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The Northwest Unites Ties between Denmark and Iceland have long been strong. Now, Greenland and the Faroe Islands are joining in to widen and strengthen the Northwest Atlantic film partnership.

Sume Photo: Susanne Mertz

Recent years have seen a steady increase in film collaboration between Denmark and Iceland. More than a few joint projects are currently under way by such filmmakers as Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson, Hlynur Pálmason and Rúnar Rúnarsson. Moreover, Dagur Kári, whose Virgin Mountain is world premiering at the Berlinale, is a product of the close and long-standing film ties between Denmark and Iceland. Taking the initiative to expand this collaborative spirit across the North Atlantic, the Danish Film Institute and the Icelandic Film Centre have now invited Greenland and the Faroe Islands to join in the partnership. The first step was a seminar held in Reykjavik in October, bringing together filmmakers

from the four countries to share experiences and form networks. Noemi Ferrer Schwenk, head of the Danish Film Institute’s international department and co-initiator in establishing a more formalized framework, sees a bright future for collaboration between the four countries. “It is time to get the two other Northwest Atlantic countries to join in. Clearly we are very different. Combining this diversity with the many cultural features our four countries have in common makes for a partnership that could prove strong and fruitful.” Both the Faroe Islands and Greenland are experiencing a new dawn in filmmaking: The Faroe Islands: Capital Injection Katrin Ottarsdóttir’s Ludo from 2014 was the first Faroese feature film in 15 years, while Sakaris Stórá’s short film Vetrarmorgun won the Special Prize of the Generation 14plus International Jury at the Berlinale the same year. For many years the Film Workshop Klippfisk in Tórshavn has fended for its film community. Efforts to sustain a viable film industry now seem to

be gaining momentum. The Faroese government recently injected relatively considerable sums into the country’s film production. Greenland: A Local Film Institute Several films have been made in Greenland over the past five years, including Nuummioq by Otto Rosing and Torben Bech, Inuk by Mike Magidson, Aqqalu by Kristian Nygaard, Qaqqat Alanngui by Malik Kleist and, more recently, Inuk Silis Høegh’s Sume – The Sound of a Revolution, selected for the 2015 Berlinale. Greenland in 2012 established its first film association to support the local film industry. The Northwest Atlantic initiative comes at an opportune time, as the recent political agreement in Greenland for the 2014-18 period specifies plans to establish a local film institute with the primary tasks of creating a robust film economy, ensuring international partnerships and strengthening the artistic development of Greenlandic films. What Next? As a result of the seminar held in Reykjavik, the four countries plan to strengthen cooperation on talent and film education through a joint secretariat. Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands will present a preliminary status on developing and professionalising national talents, and these surveys will form the basis for a joint action plan for the initiative, which will be driven by Prami Larsen, head of the Film Workshop at the Danish Film Institute. Efforts to strengthen Northwest Atlantic collaboration are initiated by the Danish Film Institute and the Icelandic Film Centre in partnership with the Faroese Film Workshop Klippfisk, the Greenlandic Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Church, and FILM.GL, the Greenlandic association of film professionals.


FILM | Berlin Issue 2015

Danish Films Berlin 2015  
Danish Films Berlin 2015  

Danish Film Institute's magazine with interviews and all the basics on Danish films at Berlin 2015