Paprika Steen and Michael Noer presenting new films at Toronto

FESTIVAL. Paprika Steen's 'That Time of Year,' playfully satirising Danish Christmas "hygge," and Michael Noer's 'Before the Frost,' a tale of fatal choices, will be world-premiering at the Toronto Film Festival in September. The festival has also invited Thomas Vinterberg's international drama 'Kursk.'

Audience, press, industry and buyers at the Toronto Film Festival 2018 will get the chance to watch two new Danish dramas, as Paprika Steen's 'That Time of Year' and Michael Noer's 'Before the Frost' will be screening in the festival's international feature film section, Contemporary World Cinema.

The festival marks the world premiere of both films. They will be joining Janus Metz and Sine Plambech's documentary 'Heartbound,' already announced for TIFF Docs.

The illusion of Christmas 

Paprika Steen's 'That Time of Year' is a quirky ensemble dramedy about that special time of year, Christmas, and all the family drama that goes along with it.

This year at Katrine and Mads' house the family will once again be united for Christmas Eve, and on a traditional holiday like this, there must be room for everyone: the divorced parents, the youngest sister and her new husband and not least the teenage daughter of the family, struggling to get her mother's attention. Underneath the surface the explosion lurks as flammable as a dry spruce, and when the truth starts to appear, the illusion of holiday peace we so deeply insist on shatters.

Paprika Steen also plays the role of Katrine, with the cast further including Sofie Gråbøl, Lars Brygmann, Jacob Lohmann, Karen-Lise Mynster, Lars Knutzon, Bodil Lassen, Patricia Schumann, Hans Holtegaard and Fanny Leander Bornedal.

The film is written by Jakob Weis, and producer is Mikael Rieks for Nordisk Film.

Acclaimed for countless performances in Danish feature films since 1988, Steen made her debut as a feature film director with 'Aftermath' (2004), which was followed by 'With Your Permission' (2007), the latter also enjoying its world premiere in Toronto.

Internationally renowned actor Jesper Christensen plays the lead in 'Before the Frost.' Photo: Jonas Jacob Svensson

Dark period tale

Michael Noer's 'Before the Frost' is a drama set in the 1850s' Denmark about a farmer wishing for a better life and the price he pays.

Harsh circumstances reign in the countryside in the middle of the 19th century and with the prospect of yet another tough winter, the farmer Jens faces an unbearable choice. If the family is to survive the winter, he must make a deal with the rich farmer at the nearby farm and forsake his own moral and the most precious he owns, in an effort to secure them all a better life.

The film features Jesper Christensen in the lead as Jens, while the young talent Clara Rosager plays his daughter Signe. Additional actors include Magnus Krepper, Elliott Crosset Hove, Rasmus Hammerich and Ghita Nørby.

The director wrote the script in collaboration with Jesper Fink. René Ezra, Matilda Appelin and Tomas Radoor have produced for Nordisk Film.

Noer has previously directed both fiction and documentary. 'Before the Frost' marks his return to Toronto after last year's premiere of 'Papillon.' Noer's other fiction films include 'Key House Mirror' (2015), 'Northwest' (2013) and 'R' (2010).

'That Time of Year' and 'Before the Frost' have both received support from the Danish Film Institute and will open in Danish cinemas on 8 November and 10 January, respectively. International sales are handled by TrustNordisk.

More Danish films in Toronto

Thomas Vinterberg's international drama 'Kursk' will be world-premiering as a Special Presentation. Based on real events, the film tells the story of the Russian K-141 submarine Kursk which sank in 2000 after a failed torpedo launch in the Barents Sea, killing all 118 personnel on board. The film is produced by Luc Besson and Ariel Zeitoun.

Three films co-produced with Danish producers will also be showcasing at this year's festival. The Swedish Cannes winner 'Border' by Ali Abbasi, which is co-produced by Meta Film, is selected for Contemporary World Cinema. 

In the same series is the Colombian feature 'Birds of Passage' by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra, co-produced by Snowglobe, who is also co-producing 'Our Time' by Mexico's Carlos Reygadas, selected for Masters.

The Toronto Film Festival runs 6-16 September. See more on the festival website.