Do names like Anca Lazarescu, Isabella Eklöf, Simon Rouby, Katarzyna Klimkiewicz and Yiannis Veslemes ring a bell? Maybe not yet, but along with 20 other filmmakers from 17 countries these five young directors represent a new generation in European cinema who met for five days of inspiration and networking in April during Denmark's largest feature film festival CPH PIX in Copenhagen.
Since January Danish cinema has taken centre stage in the cultural agenda of the Danish EU Presidency, as film has been selected as one of the areas to be highlighted while Denmark chairs the Council of the EU. The talent meeting in Copenhagen, named PIX Sessions, was part of this focus, an initiative perfectly in line with Danish film policy and its continuous support for talent development and collaborations across borders.
Blu-ray box a succes
Now, four months into the Presidency Christian Juhl Lemche, project manager at the Danish Film Institute, can attest to the positive effects of the various film initiatives.
"We are experiencing a particularly keen interest in the special Blu-ray box of twenty Danish, films which has been offered to Danish representations and cultural institutes throughout the EU for them to arrange screenings with local partners, so that European film audiences can experience Danish cinema at close range," says Christian Juhl Lemche. And it seems that many have already taken advantage of this opportunity," he says.
Last month in Brussels, for instance, there was a showing of 16 films at the mini festival ÆØÅ, organised by the local Danish Cultural Institute. In March in Warsaw and Lodz, the Danish embassy and Cultural Institute launched "Days of Danish cinema" which runs until June visiting several cities on the way and giving a Polish audience the chance to see films such as Jørgen Leth's cycling classic "A Sunday in Hell" and Michael Madsen's philosophical nuclear waste film "Into Eternity".
With the Europe Day on 9 May approaching, Danish cinema will be present in the Bulgarian capital at the Sofia European Film Festival which will be showcasing the two Oscar-winners "In a Better World", Susanne Bier's international hit from 2011, and Gabriel Axel's classic gem, the Karen Blixen adaptation "Babette's Feast". This screenings are, in fact, made possible by the Danish Film Institute's Blu-ray box, which also includes films by Lars von Trier, Nicolas Winding Refn and Thomas Vinterberg.
"In almost all EU countries, the box has been used, so the movies have really enjoyed quite a broad distribution," says Juhl Lemche.
More than 7000 guests in Gothenburg
The Danish film venture has also made its mark on a number of major European festivals. March saw a strong showing of Danish animation films at Cartoon Movie in Lyon, and a promising beginning for the Danish film focus took off at the Göteborg Film Festival in February with a "Danish Day", where more than 7000 spectators turned up for the Danish films showing in a special slot during the festival.
Another success has proven to be the mobile film studio for children, FILM-Y, which has been on tour to Brussels. Tickets were completely sold out as Belgian school children and families were invited to make their own film in the Bozar art centre in February. Next stop for FILM-Y is Cluj in Transylvania, where one of Europe's young and dynamic film festivals will be taking place in June.
Find an overview of the Danish film initiatives during the EU Presidency on dfi.dk/eu2012. The site is in English, with introductory texts to Danish cinema in French and German.