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PRODUCTION Denmark

In and out of Africa - Isak Dinesen returns to the screen

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In and out of Africa - Isak Dinesen returns to the screen

Danish author Karen Blixen (aka Isak Dinesen (1885-1962)), whose autobiographical novel Out of Africa was the inspiration for US director Sydney Pollack's seven Academy Award-winning film in 1986, is set to return to the big screen both as both a young and elderly woman.

Currently shooting Danish director Anne-Grethe Bjarup Riis’s World War II drama The Hvidsten Group, Danish producer Regner Grasten is set to stage Tanne, which will follow Blixen’s life up to 1913 when, at 28, she boarded a ship for Africa, where she would live for 18 years.

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Originally Regner Grasten Filmproduktion tried to acquire the righs 20 years ago, but at that time the Rungstedlund Foundation, managing the Blixen heritage, thought it had already licensed them to Universal Pictures as part of the Out of Africa property, which eventually turned out not to be the case.

”We want to make a film classic in Danish, about a great artist during a period in Denmark which should be immortalised,” explained Roger Grasten. Danish Oscar-winning director Bille August will film the biopic from Peter Asmussen’s script, beginning next year.

In addition, Denmark’s Nimbus Film has acquired the rights for Danish author-poet Thorkild Bjørnvig’s book The Pact, published in 1974, about his stormy friendship-relationship with Blixen between 1950-1954, when he was 32 and she 64.

According to producer Lars Bredo Rahbek (Flame & Citron (2008)), Nimbus is discussing with UK and US companies setting up the production for a 2013 start, with Nimbus as delegate producer, financing and an international top-level cast.

Starring French actress Stéphane Audran as a former pétroleuse now working as a cook for two elderly sisters in a remote Jutland village, Danish director Gabriel Axel’s Babette’s Feast, the first film to be made from a Blixen story, won Denmark an Oscar in 1988.

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