Culture News in Brief: Danish docs thriving overseas – both with audiences and as settings

Meanwhile, international success is also beckoning for the sitcom ‘Rita’, but Lone Scherfig’s new film ‘The Kindness of Strangers’ has bombed

Danish movies have made the nine-film shortlist for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in seven of the last nine years, and its Nordic noir television series have been popular since the debut of ‘Forbrydelsen’ and that cardigan in 2007, but now a new genre is emerging as a force: documentary.

Aided by the continued growth of CPH DOX, the third largest documentary film festival in the world – this year’s edition will take place from March 20-31 – and a trend that is seeing Danish filmmakers make more films abroad, and often in English, the genre is flying right now.

For example, Simon Lereng Wilmont’s ‘The Distant Barking of Dogs’, which made the nine-film Oscar shortlist but not the final five, is entirely set in the Ukraine, while the Sundance-acclaimed ‘Cold Case Hammarskjöld’ by Mads Brügger is mostly filmed in Africa.

Strong interest in social issues
Susan Wendt, the head of documentary producer TrustNordisk, contends that Danish directors tend to have a strong interest in social issues.

“There is a deep purpose; they want to start discussions and open up issues,” she told

DFI head Claus Ladegaard contends that it helps having a small industry.

“We are such a small business, so the editors, the cinematographers – everyone – are actually the same people that are making feature films or TV dramas,” he explained to

Three to look out for
The website advises its readers to look out for the Berlin-set ‘Western Arabs’ by Danish-Palestinian director Omar Shargawi and ‘The Winter Journey’ by Anders Østergaard, which is also set in Germany.

‘Flee’ by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, which tells the story of an Afghan immigrant in Denmark, is also tipped for success.

Study reveals we’re all susceptible to fear, even if we’re prepared for it
A study of 280 horror fanatics at Dystopia, an annual haunted house event in Velje, reveals that even if we know scares are coming, we can’t completely negate the fear we feel, reports The conductor of the study was Mathias Clasen from Aarhus University, the author of the book ‘Why Horror Seduces’. He split his study sample into two groups: those trying to maximise their fear, and those trying to minimise it. Clasen concluded that the results  prove its “not possible to completely extinguish your fear. You can tell yourself it’s just the cat knocking around in the basement, not a chainsaw killer, but the fear system doesn’t care. It doesn’t operate on statistical probability, but on the need to keep the organism alive.”

Risque ‘Rita’: popular in Denmark and now overseas
The popular Danish sitcom Rita is proving to be popular overseas. The comedy about an unconventional female teacher who routinely breaks the rules has been championed by Netflix, which financed both its third and fourth seasons, taking over the reins from TV2. Since first being broadcast in 2012, it has become a firm favourite with Danes and gone on to become popular in several countries, including Netherlands, France and even the subtitle-shy US. Meanwhile, its star Mille Dinesen has won plaudits for her acting, including a Monte Carlo TV Festival Golden Nymph in 2012.

Mixed bag for Danish hopes at Berlin Film Festival
There was mixed success at the Berlin Film Festival. While Lone Scherfig’s new film ‘The Kindness of Strangers’, which had its worldwide premiere on February 7, was savaged by the critics and currently has a Metacritic score of 34, there was better news for cinematographer Rasmus Videbæk, who has won a Silver Bear for his work on the Norwegian film ‘Ut og stjæle hester’ (‘Out stealing horses’).

Cartoon the most watched Danish film this century
‘Ternet Ninja’ is officially the best-selling Danish film of the century. It has overtaken the previous record holder – the 2010 film ‘Klovn: The Movie’ with 839,000 tickets – and has now kicked on to sell 860,000 and counting. It is currently sitting tenth on an all-time list on which Olsen Gang films occupy the top three places and also number six.

Acclaimed British podcast heading over
The team behind the acclaimed British podcast ‘No Such Thing As A Fish’ will be presenting a live show at Bremen Teater on June 3. Downloaded an average 1.5 million times a week, the team behind it includes James Harkin, one of the brains behind the quiz show QI. Tickets go on sale at 10:00 this morning via and cost 225 kroner.

Nick Cave date confirmed
‘Conversations with Nick Cave’ – an evening of discussions and music with the acclaimed Australian star – will take place at DR Koncerthuset on May 21. Tickets range in price from 470 to 860 kroner and go on sale today at 10:00 via