The Danish branch of UIP has revealed that it is embarking on a search for local films to distribute.
Following the Norwegian branch of UIP's surprise success with the release of Elling, which attracted a phenomenal 700,000 admissions, UIP Denmark has picked up the local feature-length documentary, Family.
'We believe that this film has the potential of attracting a wide audience, if it gets a chance,' says Michael Berg, head of the Danish arm of UIP. 'We are going to give Family the same treatment we would any other feature, and release it on six sites in Copenhagen to begin with'
Family tells the story of the director-couple Sami Saif and Phie Ambo's attempt to find Saif's missing father. This unveils a traumatic past and leads to surprising discoveries in Yemen. The film is produced by Jonas Frederiksen for Cinevita Film Company, features music by Joachim Holbek and David Sebastian Buus and was edited by Janus Billeskov-Jansen, acclaimed editor of Bille August's films.
Apart from the titles acquired by UIP after it took over theatrical distribution of Scanbox's slate, the company has picked up very few Danish titles. According to Berg, that is all about to change. 'We are not afraid of sending a signal to the local film industry that we are willing to offer our extensive know-how to their films. It is no secret that home-grown product have started to sell a lot of tickets, and that is why UIP has become more willing to take risks on local films.' Among the few successful theatrical releases of documentaries have been: On Cruise With The Northcaper, which was also distributed by UIP.
Neighbouring Norway, however, has proven better at attracting large audiences to documentaries, with Barentsfilm's record-breaking Cool And Crazy the most recent example. It passed 500,000 admissions domestically, and has been sold by NonStop Sales to 14 territories including Japan, UK, Germany and the USA. Knut Erik Jensen's musical documentary will screen at the Montreal, Toronto, Warszaw and Pusan festivals.