Director Daniel Borgman and producer Katja Adomeit's feature film "Loving Pia" will be making its world premiere at the Berlinale, which runs 9-19 February. The film will be joining the lineup of Forum, the section dedicated to films with an artistic, experimental edge.
The film, shot on 16mm, is developed from the life of – and starring – a real woman, Pia, who is intellectually disabled. Pia is 60 years old and she lives in rural Denmark in the care of her mother Guittou, 84. Guittou is getting old, and Pia worries about what will happen when her mother dies. She is afraid of being left alone. Although Pia has never had a boyfriend, she thinks that she needs to find a man to love in order to survive. When Pia meets Jens, she embarks on a quiet and simple relationship with him, not realising that in the meantime it is her mother who is left alone.
The film stems from Borgman's ambition to create a cinematic experiment, where the story is based on a real person's life and emotions. The main characters are played by Pia Skovgaard, Céline Skovgaard and Jens Jensen, whom Borgman and Adomeit found after a long casting process driving around Denmark. The film is shot in the home of Pia and her mother with no changes made to the décor nor any artificial lighting, and the story grew organically from spending time with the two.
"I've always made films about outsiders," says Borgman in our Berlin interview. "There's something about the able worldview that I don't like. Or any kind of dominant perspective really. It pre-supposes a predefined way of seeing things and of communicating, and I think it's very limiting and narrow."
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"Loving Pia" is the second feature film by New Zealand-born Borgman, who graduated from the alternative Danish film School Super16. His short films "Lars and Peter" (2009) and "Berik" (2010) were both selected for Cannes, the latter film winning the Grand Prix de la Semaine de la Critique. Borgman made his feature debut with "The Weight of Elephants" (2013), about the loneliness of childhood told through the story of 11-year-old Adrian. The film was also selected for Berlinale Forum.
"Loving Pia," developed at the Berlinale Residency fellowship programme, is produced by Katja Adomeit for Adomeit Film. The film has received support from the Danish Film Institute, through commissioning editor Mikkel Munch-Fals, and the regional film fund FilmFyn.
Danish participation at Berlin 2017
As per 18 January
- Daniel Borgman's "Loving Pia" / Forum
- Yance Ford's American-Danish documentary "Strong Island" / Panorama Documente
- Holger-Madsen's newly restored "A Trip to Mars" (1918) / Retrospective
- Amanda Kernell's Swedish-Danish feature film "Sami Blood"/ NATIVe
- Inuk Silis Høegh's Greenlandic-Danish documentary "Sumé" / NATIVe
- Aka Hansen's Greenlandic-Danish short film "Half&Half" / NATIVe
- Actor Esben Smed / Shooting Star
The festival will be announcing more films in the coming weeks.