The Danish comedy film Wild Men, directed by Thomas Daneskov, is selected for the international feature competition at the 20th Tribeca Film Festival, and will premiere on Sunday, June 13th.
The film focuses on Martin, who has fled his family to live far up in the Norwegian mountains in a desperate attempt to cure his midlife crisis. Hunting and gathering like his ancestors did thousands of years ago before supermarkets and smartphones ruined everything.
Ahead of the Tribeca Film Festival 2021, Denmark in New York caught up with Director Thomas Daneskov to discuss the Wild Men, how he got into directing the film and why we must watch his second feature film.
Thomas Daneskov has previously written and directed the short film Puff Puff Pass (2013), which was nominated for a Danish Robert Award for best short fiction and won the talent prize as well as the audience award at Odense International Film Festival. In 2015 he made his feature film debut with ‘The Elite’, which won the main prize at CPH PIX. Wild Men is his second feature.
Denmark in New York: Wild Men will have its world premiere at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival. What does it mean to you, that the film is being screened at one of the world’s most acclaimed film festivals?
Thomas Daneskov: When producer Lina Flint and I found out that Wild Men was going to Tribeca, we almost could not believe it. It is just a great honor to be able to present the film to the world at Tribeca. We have heard so many great things about Tribeca over the years, but never got the chance to go before. Now we are just super exited to meet the audience and hear how they respond to the film.
Tell us about how you first got into directing Wild Men?
TD: The inspiration for this film was twofold: on one hand, we have all experienced men who have an inability to address and deal with their emotions, and on the other hand, there is a persistent human inclination to put a spoke in our own wheel, to make everything a bit more challenging, so you do not feel numb. The notion that if we run a marathon, buy a fancy new bike, do a juice cleanse, or move to a new city, that our problems and responsibilities would simply melt away.
Co-writer Morten Pape, producer Lina Flint and I wanted to take this observation of human experience and up the stakes, with a story of a man who rather than deal with his emotions, chooses to return to the stone-age.
What is the story of Wild Men?
TD: Wild Men is the story about a man who has fled his family, the modern world and all its responsibilities to live on top of a mountain as a cave man. Dressed in fur, hunting and gathering like his ancestors did, before smartphones ruined everything. Nevertheless, his self-actualization project is turned upside down when he meets a drug runner, lost deep in the woods, injured and bleeding after a car accident. And soon they are chased through the woods, by the local chief of police, Musa’s rivals and Martin’s unknowing wife.
How do you think the movie will be received in the US?
TD: Time will have to tell, but hopefully the audience will have a great time watching it. At the heart of the film is a buddy comedy, and a very universal story about how we deal with our problems in times of crisis and how friendship and communication is what can help us get back on track. I think the story is just as relevant to a US audience as it is to the rest of the world.
Why should we go watch Wild Men on the big screen?
TD: We really went all out to capture the intensity of the epic Norwegian nature. It should definitely be enjoyed on a big screen, since we fought so hard shooting it.
When you are writing a screenplay in Denmark, in the summer, you do not realize what it means to be standing on top of a Norwegian mountain in a blizzard. If we really knew, we would probably have made it a short film. So luckily, we were unaware.
Watch Wild Men from home at Tribeca Film Festival on June 14 here.
Katrine Nørholm Jensen is the Strategic Communications and Press intern at Denmark in New York
Sofie Dalhoff Saabye is the Culture and Public Diplomacy intern at Denmark in New York