Teenage suicides in Bridgend compete for Rotterdam’s Tiger
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Jeppe Rønde’s feature debut is among the 13 first or second films selected for the Hivos Tiger Awards Competition at Rotterdam from 21-31 January
After making a series of documentaries (Jerusalem, My Love in 2004 and The Swenkas in 2005), Danish director Jeppe Rønde has turned to feature filmmaking – and his first effort, Bridgend, will be premiered in the Hivos Tiger Awards Competition at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, which runs between 21 and 31 January.
Shot entirely on location in Wales, Bridgend is based on actual events: between 2007 and 2012, 29 people (mainly teenagers) killed themselves in a former coal-mining area – they hanged themselves, leaving no suicide notes. Rønde followed teenagers in the region for six years and wrote the script based on their life stories.
In the film, Sara (Hannah Murray) and her policeman father, Dave (Steven Waddington), move to a small village haunted by suicides among its young inhabitants. Sara falls in love with Jamie (Josh O'Connor), while Dave tries to stop the mysterious chain of suicides, which gradually take on the character of a punishing ritual.
Danish director Michael Noer's third feature, Key House Mirror, which will open Sweden’s 38th Göteborg International Film Festival (23 January-2 February), has been selected for the Spectrum programme at Rotterdam, dedicated to established directors, and is also competing for the Big Screen Award, which includes theatrical distribution in the Netherlands.
Danish director Laurits Flensted-Jensen's short Snow – his graduation work from the Danish National Film School – will unspool in Rotterdam’s As Long as It Takes section, and Niels Arden Oplev's coming-of-age drama Speed Walking will be presented in the Live sidebar, screening simultaneously in theatres all over Europe and on selected European VoD platforms.