Since “Sons of Denmark’s” world bow at Rotterdam in 2019, Danish writer/director Ulaa Salim and producer Daniel Mühlendorph have enjoyed invites to 50 world festivals, and won nine awards – including best director at Seattle – and distribution in eight territories, negotiated by New Europe Film Sales. Those take in China (Huanxi Films), the U.K./Ireland (Eureka), Benelux (Windmill), Germany (Koch Media), Filmin (Spain), Programestore (France), Windmill (Benelux), Ale Kino (Poland) and Arthouse Traffic (Ukraine).
The partners in the fledging Danish outfit Hyæne Film are at Göteborg’s Nordic Film Market with two titles from recent Danish Film School graduates: Lisa Jespersen’s “Persona non Grata” (“Hvor kragerne vender”) pitched at the work in progress session, and Christian Bengtson’s “Chrysanthemum,” showcased within the Discovery section.
For her debut feature, Jespersen has attracted heavyweight DoP and Lars von Trier’s regular cinematographer Manuel Alberto Claro (“Melancholia”), and an ensemble cast of Thomas Hwan (“Follow the Money”), Bodil Jørgensen (“Parents”), Rosalinde Mynster (“A Royal Affair”), Anne Sofie Wanstrup (“Ditte & Louise) and Jesper Groth (“Purity of Vengeance”).
The humorous drama follows Laura who has distanced herself from her family and has moved to Copenhagen to be a writer and live a bohemian life. When she is forced to return to her childhood home to participate in her brother’s wedding, she realizes he is about to marry her worst childhood enemy, Catrine. At the same time, Laura discovers that Catrine has taken over her place in the family.
The pic, backed by the Danish Film Institute’s New Danish Screen, will be released by Nordisk Film in the fall 2020.
Bengtson’s own debut “Chrysanthemum” is a drama in which 30-year-old estranged Anders reconnects with his family, 15 years after a tragedy in which two of his siblings lost their lives. Lensing will start later this year on the pic, backed as well by New Danish Screen and Nordisk Film.
Meanwhile Salim’s second pic “A Love Odyssey” (working title) is in development. The story follows a breath-taking expedition to the bottom of the sea and into the core of our earth. Salim describes it as a “reverse space odyssey about love and the life you could have lived versus the life you’re living.”
The helmer expects to start production late 2020-early 2021.