×

Principal photography is about to begin on “Collision,” a new feature by Denmark’s Avaz brothers, who were among Variety’s 10 Europeans to Watch in 2018.

Produced by the trio’s Rocket Road Pictures and Kim Magnusson, along with Nordisk Film, the drama explores a family’s struggles to stay together after tragedy strikes. The cast includes leading Danish actors Nikolaj Lie Kaas (“Angels & Demons”), Rasmus Bjerg and Nicolas Bro.

Scriptwriter Milad Avaz said the film was inspired by a friend who was going through a bitter divorce. The brothers wanted to explore how a married couple’s decisions during a difficult breakup affect their children, which offers a chance, said Milad, to “make a movie that will actually influence some lives.”

The brothers broke the mold with “While We Live,” their low-budget feature debut, which was shot for around $300,000 and went on to become a breakout box-office hit in Denmark in 2017, while receiving five nominations at the Danish Film Academy Awards.

The movie’s success caught everyone off-guard, including the same industry gatekeepers who refused to finance it. One year later, everything has changed. “Now everybody wants to work with us and give us money,” said Mehdi Avaz.

Crucial to “Collision” is the support of the Danish Film Institute, which provided 8.2 million kroner (about $1.25 million) from its Market Scheme, a fund that typically awards films with strong box-office potential. “They believed that the next movie we were going to make is going to be a huge success in the cinemas,” said Mehdi, “Collision’s” director.

While he confessed to sleepless nights over those expectations, Milad said the 10-fold increase in budget from “While We Live” will allow the brothers (the third is producer Misam Avaz) to aim higher with their sophomore effort.

“Now there’s room to grow, and there’s room to bring on experienced people who can teach us,” Milad said, joking that on their previous set, the brothers each functioned as “director, screenwriter, producer, first AD, chef.” “The only difference is that we’re unleashing more of the creativeness now than we could before.”

With production also soon to begin on their David Fincher-esque TV drama “Grow,” with support from Danish pubcaster TV2 and Germany’s ZDF, the Avaz brothers have quickly moved from the fringes of Danish cinema closer to center stage.

“Even though we’ve gotten support now, we are not changing our mindset,” Milad said. “We’re not going to change the way we make movies just because we’ve been accepted into the mainstream.”

Popular on Variety