The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled the nominees for the Oscars 2017, announcing the selection of two Danish films for this year's big red carpet event, to take place on 26 February in Los Angeles.
Martin Zandvliet and Nordisk Film's "Land of Mine" is one of the five Foreign Language Film nominees, while Aske Bang and M&M Productions' "Silent Nights" is nominated in the Short Film (Live Action) category.
Claus Ladegaard, head of Film Funding at the Danish Film Institute, says:
"This is the fifth time in seven years that a Danish feature film is nominated. No other country can match that. Plus, this year there is a nomination to a short film. An impressive result.
"In 'Land of Mine,' Martin Zandvliet and his team make the North Sea beaches unfold beautifully on the big screen. Never have they looked so attractive and yet appeared so treacherous. And in the midst of all this we are told a strong human story about life and death, hatred and atonement.
"Congratulations to the teams behind 'Land of Mine' and 'Silent Nights.' Thank you for representing the Danish film industry so convincingly. You have strong competitors, but we have high thoughts about you."
Land of Mine by Martin Zandvliet
"Land of Mine," a story from the aftermath of WWII about a group of German soldiers led by their Danish sergeant on a forced mission to disarm land mines from Danish beaches, garnered striking reviews after its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in 2015. Read our press roundup.
The film is produced by Nordisk Film, Camilla Hjelm Knudsen is cinematographer, and Molly Malene Stensgaard and Per Sandholt have edited. Mikael Rieks produced for Nordisk Film with support from the Danish Film Institute. Read our interview with the director The Untold Story.
The film is distributed in North America by Sony Pictures Classics. The distributing giant has, over the years, backed several Oscar-winning Foreign Language titles, including Gabriel Axel's 1987 "Babette's Feast," Susanne Bier's 2011 "In a Better World" and László Nemes' 2016 "Son of Saul."
Zandvliet made his feature debut in 2009 with "Applause," followed in 2011 by "A Funny Man," which became the number one Danish box-office hit of the year. "Land of Mine" is Zandvliet's third feature film. Next is Zandvliet's English-language debut, the US production "The Outsider" with Jared Leto in the lead, which is scheduled for a 2017 release.
Silent Nights by Aske Bang
"Silent Nights" by Aske Bang, a 2015 graduate from the National Film School of Denmark, is the story of Inger, who volunteers at a shelter where she falls in love with Kwame, an illegal immigrant. They find comfort in one another, but what Kwame isn't telling Inger is that he has a wife and kids in Ghana.
Bang made several short films before enrolling at the National Film School of Denmark in 2011. He is also an actor and recently had a major part in Rasmus Heisterberg's feature "In the Blood," which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2016.
"Silent Nights" marks the eighth time that M&M Productions have received a nomination in the Short Film Live Action category. The company, via Kim Magnusson and Tivi Magnusson, has won four Oscars – for "Election Night," "This Charming Man," "The New Tenants" and "Helium."
The Oscars 2017 will be held on 26 February in Los Angeles. See more at oscars.com.
Danish Foreign Language Oscar winners
2011 In a Better World / Susanne Bier
1989 Pelle the Conqueror / Bille August
1988 Babette's Feast / Gabriel Axel
10 Years of Danish Foreign Language Entries
An overview of the last decade of Danish Oscar entries in the Foreign Language category, sorted by awards ceremony year:
2017 Land of Mine / Martin Zandvliet / Oscar nomination
2016 A War / Tobias Lindholm / Oscar nomination
2015 Sorrow and Joy / Nils Malmros
2014 The Hunt / Thomas Vinterberg / Oscar nomination
2013 A Royal Affair / Nikolaj Arcel / Oscar nomination
2012 Superclásico / Ole Christian Madsen / Oscar shortlist
2011 In a Better World / Susanne Bier / Oscar winner
2010 Terribly Happy / Henrik Ruben Genz
2009 Worlds Apart / Niels Arden Oplev
2008 The Art of Crying / Peter Schønau Fog
2007 After the Wedding / Susanne Bier / Oscar nomination
See full list of Danish Oscar films