As WW2 approaches an end, a group of German POWs – boys rather than men – are captured by the Danish army and forced to engage in a deadly task: the defusing and clearing of land mines along the Danish coast. The boys, who have had little or no training, soon discover the war to be far from over.
Inspired by real events, Land of Mine reveals the untold story of a tragic moment in post-war history.
Motivation of the adjudication committee
Telling a compelling story about a person’s development is one thing. Recreating history and truly placing us in the middle of it is something else entirely. And it is still something else to dare challenge the Danish national spirit where it hurts. Martin Zandvliet’s Land of Mine deftly accomplishes all three with its almost unbearably intense story of teenage German soldiers forced to remove mines along the west coast of Jutland after the Second World War. It is impossible to view Land of Mine without reflecting on one’s view of human nature and one’s national sentiments.
Director/Screenwriter – Martin Zandvliet
Martin Zandvliet (b.1971) started out by editing documentary films. His first film as a director, Angels of Brooklyn (2002), won a Robert Award for Best Documentary.
Zandvliet made his international breakthrough in 2009 with his feature debut, Applause, which won a Best Actress award for Paprika Steen in Karlovy Vary, just one of the film’s many worldwide accolades. His second film, A Funny Man, about the popular late Danish comedian Dirch Passer, was both a critical and box office success in Denmark and its number one local film in 2011. The war drama Land of Mine opened Toronto’s new “Platform” auteur sidebar in 2015. So far the film has won 23 awards, including the Dragon Award Best Nordic Film at the Göteborg International Film Festival 2016. Next the director will be turning to post-war Japan in his English-language debut, The Outsider, starring Jared Leto.
As a screenwriter, Zandvliet has twice collaborated with Mads Matthiesen (Teddy Bear, The Model), and his next project, White Dog, was co-written by Anders August for director Asger Leth.
Producer – Mikael Rieks
Mikael Rieks (b. 1969) is a 1992 graduate of the Copenhagen Media and Television School. In 2003 he joined Nordisk Film, where he worked on the acclaimed documentaries Overcoming by Tómas Gislason (2005), Ghosts of Cité Soleil by Asger Leth (2006), and Charlotte Sachs Bostrup's family film Karla's World (2007).
In 2008 he founded his own company, Koncern Film, where he produced Martin Zandvliet’s feature films Applause and A Funny Man. In 2012 he teamed up again with Nordisk Film to produce Zandvliet’s third feature, Land of Mine.
Rieks’s upcoming projects for Nordisk Film include Asger Leth’s English-language film White Dog, based on an original idea by Zandvliet. This drama about two skinhead brothers is set in post 9/11 Pittsburg, USA. Rieks was a Producer on the Move at Cannes 2013.
Original title: Under sandet
Director: Martin Zandvliet
Screenwriter: Martin Zandvliet
Producer: Mikael Rieks
Production company: Nordisk Film Production
Principal cast: Roland Møller, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Louis Hofmann, Joel Basman
Running time: 101 minutes
Danish distribution: Nordisk Film
International distribution: K5 International
Eva Novrup Redvall, Jacob Wendt Jensen, Per Juul Carlsen