Sundance selects Iceland's Rams and Denmark's Land of Mine
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Grímur Hákonarson and Martin Zandvliet will fly the Nordic colours at the American film festival in Utah from 21-31 January
Icelandic director Grímur Hákonarson's Rams [+see also:
interview: Grimur Hakonarson
film profile], which this year won the first prize ever for Iceland at Cannes (the Un Certain Regard Award), and Danish director Martin Zandvliet's Land of Mine [+see also:
interview: Martin Zandvliet
film profile] – which has become a domestic bestseller, shifting 81,000 tickets in two weeks – have been selected for the Sundance Film Festival, which runs in Utah from 21-31 January.
At Sundance, which covers Park City, Salt Lake City and Ogden, the showcase will screen both films in the Spotlight programme of festival favourites from the last year.
After Cannes, Rams continued its international tour, winning a total of 21 prizes, most recently the Golden Spike for Best Film and the Pilar Miró Award for Best Director at the Valladolid International Film Festival. Starring Sigurður Sigurjónsson and Theodór Júlíusson, it follows two brothers who live side by side, but who have not spoken in 40 years; now they must come together to save what is dearest to them: their sheep. Also Iceland's candidate for the Oscar nomination for Best Foreign-language Film, the Grímar Jónsson production for Iceland's Netop Films has been sold to more than 40 countries by Warsaw's New Europe Film Sales.
"Zandvliet did to sand what Steven Spielberg did to water!" wrote the Washington Post, after Land of Mine was launched at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film deals with a little-known chapter of Danish history: after World War II and the end of Nazi Germany's occupation, 2,000 German troopers refused to leave – and as prisoners of war, they “volunteered” to clear the Danish coast of 2.2 million landmines.
The depiction of Sergeant Carl Rasmussen, commanding a platoon of POWs on the beaches (played by Roland Møller, who shared the Best Actor Award with co-star Louis Hoffman at Tokyo), was produced by Mikael Christian Rieks for Nordisk Film Production, with Germany's Amusement Park Films.