Underwhelming year ahead for women in Danish film

Out of the 26 Danish feature films being produced this year, only two will be directed by women, and only two will have female leads

The credits of the 26 feature films being released in Denmark this coming year make grim reading for anyone championing the notion that the Nordic nation is a trailblazer for gender equality rights.

Only two are directed by women and just two have a female lead, and that’s a problem, according to Nanna Frank Rasmussen, a film reviewer for Jyllands-Posten newspaper, who is the head of the women’s rights advocacy organisation Women in Film and Television (WIFT).

“Film helps generate a mutual understanding of our society,” Rasmussen told Berlingske newspaper.

“And women pay taxes and thus contribute to culture funds, so you could call it a democratic problem that more women aren’t represented in Danish film. It’s not about the talent not being there – it’s not being allowed in.”

READ MORE: Magazine names its top five Danish films of the year

DFI: It takes time
The Danish Film Institute (DFI) announced at the end of 2016 that it would strive to promote diversity, including gender equality, in Danish film.

And while DFI head Henrik Bo Nielsen understands the need for change, he contends it take three to four years before any results are forthcoming.

“The incubation period is long. If this issue had come up at the end of 2015 it would still have taken a few years before something hit the big screens,” Nielsen told Berlingske.

“You have to be patient, even if the curve is as flat as the heart-rate of a dying patient.”