Low budget short is walking on water

‘Melancholia’ left in the shadow of a film made for a pittance – and with obstructions!

While Lars von Trier’s ‘Melancholia’ surprised nobody by collecting ten awards at the Robert film awards on Sunday night – including the gongs for best film, director, script, and actress – it was a little known short film that was arguably the occasion’s biggest winner, proving that a mere budget of just 100,000 kroner is no deterrent if the right talent is in place.

Funded by DOX:LAB, the production arm of annual documentary film festival CPH:DOX, ‘Girl in the Water’, the winner of the Robert for best short fiction, is an impressionistic and almost dialogue-free adventure set in an impoverished fishing village.

The film was one of eight funded by DOX:LAB last year, and their current methods echo the ‘One Vision’ ethos practiced by DR’s drama department, which has produced ‘Forbrydelsen’ and ‘Borgen’ in recent years, and also the cinematic obstructions so keenly favoured by Von Trier.

“DOX:LAB is a creative laboratory where the invited filmmakers don’t have to think about test-screenings or target groups,” explained  the film’s co-producer Patricia Drati.  

“We give them this creative freedom under the condition that they make a film with someone from a different narrative tradition and cultural background – someone we choose for them as a co-director. It is an experiment and only in our dreams could we hope that a film made with a limited budget and co-directed by two filmmakers [Denmark’s Jeppe Rønde and Malaysia’s Woo Ming Jin], each from a different corner of the world, would end up with such a prestigious award as a Robert.”

Meanwhile, among the other big winners on the night were the Danish biopic ‘Dirch’, which scooped five awards including best actor, and Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘Drive’, which won best American film.

Kirsten Dunst won best actress and Charlotte Gainsbourg best supporting actress for ‘Melancholia’, and Nikolaj Lie Kaas won best actor and Lars Ranthe best supporting actor for ‘Dirch’, while the honorary Robert this year went to veteran director Henning Carlsen, who told those gathered he had “waited for this for 84 years”.





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