REinvent International Sales has picked up acclaimed director Frederikke Aspöck’s newest feature, EMPIRE – an absurd period drama, which has recently celebrated its World premiere at Göteborg Film Festival in the Nordic Competition. EMPIRE will be featured in the REinvent Promo Reel screening at the European Film Market on February 16th 2023.
Frederikke Aspöck’s debut feature “Out of Bounds” premiered in 2011 at the Cannes Film Festival, and her features hereafter screened at both Moscow, Karlovy Vary, Rotterdam and Göteborg Film Festival. EMPIRE, written by actress and screenwriter Anna Neye, is a story about power and human interdependence set in the Danish West Indies in 1848, which strongly challenges Denmark’s historical amnesia with both deep seriousness and absurd comedy.
“Afro Danes have been written out of the Danish history books in the same way women have. Visibility is important and we have deliberately wanted to create fully fleshed out characters of colour – characters full of agency and resilience. As an Afro-Danish writer I truly long for times when BIPOC are more than just a footnote in Danish history books. At least we deserve our own chapter” – Screenwriter and lead actress Anna Neye
Director Frederikke Aspöck comments: “EMPIRE challenges Denmark’s highly romanticized look upon its own colonial past and does so with a confrontational aesthetic. World history is written by and about white men, which is why EMPIRE deliberately places female Afro-Caribbean characters – enslaved as well as free – at the centre of its story. Through thorough research, the writer Anna Neye and I have done our utmost to try to understand the nuances of the former Danish colonies and how dehumanization affects those living within a terror-based society. In their attempts to survive, the oppressed risk oppressing further, and herein lie the human complexities and power dynamics we have wished to examine.”
Producer Meta Louise Foldager Sørensen adds: “From the very first time I spoke with Anna Neye about making an absurd drama about our Danish colonial history, I knew it was both risky and way too important and exciting not to be a part of. With Anna Neye’s script in the hands of the skilled director Frederikke Aspöck, this chapter in history is finally taken under revision, as many other countries have done before Denmark. It’s about time that a story driven by female characters of colour challenges the collective memory loss of imperialism.”
St. Croix, the Danish West Indies, 1848. Anna Heegaard and Petrine are close friends. Both are women of colour, but their living conditions are very different – Anna is free and owns the enslaved Petrine. Anna shares her life with Danish Governor General Peter von Scholten at her country house, where she manages the home, her fortune and her beloved and trusted housekeeper Petrine. Things are seemingly fine until rumours of a rebellion begin to swirl. Which side are Anna and Petrine really on – and is it the same?
EMPIRE is directed by Frederikke Aspöck and written by Anna Neye. The film is produced by Pernille Skydsgaard, Nina Leidersdorff & Meta Louise Foldager Sørensen for Meta Film in co-production with Brain Academy with support from the Danish Film Institute, Nordic Film & TV Fund, DR & SF Studios in collaboration with SVT & Seven Islands Films. SF Studios handles Nordic distribution.
REinvent handles international sales.
The film will premiere locally on April 20th 2023.
REinvent is a packaging, sales and financing studio all in one. REinvent has extensive knowledge of original trends and sales opportunities in both the Scandinavian and international markets and works with high profile European production companies.
About SF Studios
SF Studios, established in 1919, is one of the world’s oldest film companies. Today SF Studios is the leading film studio in the Nordic region with its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden and offices in Oslo, Copenhagen, Helsinki and London. The company is producing and distributing feature films and TV series as well as providing the streaming service SF Anytime. Alongside its own production operations including Paradox, SF Studios owns the production companies FLX, Filmkameratene and Motion Blur, and is part of the leading Nordic media company Bonnier.