AMSTERDAM — Danish film producer Henrik Danstrup is not one to let a few good films go to his head.
Having put the $1.6 million “Bleeder” in the can for an Aug. 6 outing in Denmark, Danstrup already is hunting up financing for two new projects, including the untitled third pic in Nicolas Winding Refn’s trilogy about love and friendship.
Aside from the Refn project, Danstrup also is putting financing in place for what he says is the first Danish monster movie — “Cat,” the tale of a winsome feline that turns out to be an evil cat from outer space. He notes, “It will be a classic monster movie with ‘Jurassic Park’-like special effects.”
Danstrup, who says he spent his childhood inside movie theaters, has worked on some five pics since he first opened doors to his company Balboa 2 in 1994. The first, Refn’s $1 million feature debut, “Pusher,” pulled in some 200,000 in admissions, considered a coup in Denmark, and sold to some 50 territories around the globe.
The nameless Refn pic, says Danstrup, will be filmed in English and set on two continents, likely to be North and South America.
Danstrup also has worked on Simon Staho’s $1.2 million drama “Wildside,” Shaky Gonzales’ $1.4 million vampire pic “Angel of the Night” and Aage Rais’ $2.5 million “Foreign Fields,” set in war-ravaged Bosnia.
Danstrup took his university degree in film and television but spurred by his parents he became a banker. “It’s a classic tale. My parents wanted me to get a real job,” he says.
He credits the Danish Film School, which he attended after leaving banking, with much of the current success of Danish film. “It is a very difficult school to get in, and then you have four long years of very hard and very classical training. We don’t just learn about film but also about how stories should be told. You have to learn that before you can depart from it for the more experimental stuff.”
Among alumni of the school are Danish hotshot director Lars von Trier and producer Peter Aelbaek Jensen who co-founded Zentropa, the Danish film group that owns nearly two dozen film companies, mainly across the Nordic territories. Zentropa also owns 50% of Balboa 2, Danstrup the other half.
The original plan was to launch Balboa 2 as a more commercial arm of Zentropa, but later this year Zentropa will take over Danstrup’s 50% in a swap that will give him a 50% share of all rights on films he produces and will make him managing director of Balboa 2. “In the end, it will be the same for me but the arrangement will make it easier to finance films,” Danstrup notes.