Thomas Vinterberg and Lone Scherfig are among six top Scandinavian directors who have joined forces with US outfit Parts & Labor to develop English-language films for the international marketplace.
The leading directors, most of them previously attached to Zentropa Entertainment, have forged new company Creative Alliance with Parts & Labor International and Danish producers Nicolaj Vibe Michelsen and Jacob Jørgensen.
Other directors in the collective include Per Fly, Ole Christian Madsen (Superclásico) and Janus Metz (Armadillo) as well as Icelandic director Dagur Kári (The Good Heart/Noi the Albino).
The new venture will see each director oversee at least one English-language feature and has already secured finance for the first six projects, in collaboration with the Danish Film Institute, Scandinavian and European funds.
The new features will aim to combine the best of Scandinavian film traditions with the strength and scale of the American film industry.
“I really miss the milieu in Copenhagen’s Film City, with Zentropa and Nimbus Film, when director, writer and producer worked together,” Fly told the Politiken.
He, Madsen and Vinterberg were co-founders of Nimbus in 1983 and he later made his award-winning Bænken (The Bench), Arven (Inheritance) and Drabet (Manslaughter) trilogy 2000-2005 for Zentropa.
Fly added: “Today when an author gets an idea, he explains it to a producer, who goes to the film institute and gets $10,000 for development, which he gives to the author – but he keeps the rights.
“We want to revive the way we collaborated then – and hold on to the rights as long as possible.”
All films from Creative Alliance will be developed in Denmark.
Danish producer Lars Knudsen, who set up Parts & Labor with Jay Van Hoy, said: “We have come up with an innovative business model, which will make it possible for European directors to develop and direct films in the US with support from funding bodies at home.”
Parts & Labor is dedicated to director-driven, collaborative filmmaking, and in 2008 they signed a first look/development deal with US producer Scott Rudin. One of their most notable productions to date includes US director Mike Mill’s Beginners, which Focus Features and Universal released worldwide.