Youth Rebellion Documentary ‘Skál,’ CPH:DOX Competitor, Lands at DR Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

Youth Rebellion Documentary 'Skál,' CPH:DOX Title,
Courtesy of Troels Rasmus Jensen

Copenhagen-based DR Sales has picked up world rights to the Faroe Islands-set coming-of-age documentary “Skál,” produced by established production outfit Made in Copenhagen (“Motley’s Law,” “Putin’s Kiss”). Variety has been given exclusive access to the international trailer.

Co-helmed by Danish-born Cecilie Debell (“My Mother Is Pink”) and Faroese debutant Marie Tórgarð, “Skál” marks the first time ever a documentary about the picturesque Faroe Islands, in the middle of the North Atlantic, has been given a main competition ticket at an A festival – Copenhagen’s CPH:DOX (April 21-May 12).

The film captures the search for identity and hunger for change among the younger generation of Faroese people, who feel suppressed by social norms and control, in a tight community of 53,000 souls where religion plays a major role.

For one and a half year, the co-directors have followed 21 year old Dania, brought up in a Christian community as she falls for hip hop artist and poet Trygvi, known as Silver Kid. His rebellious edge fascinates and inspires Dania, who starts to question her tightly controlled upbringing. She gets into writing herself and ends up publishing a collection of poems called “Skál” (aka “Cheers”), about the double life that she and other youths must live in the Faroe Islands’ Bible belt.

Discussing their film, Debell and Tórgarð said: “The biggest challenge has been the responsibility of portraying these characters in a way where they could recognize themselves, while knowing that it was our perspective on them and their lives.”

The young co-helmers said they felt humbled to bring “Skál” to the big screen. “Not that many films are made in the Faroe Islands, and a documentary film about youth culture has never been made in this way before, so it’s a huge responsibility and a huge honor to be able to tell this story, and to get these important voices out there.”

They added: “We hope that this can give the international audience a new understanding of what it means to be young in the Faroe Islands, and we hope that Faroese people will look at this film and feel represented.”

Kim Christiansen, DR Sales executive producer, in charge of documentaries, said: “The way the film portrays the clash between the young and old, religion and hedonism in a society moving from traditional to modern, makes the themes very universal and relevant for the international market.”

Made in Copenhagen CEO Helle Faber, an executive producer on the film, said: “The Faroe Islands are often associated with its stunning nature, but ‘Skál’ really manages to get behind that, so we get to know Dania, Trygvi, Majun [Dania’s friend] and the other people, who live in this remote part of the Danish Commonwealth.”

“Skál” was produced by Heidi Kim Andersen for Made in Copenhagen, in co-production with Faroe Islands-based Kyk Pictures (behind the anticipated first local crime series “Trom”), with backing from the NORDDOK Fund, the Danish Film Institute, co-financing from public broadcasters DR in Denmark, SVT in Sweden, KVF in the Faroe Islands, KNR in Greenland, and the VGTV platform in Norway.

The film is vying both for the DOX:Award in the main CPH:DOX competition program, and for the Politiken Danish:DOX Award.

Besides ”Skál,” DR Sales boasts a diverse lineup of competition titles:

  • “Raising a School Shooter,” by Danish directing couple Frida Barkfors and Lasse Barkfors (“Pervert Park,” “Death of a Child”), is produced by double-Oscar nominated Final Cut for Real;
  • “Seyran Ates: Sex, Revolution and Islam” by Norway’s Nefise Özkal Lorentzen, just picked up by Juno Films for North America;
  • “Too Fast to Be True” by Denmark’s Anna Thyrri and Stine Uldbjerg Hansen, about an international cover up in a world leading sports environment;
  • “The Soldier,” by Nikolaj Møller, depicting a Danish war veteran suffering from PTSD;
  • “From the Wild Sea,” by Robin Petré, which world premiered at the last Berlinale Generation sidebar.