Claus Hjorth (Danish Film Institute) : "Our focus in Denmark is a mixture of cultural promotion and film education"

Claus Hjorth works for the Danish Film Institute as Head of Children & Youth Department. He talked to us about the meaning and central role of classics movie in Danish culture.


What did attract you to come to the MIFC this year ?

I was happy to be invited by the European Commission to take part in the discussion on classic films and their actual impact and importance. Seen from the Danish Film Institute the discussion has at least three dimensions: First of all moving images is a central part of our 20th century heritage and a core language in the 21st century . To a large extend young people look and understand our recent history through audiovisual storytelling (fiction and non-fiction). Second, our cultural promotion and film education activities in schools should emphasize this much stronger. Thirdly, classic films is a cultural and artistic fortune for its own sake. Just as children and young people learn how to read and write they should learn the alphabet of film – they won´t be disappointed.

What is the situation of the Danish Classic Films on the Danish market ?

I wouldn’t call it a commercial market. Our focus in Denmark is a mixture of cultural promotion and film education. We think we have good opportunities working together with the industry and cultural and educational partners around Denmark. And we think we reach a large audience in kinder gardens, schools, libraries and other cultural institutions.

How the Danish Film Institute is helping the classic cinema? Does it help the financing of restoration and the distribution ?

Yes, in Denmark we have a strong political focus on digitization of our archive films. We have created a digital streaming service called “Denmark on film” – and these years we are building up the site and the audience. Besides the ongoing digitization the next step is to focus on how we can create an educational concept and framework for classical films.

How is the Danish classic cinema is perceived outside its own country ?

I think that national classic cinema in the first round should focus on its home base. By reaching out to the national audiences we create a better understanding of the cultural impact of these films. However, as many other European countries, Danish films represents art and artists – such as directors, photographers and actors - that have international potential.


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