaard produced for Manna Film with support from the Danish Film Institute. 'Kalak' won two awards at the San Sebastián Film Festival last year. 

'The Promised Land' has been selected for several prominent festivals, including Venice, Telluride and Toronto, and in December 2023, the film won three awards at the European Film Awards and was Oscar-shortlisted in the International Feature Film category. The film is based on Ida Jessen's novel 'The Captain and Ann Barbara', and director Nikolaj Arcel co-wrote the screenplay with Anders Thomas Jensen. Louise Vesth produced the film for Zentropa with support from the Danish Film Institute. 

The documentary ‘As the Tide Comes In’ had its world premiere in IDFA's main competition and follows the 27 residents of the small Danish island of Mandø, who are fighting an existential battle with rising sea levels as a result of the climate crisis. And now a powerful storm has set course for the island. The film is directed by Juan Palacios, co-directed by Sofie Husum Johannesen and produced by Kasper Lykke Schultz for Elk Film with support from the Danish Film Institute.

Films out of competition

'Birthday Girl' takes place over three days on a cruise ship where Nanna has invited her daughter Cille to celebrate her 18th birthday. But on the first night, the trip turns into a nightmare. Starring Trine Dyrholm and Floria Ofelia Hoffmann Lindahl, 'Birthday Girl' is directed by Michael Noer, written by Michael Noer and Jesper Fink, and produced by Matilda Appelin and René Ezra for Nordisk Film with support from the Danish Film Institute. 

'Rome' by director Niclas Bendixen will have its world premiere as the closing film in the Gala programme of the festival and tells the story of Gerda and Kristoffer, who have taken an extended weekend trip to Rome to celebrate their wedding anniversary and a long marriage. However, the trip does not go quite as expected when they meet Gerda's charismatic art teacher and former flame, Johannes. 'Rome' is written by Kristian Halken, Christian Torpe and Niclas Bendixen, produced by Jesper Morthorst and Andreas Hjortdal for Motor Productions with support from the Danish Film Institute. 

In ‘Before It Ends’, a headmaster family is faced with an impossible dilemma when the school is transformed into an internment camp for German refugees arriving in Denmark just before and after liberation in the spring of 1945. Written and directed by Anders Walter, who won an Oscar for Best Short Film in 2014 for 'Helium' and made his feature film debut with the fairytale 'I Kill Giants' in 2017, the film is produced by Miriam Nørgaard, Mette Høst Hansen and Tomas Radoor for Nordisk Film with support from the Danish Film Institute. ‘Before It Ends’ premiered in Denmark in August 2023 and was the second highest selling Danish film of 2023. 

'Nightwatch – Demons are forever' is director Ole Bornedal's sequel to his 1994 horror hit 'Nightwatch’. In the movie, Emma, the daughter of Martin and Kalinka, is now like her father a night watchman at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Copenhagen. Here she comes face to face with Inspector Wörmer who tried to murder her parents 30 years earlier. 'Nightwatch – Demons are forever'’ is written and directed by Ole Bornedal, produced by Thomas Heinesen for Nordisk Film and stars Fanny Leander Bornedal and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. 

Malene Choi's feature debut ‘The Quiet Migration’ received the International Critics' Award in the Berlin Film Festival's Panorama program in 2023, where it had its world premiere, and was met with great reviews at its Danish theatrical release in April. Malene Choi co-wrote the screenplay with Sissel Dalsgaard Thomsen, who produced for Manna Film with support from the Danish Film Institute. 

Sidse Babett Knudsen receives this year's Nordic Honorary Dragon Award 


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

Danish actress Sidse Babett Knudsen (b. 1968) has starred in many prominent Danish films the last 30 years, such as 'Let's Get Lost', ‘The One and Only’, ‘After the wedding’ and the series 'Borgen' as well as in several international productions such as 'The Duke of Burgundy' and the HBO series 'Westworld'. This year she receives the Göteborg Film Festival's Nordic Honorary Dragon Award - with screenings of 'After the wedding’ and 'Wildland' - with the following motivation from the festival:

“Sidse Babett Knudsen has revolutionized Danish comedy and formulated her own point of reference in the international political debate. She has demonstrated her stylishness and artistic and linguistic versatility in films and series such as’ After the Wedding’, ‘Club Zero’, ‘Westworld’, ‘The Duke of Burgundy’ and ’150 Milligrams’. But the centerpiece of her oeuvre is still ‘Borgen’, where she has almost defined what acting is in modern Nordic TV drama.”