Ditte Milsted • Producer
"No day is like the day before, and you are making FILM!"
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Cineuropa met up with Profile Pictures co-founder Ditte Milsted, Denmark's 2017 Producer on the Move
Profile Pictures co-founder Ditte Milsted is Denmark's Producer on the Move, and she is moving fast. Educated at the Danish National Film School, Milsted set up the company with two fellow producers in 2011, later adding a third partner. Her first production was Jonas Alexander Arnby's When Animals Dream [+see also:
interview: Jonas Alexander Arnby
film profile], followed by two Icelandic-Danish co-productions, Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson's Paris of the North [+see also:
film profile] (2014) and Grímur Hákonarson's Rams [+see also:
interview: Grimur Hakonarson
film profile] (2015).
"Through Producers on the Move, I hope to improve my skills to navigate in the European world of producing, to achieve the optimal network, skills and knowledge on the highest level," said Milsted, who, with her partners, wants to produce and finance projects with a Scandinavian signature and Scandinavian talent, but an international audience appeal. She is currently in post-production with her latest Icelandic-Danish project, Sigurðsson's Under the Tree [+see also:
interview: Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson
Cineuropa: In Denmark, local films are not quite top of the pops: during the first quarter of 2017, they controlled 22% of the market, as against 29% in 2016 and 40% in 2015. What's happening?
Ditte Milsted: The Danish cinema market is crowded and under pressure, and with groundbreaking, quality TV series, the streaming services have become an attractive choice for the audiences. That said, I think we should drop the crisis discussions and concentrate on making Danish titles an obvious priority for the cinemagoers, certainly more than they are today. Most local features are high-level productions - we do ours this way - and some very interesting directors are on their way up, whom I look forward to following.
Who is to blame?
Everybody who works with Danish film has a responsibility to make sure that all films are made with great effort put into meeting a large audience. The Danish Film Institute decides which titles will finally receive state production funding, but in the end, it is the industry's job to come up with the juicy ideas and good stories, and we must both develop the best writers and directors, and focus on visionary, grand and long-term thinking.
How did your own interest in film begin, and when did you decide to become a producer?
It started very early - my father has always loved films, and he says I came with him to the cinema before I could even sit on my own. I have always been occupied by the visual medium, also photography, and I am a very structured person who has always been good at instigating projects and at economics. It is important for me to follow a project from the beginning to the end; I like to create a framework and to work with many people - and all of this I can use in the producer's role. It is a demanding job that requires great stamina, a broad overview and patience; no day is like the day before, and you are making FILM!
Why did you decide to start your own production company?
At film school, I already knew I wanted to have my own company; basically, I wanted to decide myself which films I would work with, and I did not feel any need for a boss. One of my partners is also my husband, Jacob Jarek, whom I met at the European Film College in Ebeltoft almost 14 years ago. We wanted an international and experienced producer, and I knew Iceland's Þór Sigurjónsson from when I was a trainee at his Zik Zak Filmworks; we had all worked with Caroline Schlüter Bingestam, so there was no discussion about who should join the ownership, when the possibility came up.
What do your recent releases have in common? Do they "rock the boat", as you say on your website?
We want to make films with a strong hallmark - films that people are really aware of - in collaboration with directors who have a strong signature and substantial stories to tell. Watch our Darkland [+see also:
film profile], and you will understand what I mean - it is a genre movie, an action-crime-drama, not so Danish, but it was still named Film of the Year by the press. But all of the releases are from new directors and realised on limited budgets.
You have co-produced several films with Iceland.
Iceland is a really interesting film nation - lots of talent, considering how few people there are - and when you have worked there once, it is always easier the second and third time around. Also, the Icelanders have a more rock'n'roll and con amore way of working, which creates energy and generates inspiration. And they make good films!
What films will Profile Pictures announce at Cannes?
One is a Danish-language dramedy with the working title A Film by Verner Holm, a Danish-German-Polish co-production, developed with Germany's Wüste Film - it is the big-screen comeback for Danish director Jannik Johansen, who has worked with television series for the last ten years. The other is Danish director Jonas Alexander Arnby's English-language survival thriller We Watched the Sun Disappear, which takes place in Greenland.
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