Expat filmmaker turns to crowdfunding and pig masks

Irishman hopes to raise enough money to have his film about Danish racism see the light of day

It isn’t easy being an independent filmmaker. Just ask David Noel Bourke. Raising the necessary funds to produce a full length feature is a constant obstacle, even for an Irishman who produced his first film for just 10,000 kroner. In an attempt to get his latest project, a film entitled ‘White Pig’, on track, Bourke turned to the masses online. Utilising a path that has helped people launch projects as varied as internet games to aeroplanes, Bourke set out to create the first ever Danish crowdfunded film.

“As far as we know, there have been some Danish movies that have been partly crowd funded, but none that have been exclusively funded in that way,” Bourke said.

After deciding to raise funds in this unorthodox way, Bourke set out to create awareness for his ambitious project. So one day he placed an unusual window display in an office on Bredgade 15: himself.

“I was thinking about ideas and one was to sit in a window and show people what I’m working on,” he said. “A lot of people walked past, but some came in and talked to me about the project. I was wearing a pig mask, which led to an opportunity to explain the project.”

Bourke hopes to raise around 25,000 euros for the movie and wants to start shooting in October in order to have the movie ready for the CPH PIX 2014 film festival in April.

“It is a tight schedule, but I have talked to the director of CPH PIX and he is interested in screening the movie at the festival,” said Bourke. “My last movie premiered there and they are very interested in independent movies.”

Previously Bourke has released two feature length films, ‘Last Exit’ in 2003 and ‘No Right Turn’ in 2009. Although the dialogue in both was in English, Bourke plans to make his third instalment in Danish, even though the original manuscript was written in English.

“It feels more authentic when a movie that takes place in Denmark is in Danish, so I got a professional translator to translate the movie into Danish.”

White Pig

The script tells the story of Jens, a down-and-out member of society, who tries to turn the page after fleeing the authorities on charges of murder. He meets Anna and attempts to lead a normal life, all the while being hunted by the police officer Mia.

“The main story is a thriller, not really of the slasher sort, but a psychological thriller,” explained Bourke.  

According to Bourke the movie will not just be another catch-the-bad-guy flick, but also a work of social criticism focused on what he calls the elephant in the room here in Denmark.

“There is a lot of racism out there and a lot this ‘us versus them’ mentality,” he said. “Even though people talk a lot about it, the discussion tends to be very shallow and I wanted to try to go under the skin and explore why people have these views.”

The hot potato of racism and immigration is a constant in most societies, but according to Bourke the problems are dealt with in a unique way in Denmark.

“I don’t think that racism is a problem that is special to Denmark, it is just that Danes are a bit more open about it,” said Bourke. “When you read the papers and hear what politicians are saying, you just think to yourself that politicians would never say that in Ireland or the UK.”

Bourke, who has been living in Denmark on and off for 12 years, claims that a part of the problem is a lack of inclusion towards foreigners, which makes people feel like they don’t belong even after years in the country.

“I think that even after 20 years of living here, I would still be an outsider and that is very strange.”

The original script for ‘White Pig’ was written many years ago, but Bourke put it aside and started working on other projects. Following the 2011 Utøya attack, Bourke decided to dust of the manuscript and make the movie.

“When I first wrote the script I didn’t really know what to do with it. But following Breivik’s attacks I said: ‘We need to do something’. It was just too close to home.”

Making the movie happen

At the time of publication, Bourke is still some way off in reaching the 25,000 euro budget for the movie, but he is hoping that some perks will entice people to help him get the movie off the ground.

Smaller donors will get their names included in the credit list, along with a DVD copy of the movie, while more sizable donations will result in exclusive access to the movie set, an acting role and even the title of producer.

For more information, go to http://www.indiegogo.com/ and search for ‘White Pig’.