When the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, rolls out the red carpet for its next edition in January, two Danish films, both feature debuts, will be part of the lineup.
Announcing its feature film programme on Wednesday, Sundance has selected Gustav Möller's 'The Guilty' and Isabella Eklöf's 'Holiday' to take part in the festival, running 18-28 January, in the competition for emerging talents from around the world, the World Cinema Dramatic Competition.
A total of twelve titles are in the lineup. For the first time since the competition was launched in 2005, two Danish titles are taking part at the same time. Sundance marks the world premiere for both films.
The Sundance Film Festival launched its first edition in 1985 and is based on founder Robert Redford's ambition to promote groundbreaking cinematic narratives. The festival is considered to be one of the most important platforms for European art cinema in North America.
In 'The Guilty' we follow alarm dispatcher and former police officer Asger Holm who answers an emergency call from a kidnapped woman. When the call is suddenly disconnected, the search for the woman and her kidnapper begins. With the phone as his only tool, Asger enters a race against time to save the endangered woman. But soon he realises that he is dealing with a crime that is far bigger than he first thought.
Experienced actor Jakob Cedergren, whose films include 'Terribly Happy' and 'Submarino,' plays the key role as Asger Holm. The film unfolds as a crime thriller taking place in real time in one location, a local emergency call center.
Gustav Möller wrote the script with Emil Nygaard Albertsen, and the film is produced by Lina Flint for Spring, which is Nordisk Film's talent development unit.
Director, scriptwriter and producer all three graduated from the National Film School of Denmark in 2015 – alongside cinematographer Jasper J. Spanning and editor Carla Luffe, both also part of the creative team behind 'The Guilty.'
'The Guilty' is produced with support from the Danish Film Institute's talent scheme New Danish Screen. Trustnordisk handles international sales. National release is set for 14 June.
Isabella Eklöf's 'Holiday' is a love triangle featuring the trophy girlfriend of a petty drug lord, caught up in a web of luxury and violence – a modern dark gangster tale set in the beautiful port city of Bodrum on the Turkish riviera.
Actress Victoria Carmen Sonne in the role of main character Sascha has a wide range of feature films under her belt, including Rasmus Heisterberg's 'In the Blood' and Hlynur Pálmason's 'Winter Brothers.' The other key roles are played by Lai Yde and Dutch actor Thijs Römer.
Isabella Eklöf wrote the script with Johanne Algren. The film is produced by Apparatus by David B. Sørensen, a 2010 graduate from the alternative Copenhagen film school Super16. Cinematographer Nadim Carlsen graduated from the National Film School of Denmark the same year as Eklöf, in 2011. Editor Olivia Neergaard-Holm graduated from the Film School in 2013.
'Holiday' is made with support from the Danish Film Institute. A domestic release is not set at this time.
More about Sundance and Danish films
The Sundance Film Festival will be making more lineup announcements over the following weeks. See more at sundance.org.
Danish films have previously won two awards in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, which ran for the first time in 2005. That year, Susanne Bier received the audience award for 'Brothers.' Most recently, in 2012, Mads Matthiesen won the best directing award with 'Teddy Bear.'
In 2016, Martin Zandvliet's Oscar-nominated 'Land of Mine' was invited to the non-competitive Spotlight programme. At Sundance's latest edition in January, Feras Fayyad's 'Last Men in Aleppo' won the top award in the World Cinema Documentary Competition.