Danish expatriate filmmaker Bille August will receive The Hans Christian Andersen Award 2003 from the city Odense, where the world famous author was born 198 years ago, on April 2.
August has just returned from Hollywood after financing collapsed on his Without Apparent Motive with Oscar-darlings Richard Gere and Julianne Moore. He now intends to focus on writing a film about Hans Christian Andersen, which is why he gets the prize, which comes with a purse of $53,000.
At the same time, the Hans Christian Andersen Fund has announced an additional award of $570,000 towards the development of the project.
Moonlight Film Production's Lars Kolvig and Michael Obel will produce, as they did for August's last film, the Swedish drama A Song For Martin.
This as-yet-untitled project is one of several new Danish films about Hans Christian Andersen, whose 200th birthday is celebrated in 2005. "His fairytales are known across the world, but few know anything about the person apart from what the sentimentalised accounts of his life which has been brought to the screen," the HC Andersen Fund's general secretary Lars Seeberg told Screendaily.com.
"In 1952 Danny Kaye depicted Andersen as a sweet-natured, pathetic entertainer, a divinely inspired fool. Nothing could be more unjust, he was a very complex personality."
Head of Nordisk Film Production, writer-director Rumle Hammerich, has taken a leave to finish a script about Andersen which will be a two part TV-series as well as a feature produced in collaboration between Nordisk Film and national broadcaster DR, which is also working on an animated series.
M&M Productions is also looking for financing for a TV-series and a feature project based on Andersen.