Denmark has submitted Nikolaj Arcel’s The Promised Land as its candidate for Best International Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards.
The epic historic drama stars Mads Mikkelsen as the real-life Ludvig von Kahlen, a former soldier who tries to make his fortune by taming the then wild and lawless heath of the Danish Jutland peninsula, so it could be turned over to cultivation following a declaration by King Frederik V.
The film world premiered at Venice and then headed to Telluride and Toronto, is currently screening at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, and will next screen at the Zurich Film Festival, Filmfest Hamburg, Hamptons International Film Festival, and the Mill Valley Film Festival.
The film was selected from a short list which also included Anders Walter’s Before It Ends and Lea Glob’s documentary Apolonia, Apolonia.
The Danish Film Institute-backed film produced by Louise Vesth for Zentropa and sold internationally by TrustNordisk. Nordisk Film Distribution will release the film in Denmark on October 5.
Magnolia Pictures, which also released Arcel’s
Oscar-nominated A Royal Affair, will release The Promised Land in U.S. theaters on February 2, 2024 and will also qualify the film in all categories including Best Picture and Best Actor for Mikkelsen.
Denmark have won an Oscar in the International Feature Film category four times for Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round in 2021, Susanne Bier’s In a Better World in 2011, Bille August’s Pelle the Conqueror in 1989, and Gabriel Axel’s Babette’s Feast in 1988.
There were recent nominations for Simon Lereng Wilmont’s documentary A House Made of Splinters in the Best Documentary Film category in 2023, and for Anders Walter and Pipaluk K. Jørgensen’s short Ivalu in Live Action Short category.
This year’s Danish Oscar Selection committee consisted of cinema professionals from different film associations and guilds.
They comprised editor Henrik Thiesen, exhibitor Sune Lind Thomsen, screenwriter Ina Bruhn, film journalist Jacob Ludvigsen, director Lisa Jespersen, cinematographer Louise Mclaughlin, Danish Film Institute execs Jacob Neiiendam and Lena Juhl Seidelin as well as Pernille Bech Christensen of the Danish Producers Association.
“The past few weeks have made it very clear that ‘The Promised Land’ is the strongest Danish candidate to secure a Oscar nomination. It received a fantastic reception from both critics and award experts at its world premiere in the Venice competition as well as at Telluride and Toronto. The film has American distribution through Magnolia, who previously brought Danish films like Nikolaj Arcel’s ‘A Royal Affair’ as well as ‘The Hunt’ and ‘A War’ to the Oscars,” said Neiiendam.
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