20 December 2020
“CineMart has meant a great deal for us,” says producer Maria Møller Christoffersen of Danish company Beofilm, recounting her experience producing director Johannes Nyholm’s debut feature The Giant. The film attended CineMart in 2013 where it won the Eurimages prize. “This was the first international boost that our partnership and the film received,” says Møller. “It is a unique platform for especially first feature directors. Beofilm has joined with several projects and always participates on the other side of the table as well.”
Nyholm’s next feature Koko-di Koko-da was selected for the Tiger Competition at IFFR 2019, where he was praised for his “peculiar visual universe” and traversing the line between fantasy and reality with live action and animation techniques. Nyholm’s work has often used these forms in combination with puppetry, as he did in Puppetboy (IFFR 2009) and Dreams from the Woods which was selected for the Tiger Awards Short Film Competition at IFFR 2010. He gained notoriety for his 2011 short Las Palmas, which features his then one-year old daughter playing a holidaymaker amidst a cast of marionette puppets. When showing the film at Sundance in 2012, he met executive of Beofilm, Peter Hyldah, and began a collaboration which still continues. “We have maintained a partnership and friendship,” says Møller. “Basically we all like each other's company. We have fun together and that's very important when you work as much as you do in this industry.”
The personal and artistic tribulations of producing work over the last two decades brought Nyholm to this latest project. “It came about as a result of being stressed out by lots of work for years on my previous features,” he says. “I took a break from the editing room of Koko-di Koko-da and escaped to an abandoned industrial village in the countryside with some friends and a camera.”
Johannes Nyholm and producer Møller Christoffersen
This was the inspiration for Firehawks, which follows a weary film director establishing a filmmaking commune in the country, which eventually descends into farce and mutiny. “The idea for the trip was to develop characters and settings and get inspiration for a crude slapstick drama, or in short: to have some fun. Most of the people involved in those early steps are still involved in the project.” Messing around, playing with slapstick, and having some fun are the director’s political tools: “the content is a reaction to our stressed out, chaotic, and abstract society, showing means we use to deal with this.” Firehawks’ escapism, fun and absurdity make it the perfect antidote to the world at the moment, and will surely make it an appealing prospect at CineMart.