Is there such a thing as Danish independent film?



Throughout the past decade, Danish independent cinema has grown from being amateur home productions to more self-aware production companies and film communities. This works, principally, by directly reacting against the institutional and economic dominance of primarily The Danish Film Institute. Indirectly, filmmakers seem to react against ‘what is allowed’ in Danish film culture. By way of examples from the Danish indie scene and interviews with noteworthy indie filmmakers, this project analyses a still fairly anonymous trend in Danish film.

In observations made in these interviews there seems to be a gradual transition from being truly independent (dubbed “guerrilla style” by director David Noel Bourke) towards being a part of the establishment. Hesitance towards the film institute comes directly from reluctance towards genre cinema, which indirectly means that indie directors fear loosing control of their projects if they were to do what it takes to be granted subsidies. In these cases participants express that they seem to play a subordinated role and feel particularly pressured by the establishment; these are the filmmakers I would describe through ‘institutional independency’.

In other cases participants highlight that they are in the film business because they feel a need to be and not in opposition to institutions and production companies; I dub these groupings ‘aspiring independency’. Rather than being countercultural, aspiringly independent filmmakers can be explained by what Jostein Gripsrud – drawing on Nancy Fraser – calls ‘training camps’. These two groups are not at all clearly separable and there may be development from one group into the other.

In this way, studying independent cinema in Denmark is, by way of analysing the cultural movements within a film culture, an interesting and backwards way of reading the experience of power relations and control mechanisms in the system.
Effektiv start/slut dato01/02/201331/01/2016


  • Independent film
  • no/low budget film
  • community filmmaking
  • film industry
  • amateur film
  • genre cinema
  • film culture
  • film subsidies
  • local filmmaking