Good Things Await in Berlin’s Culinary Cinema
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Phie Ambo’s documentary about an 80-year-old farmer will open the Berlinale’s Culinary Cinema; two Danish television series have also been selected
Eighty-year-old Danish farmer Niels Stokholm has, since 1975, resided at Thorshøjgaard near Dronningmølle, North Zealand, which supplies meat and vegetables to, among others, the world’s best restaurant – Copenhagen’s Noma. Stokholm left his position as head of research at the Technical University of Denmark in favour of biodynamic farming, living in harmony with and being respectful of nature.
Danish director Phie Ambo has followed Stokholm and his wife Rita for several years, shooting the documentary Good Things Await, which will on 8 February open the Culinary Cinema series at the Berlin International Film Festival (5-15 February).
Ambo and Stokholm will both attend the Berlinale screening at the Martin-Gropius-Bau cinema, and afterwards, Michelin-starred chef Michael Hoffmann, who used to run Berlin’s Margaux Restaurant, will serve up a film-inspired menu at the Martin-Gropius-Bau Mirror eatery.
The Danish farmer’s work principles do not always tally with EU or Danish agricultural legislation, so on several occasions he has come close to losing his licence to keep cattle – but he hopes that the soil he leaves behind him will still be arable in 1,000 years’ time.
The Malene Flindt Pedersen production for Danish Documentary, which was executive-produced by Sigrid Dyekjær, was last year screened in The Female Gaze programme at the IDFA-International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.
Two Danish television series, pubcaster DR’s Follow the Money, aka Deceived, directed by Per Fly, and Kanal 5’s Heartless, by Natasha Arthy, will both be on show at Berlin, as a Berlinale Special and in Generation 14plus, respectively.
“A ‘how did they do it’, rather than a ‘whodunit’,” said producer Anders Toft Andersen of the crime drama set against the backdrop of the financial crisis, which will have its world premiere at the gathering, and stars Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Thomas Bo Larsen and newcomer Natalie Wolfsberg Madueño. Jeppe Gjervig Gram (Borgen), Adam Price and Tobias Lindholm were among the scriptwriters.
Produced by Fridthjof Film and SBS TV, Heartless had sold to more than 40 countries before it was launched in Denmark last April. Scripted by Nikolaj Scherfig and Morten Dragsted, it stars Julie Zangenberg and Sebastian Jessen as siblings with a dark secret: to stay alive, they have to suck life from other people, like vampires. Audiences at Berlin will see the first five episodes.