Three films advance to Danish Oscar shortlist

OSCAR 2024. The national Oscar commitee selects three films eligible as Denmark's candidate in the International Feature Film category. The final choice will be made on 26 September.

A shortlist of three films was announced on Thursday, as the Danish Oscar committee convened for the first part of their submission process.

The three films are 'The Promised Land' by Nikolaj Arcel, 'Before It Ends' by Anders Walter and the documentary 'Apolonia, Apolonia' by Lea Glob. All three films are produced with support from the Danish Film Institute.

Which of the three films will become Denmark's candidate in the International Feature Film category for the 96th Oscars will be decided on 26 September.

About the films:

The Promised Land

'The Promised Land' by Nikolaj Arcel is set in 1755. The impoverished Captain Ludvig Kahlen sets out to conquer the harsh, uninhabitable Danish heath with a seemingly impossible goal: to build a colony in the name of the King. In exchange, he'll receive a desperately desired Royal name for himself. But the sole ruler of the area, the merciless Frederik de Schinkel, arrogantly believes this land belongs to him. 

‘The Promised Land’ finds Director Nikolaj Arcel reunited with lead actor Mads Mikkelsen who also played the lead role in 'A Royal Affair'. The film received an Oscar nomination in the “Foreign Language” (now known as “International Feature Award”) category in 2013.

'The Promised Land' is chosen for the main competition at the Venice Film Festival, the “Perlak” programme of the San Sebastian International Film Festival and is presented in the "Special Presentations" programme of the Toronto International Film Festival. Magnolia Pictures has bought the film for US distribution.

The film is produced by Louise Vesth for Zentropa and has received financial backing notably from the Danish Film Institute.

Before It Ends

'Before It Ends' is Anders Walter's Danish debut feature film after a series of internationally acclaimed short films and the US produced feature 'I Kill Giants' which was released in 2017. 

Anders Walter won an Oscar for the short film 'Helium' in 2014 and in 2023 he was nominated once again in the same category ‘Live Action Short’ category together with Co-Director Pipaluk K. Jørgensen for 'Ivalu' which is produced by M&M Productions.

The film is about a family who faces an impossible dilemma when their school is transformed into an internment camp for German refugees coming to Denmark just before and after the end of the Second World War in the spring of 1945. Should the family go against public sentiment and help the many refugees, or should they avoid doing so and be clear in their opposition to the Germans?

The film has a screenplay by Anders Walter and is produced by Miriam Nørgaard, Mette Høst Hansen, and Tomas Radoor for Nordisk Film.

Apolonia, Apolonia

'Apolonia, Apolonia' by Lea Glob won the main prize at IDFA – International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam – and has since been the center of significant international attention. 

With an anachronistic bohemian environment and the Parisian art academy as a backdrop, the audience follows over a period of 13 years the young Apolonia's personal and artistic development – from the early nurturing of young talent to her leap into the commercial art world. 

Sidsel Lønvig Siersted has produced 'Apolonia, Apolonia' for Danish Documentary Production.

Danish Oscar Committee

The Danish Oscar Committee consists of Danish film professional representatives appointed from various film associations and guilds as requested by the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts & Science (AMPAS).

Organization Member
Society of Danish Film Editors Henrik Thiesen, Editor
Danish Cinema Owners Assoc. Sune Lind Thomsen, Cinema Owner, Gentofte Cinema
Danish Screenwriters Guild Ina Bruhn, Screenwriter
Danish Film Critics Assoc. Jacob Ludvigsen, Film journalist, Soundvenue
Danish Film Directors Assoc. Lisa Jespersen, Film Director
Danish Cinematographers Guild Louise Mclaughlin, DOP
Danish Film Institute Jacob Neiiendam (Chairperson of the Committee), Head of International

Lena Juhl Seidelin, Marketing Consultant, Feature Films
Danish Producers Assoc. Pernille Bech Christensen

Oscars rules and dates

Each country may submit one film for nomination in the International Feature Film category. Last year, a total of 93 titles entered the race. 

To be eligible in the International Feature Film category a film's domestic release date must be no earlier than December 1st and no later than October 31st. An international feature film is defined as a feature-length motion picture produced outside the US with a predominantly non-English dialogue track.

Full details on rules and eligibility can be found here:

The Danish Oscar committee will meet again on September 26th, where the final candidate will be determined.


Jacob Neiiendam
Head of International
The Danish Filminstitute 
Tel. +45 2618 8865

The submission deadline is 2 October. The Academy will announce all shortlists on 21 December, including the 15 films that have a chance to become one of the five nominees in the International Feature Film category.

All Oscar nominations will be announced on 23 January. The 96. Oscars take place on 13 March 2023 in Los Angeles.

Danish films and the Oscars

Four Danish films have won an Oscar in the International Feature Film category: Thomas Vinterberg's 'Another Round' in 2021, Susanne Bier's 'In a Better World' in 2011, Bille August's 'Pelle the Conqueror' in 1989, and Gabriel Axel's 'Babette's Feast' in 1988.

For the 2023 Oscar finals, Simon Lereng Wilmont's documentary 'A House Made of Splinters' achieved a nomination in the category for Best Documentary Film, and Anders Walter and Pipaluk K. Jørgensen's short film 'Ivalu' was nominated in the category for Live Action Short.

Below is an overview of Danish Oscar entries in the International Feature Film category over the last ten years. Sorted by awards ceremony year:

2023 Holy Spider / Ali Abbasi 
2022 Flee / Jonas Poher Rasmussen / Oscar nomination
2021 Another Round / Thomas Vinterberg / Oscar winner
2020 Queen of Hearts / May el-Toukhy
2019 The Guilty / Gustav Möller / Oscar shortlist
2018 You Disappear / Peter Schønau Fog
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

See full list of nominations and awards for Danish films on our Oscar page.