Panum location for new film – University of Copenhagen

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16 September 2015

Panum location for new film

Film

He is one of the writers behind top box office films like Fasandræberne (The Pheasant Killers), A Royal Affair and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. For the first time, screenwriter Rasmus Heisterberg will now step into the role of director of his new film, I blodet (In the Blood), where a key part of the action takes place at Panum, with the main character being a medical student.

I got the idea for the film when I lived in the USA and missed Copenhagen. With its raw energy, light nights and people in the streets at all times of day, summers in Copenhagen are quite unique. It's owned by people in their 20s, and it was here I got the idea of combining the city's special life with a period characterised by rootlessness, chaos and longing. 'I blodet' portrays the life of young people in their 20s – a turbulent, chaotic and dramatic period of everyone's life. This is when you start to create your identity, your choices start to have consequences, and you slowly take on more responsibilities", says film director Rasmus Heisterberg. 

In the film, we follow Simon, a medical student at the University of Copenhagen in his 20s. Academia is the setting for a large part of the action, and some of the footage is therefore shot at Panum. The shooting of the film took place during the summer holidays, while the majority of students and employees were on holiday, and there was therefore both room and time for the crew to immerse themselves in Panum's brutalist architecture, winding corridors and nooks and the special atmosphere pervading the 40-year-old building.

Contrasts, up and downs and wild energy
"A large part of the action unfolds in Copenhagen, which is a co-narrator in the film. We have shot many scenes around the city, which provide an insight into the metropolis and its urban life. Therefore, it was quite a change to shoot at Panum with its unique tranquillity. The contrast between the stringent, cool and linear Panum and the vibrant chaotic city gives a good picture of the opposites that are a basic condition of the film," says Rasmus Heisterberg and continues:

"The same contrast is also found in the world of medicine. The medical profession also contains many of the same contradictory concepts. On one hand, it is a discipline driven by rationale and facts. On the other hand, it is one of the most humanistic subjects, the highest purpose of which is to help people. As a doctor, you work with births and death, power and powerlessness, nature and transcendence. These contrasts are similar to the ups and downs you experience in your 20s, so it was a deliberate decision that the main character in my film should be a part of this world".

A new artistic process
Rasmus Heisterberg trained as a screenwriter at The National Film School of Denmark. He is 40 years old, lives in the Copenhagen district of Nørrebro, and this film marks his directorial debut.

"As a screenwriter, I'm used to letting go of the process when the script is finished. As a writer, you also have the luxury of being able to put your work aside and then start again where you finished off. As a director, it's a different ball game. Here, you'll have to decide on the spot, whether you are satisfied with your product and act on it. You must regularly set and develop a framework, which must be constantly changed depending on the artistic process, advice from your crew or force majeure events in the form of bad weather or other factors that affect the scenes," says Rasmus Heisterberg and emphasises that the role as a film director is both fun, challenging and instructive.

"There is a special energy about a film crew. We're all working towards the same goal, and it's fantastic to experience that everyone feels a sense of ownership of the story and contribute their professional and artistic input. Where I used to be the designer of the drama, I have now also become a part of the physical universe in which the drama unfolds," says Rasmus Heisterberg.

'I blodet' premieres in summer 2016.