By Indiewire | Indiewire June 11, 2010 at 5:14AM
When Hitler's arrival to Denmark was immanent, the Danish population got together to hide over 7,000 of their Jewish population. In Karen Cantor and Camilla Kjærulff's "The Danish Solution," the filmmakers tell a story of heroism and strength. Narrated by Garrison Keillor, the film is available to watch instantly through SnagFilms, in the player at the bottom of the page.
"The Danish Solution: The Rescue of the Jews in Denmark"
Directors/Producers: Karen Cantor and Camilla Kjærulff
Editor: Anders Refn
Cinematography: Jesper Bæk-Sørensen and Vibeke Winding
Music: Harold Stephàn
indieWIRE spoke with the directors/producers of "The Danish Solution about their film and their careers.
The filmmakers on making films:
From our experience, making a documentary film is a journey from the idea, through the shadow, to the reality. The significance of saving more than 7000 people was contrasted with the rescuers saying, “it was nothing – just the right thing to do.” Which is maybe why it happened in Denmark.
On meeting and coming to the project...
The Danish Solution was made by Karen Cantor, a US citizen, and Camilla Kjaerulff, a Danish national. We’d met in a documentary film institute at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Both of us had done some film work previously and were determined to learn more. Serving as the co-writers of the student film, we decided to work together on a subsequent documentary. Seeking a topic that interested us both, we came across the story of the miraculous rescue of over 95 percent of Denmark’s Jewish population during WWII. We soon formed a non-profit organization, Singing Wolf Documentaries, Inc. whose mission is to make documentaries with high production values about moral dillemmas.
The challenges of making this film...
Our concern was to tell a compelling story and to be sure it was historically accurate. Because the story has been so mythologized, we wanted to assure that we conveyed not only the facts as they are known but also the most up-to-date analyses of what had actually happened. To assure that, we worked with knowledgeable, well-established historians.
A great challenge in making this film was dispelling the legends. The more we learned, the more we realized that what actually happened was more amazing than the stories that had grown up around the events. Other challenges in developing this project were logistical and financial. As for the latter, significant interest in a good Holocaust story paved the way for raising funds. Because the filming and post-production all took place in Denmark, this meant that the American half of the filmmaking team made many trips to Denmark. More important, however, is that this film was made almost 60 years after the events took place. This meant that many potential interviewees had passed on. Due to Camilla Kjaerulff’s persistence and connections, we were able to find excellent subjects who had been involved in the events of 1943.
Taking the film to audiences...
Audiences tell us that they are enchanted with this film. They enjoy learning about the complex myriad factors that led to saving almost all of Denmark’s Jewish population, they like hearing the personal stories of those who were part of the rescue, and they are entertained with both the humor and the unfolding of the events.
Down the pipeline...
Since this film has been released, Karen Cantor has made a documentary entitled, Last Rights: Facing End-of-Life Choices. Camilla Kjaerulff has worked on a film about a female physician and her family relationships as well as been involved with corporate productions.