New Zealand-born filmmaker Daniel Borgman, whose latest film “Resin” (exclusive trailer above) world premieres at Toronto in the Contemporary World Cinema section, is developing a pair of high-concept projects: the crime thriller “The Shadows” and the supernatural drama “The Light.”
“The Shadows” follows Amanda, a farmer whose reclusive life in the countryside gets turned upside down when local police discover 13 migrant corpses in the neighboring property. While she initially tries to stay away from the investigation, she bonds with Lisa, a burnt-out police inspector who struggles to solve the case while the community seems unwilling to talk.
“The Light,” meanwhile, tells the story of Lea, who is on her way to break the world record in free diving when she starts experiencing strange visions. She then finds out her mother fell in a coma after attempting to commit suicide. While the health of her mother keep deteriorating, she continues to be haunted during her dives by an unknown force.
Borgman is developing both projects with Tine Mikkelsen at Adomeit Film, the banner behind “Resin,” a Danish thriller based on Ane Riel’s book by the same name. Represented in international markets by TrustNordisk, “Resin” stars Peter Plaugborg, Sofie Grabol and Amanda Collin.
The thriller introduces Vivelill Sogaard Holm, who stars as Liv, a precocious 13-year-old who lives deep in the forest with her simple-minded father and bedridden mother. Liv doesn’t know that her parents have made the outside world believe that she is dead in an attempt to escape society’s norms and demands. Their reclusive existence is threatened when Liv’s curiosity propels her to venture into the world.
Borgman, whose two previous feature films “The Weight of Elephants” and “Loving Pia” world-premiered in Berlin, said “Resin” was an usual project for him to take on for several reasons.
“I never made a genre film before and I was concerned about the premise. At first the premise seemed kind of clichéd to me as if it was a story that had been told a thousand times, but I was drawn to it because I liked the fact that it’s a cross-genre drama with thriller elements, and it explores our ambivalent relationship with nature,” said Borgman.
“Being close to nature, away from society, can be a rewarding experience; that said, ugly, grotesque and disgusting things can happen when you live in the nature. The story also dealt with the destructive aspect of love when it becomes suffocating,” said the director, whose credits also include “Berik,” which won a prize at Cannes’ Critics Week in 2010.
One of the highlights of Borgman’s experience on the film was to work with Sogaard Holm, whom he described as “very talented and special.” “I’ve always enjoyed working with non-actors or young people because it’s more rewarding. They trust you so much, there is less bullshit going on and if you get behind the camera right, stuff will happen before the camera,” said the director, who studied film in Denmark and has been living there for over 10 years.
“Resin” is the first film Borgman brings to Toronto, and he said it made sense for him to get closer to the North American film community because he’d like to make a film in English at some point.
The film is produced by Katja Adomeit for Adomeit Film and Peter Aalbaek Jensen for Zentropa Productions 2, with Louise Vesth as executive producer. “Resin” was backed by the Danish Film Institute, FilmFyn and TV 2. Nordic distribution to be handled by Nordisk Film Distribution.