Danish documentaries are on a roll, both at home and abroad. Real life told in film is compelling.
But while Danes in their twenties and thirties have an abundance of images of their lives right at hand, most of the population is cut off from watching documentaries from the time they came of age. Most Danish documentaries from 1960-1990 currently exist only as hard-to-access analogue material.
That’s about to change. Over the next four years, 700 of the best works from the period will be digitised and disseminated in Denmark and the Nordic region. This extraordinary effort will ensure the distribution of film narratives from a watershed era in the history of Danish documentaries that would otherwise be lost and forgotten.
'Denmark on Film' in a Nordic perspective
Since the establishment in 2015 of the Danish Film Institute’s streaming site for historical documentaries, 'Denmark on Film', more than 2000 films have been made available online, drawing a steadily growing number of viewers.
Greenland and Iceland are already on board. Now, the new project will help turn the site into a 'Nordic Nations on Film', where Swedish and Norwegian film archives can also make their documentary film heritage available, contributing to a stronger shared understanding of Nordic culture.
Danish Film Institute CEO Claus Ladegaard says,
"As sources of diverse, easily communicated experiences and understanding of how society has developed over the last half century, documentaries are unrivalled. Documentaries provide a vivid introduction to who we were, what moved people in the past, how we built our society and what shapes us today. This project is uniquely relevant as a platform for the Danish Film Institute's ambitions in film dissemination. It’s about raising awareness of history, stimulating dialogue and debate, and creating a shared horizon of interpretation.”
About the project
The project is made possible by grants from the Aage and Johanne Louis-Hansen Foundation and the Augustinus Foundation, which are each contributing 5 million kroner (approx. 675,000 euros) to the digitisation and dissemination of the selected films.
In addition, the A.P. Møller Foundation is donating 3.5 million kroner (approx. 470,000 euros) to the establishment of a new Nordic web portal for Danish, Swedish and Norwegian documentaries to promote cohesion in the Nordic Nations and bring international exposure. The Danish Film Institute itself is putting 6.1 million kroner (approx. 820,000 euros) into the project.
The project, which will begin in January 2023, will be operated in partnership with the National Library of Norway in Oslo and the Swedish Film Archive in Stockholm.