Screen Daily: TrustNordisk boards Danish queer sex drama ‘Sauna’ as filming begins (exclusive)

By Ben Dalton / Screen Daily



Nordic sales powerhouse TrustNordisk is launching international sales on queer sex drama Sauna, which has begun filming this month in Denmark.

Set in the Copenhagen queer community, the film follows Johan, a young man who believes he can find community working in a gay sauna, and who then falls in love when he meets transgender William.

It is the feature debut for Danish director Mathias Broe, who wrote the film with William Lippert based on Mads Ananda Lodahl’s novel of the same name.

Mads-August Hertz is producing for Nordisk Film Production with support from the New Danish Screen at the Danish Film Institute, DR and Nordic Film Distribution, which will release Sauna in Nordic countries.

Magnus Juhl Andersen and Nina Rask reunite on the cast, having previously co-starred in Danish series Carmen Curlers.

Amfi, Broe’s graduation film from alternative Danish film school Super16, received a nomination for best short documentary film at the 2020 Danish Film Awards.

Broe’s own partner began the gender transition process while the film was in development. “Suddenly I felt so much closer to the love story and my main characters,” says the filmmaker.

“We pitch the film as a reverse Romeo And Juliet story, because we want to make people see that love exists in community rather than only focusing on romantic love,” said Broe.

The filmmaker claims that Sauna will be the first Danish film with a trans person in a lead role. “There are not a lot of actors who are trans in Denmark,” said Broe. “There’s still a big gap in the industry in terms of representation; that’s why it is so important that we get to make these stories.”

“We are aware of the challenges that the trans community is facing and we want to contribute in a positive way. As a director I’m interested in building bridges between people and in our society, but it’s even more important for me to create something that makes the audience feel seen and transformed.”

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Mathias Broe