Two Danish documentary films selected for Sundance

SUNDANCE. 'Flee' by Jonas Poher Rasmussen and 'President' by Camilla Nielsson have been selected for the international documentary programme at Sundance Film Festival, and Denmark's Snowglobe is co-producing the feature film 'Human Factors', also in competition. The films will screen online and at selected venues across the US from 28 January through 3 February.

The Sundance Film Festival announced Tuesday the programme for its upcoming 2021 edition, to be held as a hybrid event from 28 January. Films will be playing online as well as on screens and drive-ins across the US.

Among the selected films are 'Flee' by Jonas Poher Rasmussen and 'President' by Camilla Nielsson, both produced by Final Cut for Real. The films will be enjoying their world premiere in the World Cinema Documentary Competition, as two out of ten films in the line-up, with 'Flee' as the section's opening film.

The German-Italian-Danish feature film 'Human Factors' by Ronny Trocker, selected for the international feature film competition, is co-produced by Denmark's Snowglobe with support from the Danish Film Institute. 

Flee by Jonas Poher Rasmussen

'Flee' received the prestigious Cannes label in June as part of the would-be-programme for the cancelled festival. Now, the film is ready for its first screening as part of the Sundance lineup. 

'Flee' is an animated documentary telling the true story about a man’s need to confront his past in order to truly have a future. Amin arrived as an unaccompanied minor in Denmark from Afghanistan. Today, at 36, he is a successful academic and is getting married to his long-time boyfriend. A secret he has been hiding for over 20 years threatens to ruin the life he has built for himself. For the first time he is sharing his story with his close friend.

Director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, a 2010 graduate from the alternative Danish film school Super16, made his feature film debut with 'Searching for Bill' (2012), a mix of documentary and fiction, which won him the Nordic Dox Award at CPH:DOX and the title as best international film at DocAviv. He also directed the documentary ‘What He Did’ (2015), which took home the film critics' Fipresci award at Thessaloniki Film Festival.

'Flee' is produced by Monica Hellström and Signe Byrge Sørensen for Final Cut for Real and co-produced by Charlotte de La Gournerie of Sun Creature (Denmark), Vivement Lundi ! (France), Most Film (Sweden) and Mer Film (Norway), in collaboration with broadcasters ARTE France and VPRO in Holland.

Backers include the Danish Film Institute, the Swedish Film Institute, the Norwegian Film Institute, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Copenhagen Film Fund, West Danish Film Fund and the Creative Europe Programme. Cinephil is handling world sales.

Camilla Nielsson's 'President'. Photo: Final Cut for Real

President by Camilla Nielsson

More than six years after the premiere of 'Democrats', awardwinner at Tribeca Film Festival, CPH:DOX and Cinema Eye Honors, Camilla Nielsson returns with 'President'.

Once more, the director turns her camera to Zimbabwe, which was also at the centre of 'Democrats', an investigative documentary about the making of the country's first constitution following three decades under the rule of dictator Robert Mugabe. 

In 'President', Zimbabwe is once more at a crossroads. Following Mugabe's death in 2017, the country's future is to be shaped anew. The new leader of the opposition party MDC, Nelson Chamisa, is challenging the old guard, ZANU-PF, represented by the acting president Emmerson Mnangagwa, also known as 'the crocodile'. The election will be the ultimate test for both the ruling party and the opposition. How will they interpret the principles of democracy in a post-Mugabe era – in discourse and in practice?

Camilla Nielsson graduated from Tisch School of Arts in New York. She made her debut in 2003 with 'Good Morning Afghanistan', the first entry in a trilogy about children's rights, which was completed by 'Durga' (2004) and 'The Children of Darfur' (2005). 'Mumbai Disconnected' (2009), which Nielsson directed alongside Frederik Jacobi, was part of a series of mega cities, entitled 'Cities on Speed'.

'President' is produced by Signe Byrge Sørensen for Final Cut for Real with support from the Danish Film Institute.

The Sundance Film Festival runs from 28 January through 3 Februar. Read more about the 2021 edition.

Danish films and Sundance

Danish feature films and documentaries have been strongly represented at the Sundance Film Festival in recent years.

Latest winners include Mads Brügger's 'Cold Case Hammarskjöld' and May el-Toukhy's 'Queen of Hearts' in 2019, Gustav Möller's 'The Guilty' in 2018 and Feras Fayyad's 'Last Men in Aleppo' in 2017. See list of films and awards.