Opening on 14 May, the Cannes Festival will be featuring Danish films and filmmakers in the two prominent sidebar series, Directors' Fortnight and Critics' Week. Both series focus on innovation and artistic courage – in Critics' Week though solely through directors' first or second feature films.
'The Orphanage' in Directors' Fortnight
Cannes 2019 marks the second time director Shahrbanoo Sadat screens a Danish film about childhood memories from Afghanistan in Directors' Fortnight. In 2016, the then 25-year-old Sadat received the Fortnight's main prize for her first feature film, 'Wolf and Sheep', portraying a group of children working as shepherds in the mountains of Afghanistan.
'The Orphanage' takes place in Kabul in the late 1980s. 15-year-old Qodrat lives in the streets and sells cinema tickets on the black market. He is a big Bollywood fan and he daydreams himself into some of his favorite movie scenes. One day, the police bring him to the Soviet orphanage. But in Kabul, the political situation is changing, and the rebels are dominating the streets. Qodrat and the other children at the orphanage do everything they can to defend their home. The film makes use of musical elements inspired by the Bollywood films that screened in the Afghan cinemas at the time.
The film, written by Sadat, is produced by Katja Adomeit for Adomeit Film, who was also behind the director's debut film, 'Wolf and Sheep'. Adomeit has previously produced 'Team Hurricane' and 'Loving Pia'.
'The Orphanage' is co-produced with La Fabrica Nocturna Cinéma in France, Samsa Film in Luxembourg and Wolf Pictures in Afghanistan. It is funded by the Danish Film Institute, Eurimages, Film Fund Luxembourg, Arri International Support Program, Copenhagen Film Fund, Cinémas du monde, Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, World Cinema Fund, TorinoFilmLab, Cinereach, Creative Europe MEDIA, Hubert Bals Fund and Asian Cinema Fund.
Graduation short in Critics' Week
'Ikki Illa meint' by Andrias Høgenni is selected for the short film competition in Critics' Week.
The story begins as Elinborg accidentally runs into her friend Marita at the grocery store. The conversation is civil yet slightly awkward, as Elinborg has forgotten Marita's birthday. After a timid hug, they both return to their shopping. However, something is nagging Marita, who decides to corner her friend and ask if Elinborg has blocked her on Facebook? Soon the grocery store turns into a nightmarish maze, as Marita desperately tries to find out why she has "lost a friend".
Faroese director Andrias Høgenni has lived in Denmark since 2009. In 2018 he graduated from the alternative film school Super16 with 'Ikki illa meint', which is produced by Johannes Rothaus Nørregaard through Meta Film.
Danish filmmakers behind feature films in Critics' Week
Two international co-productions with Danish participation will be part of the line-up of only seven titles in the Critics' Week's feature film competition.
Snowglobe Film is co-producing Hlynur Palmason's Icelandic 'A White, White Day'. Pálmason, who graduated from the National Film School of Denmark in 2013, garnered a great number of Danish and international awards for his Danish-produced debut film, 'Winter Brothers' from 2017.
In a remote Icelandic town, an off-duty police chief, played by Ingvar E. Sigurdsson, begins to suspect a local man of having had an affair with his late wife, who died in a tragic accident two years earlier. Gradually his obsession for finding out the truth accumulates and inevitably begins to endanger himself and his loved ones. A story of grief, revenge and unconditional love.
For the film, Pálmason has partnered up with his creative team from 'Winter Brothers', thus continuing his collaboration with cinematographer Maria von Hausswolff, editor Julius Krebs Damsbo, sound designer Lars Halvorsen, makeup artist Katrine Tersgov and costume designer Nina Grønlund.
'A White, White Day' is produced by Icelandic Join Motion Pictures with Swedish and Danish partners. Eva Jakobsen, Katrin Pors and Mikkel Jersin from Danish Snowglobe Film have produced a varied slate of international films, including Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego's 'Birds of Passage', which opened last year's Directors’ Fortnight.
Danish PingPong Film company has co-produced Lorcan Finnegan's 'Vivarium', which is the Irish filmmaker's second feature after his debut, the horror film 'Without Name' from 2016.
The story of 'Vivarium' centres on a young couple, played by Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots. In search of a starter home, they follow a mysterious estate agent and get trapped in a strange housing development.
The visual effects were partly done in Denmark, performed by VFX supervisor Peter Hjorth, VFX producer Mikael Windelin and the Danish VFX companies The Gentleman Broncos, Space Office, Slowmotion FX and Frame. Kristian Eidnes Andersen composed the score and created the sound design with Jacques Pedersen.
'Vivarium' is an Irish-Belgian-Danish co-production with Irish Fantastic Films at the helm and with Danish co-production by Alexander Brøndsted and Antonio Steve Tublén for PingPong Film.
Brøndsted debuted as a feature film director with 'Original' together with Swedish Tublén. They have since formed a close creative partnership through their joint company PingPong Film. 'Vivarium' is their first international co-production.
'A White, White Day' and 'Vivarium' have both received support from the Danish Film Institute's scheme for international co-productions.
Find an overview including Danish films and filmmakers at this year's Cannes Festival, which runs 14-25 May.