Whatever the consequences

NEW FILM. In "This Life", the dramatic story of a group of Danish resistance fighters during the German occupation of Denmark in World War II, producer Regner Grasten wants to draw parallels to today's uprisings against dictatorships in the Arab world.

"We were ordinary people who wanted to live in peace with our neighbours. Unless young Germans and young Danes sometime in the future will be able to extend their hands across the border in friendship, our death makes no sense."

Marius Fiil, an inn keeper and leader of one of the most famous resistance groups during the German occupation of Denmark in World War II, spoke these words to the German court that sentenced him and seven other members of the Hvidsten Group to death.

Coded message on BBC radio

In "This Life", directed by Anne Grethe Bjarup Riis, producer Regner Grasten is refreshing a piece of history he thinks should never be forgotten. "It's a powerful human story that will impact many generations. The film raises questions that have renewed currency now that so many people in the Arab nations are rebelling against dictatorship. It will make future generations understand the unbelievable courage of people who rise up against injustice, regardless of the consequences to themselves."

In 1943 inn keeper Fiil got his family and friends together to receive airdrops of weapons for the Danish resistance. Every night they waited for the coded message on BBC radio that would tell them where to go to receive supplies at midnight. One or more English Halifax bombers would fly over the designated area, the group would light signals and once the supplies were dropped, the containers of explosives were hurriedly hidden away. The explosives were used for sabotage against railroads, train depots, bridges and factories that worked for the Germans. In March 1944, the group was caught. Eight members were executed and six were sentenced to prison.

About the filmmakers

Anne Grethe Bjarup Riis, an actress, is making her directorial debut in collaboration with Anders Refn as technical director. Refn is a longtime partner of Lars von Trier, most recently as first assistant editor and first assistant director on "Melancholia".

Regner Grasten is an important player in Danish production. He has created a strong brand in the tremendously popular "Anja & Viktor" series (1999-) and put out several dramatic features based on bestselling Danish novels: "Stolen Spring" (1993), "Just a Girl" (1995) and the epic, nearly four-hour-long "Lost Generation" (2004).

His next project in the pipeline is a drama about famous Danish author Karen Blixen and her family entitled "Tanne – A Family Saga". The setting is Europe around 1900, at a time of great political and societal changes, with Bertolucci’s 1900 as a key source of inspiration. Shooting is scheduled to start in February 2013, release end of December 2013.