The 69th Berlin International Film Festival will open on February 7, 2019 with the world premiere of Lone Scherfig’s newest film The Kindness of Strangers. The Kindness of Strangers is a contemporary drama following a disparate ensemble of characters, all in their own way struggling to survive in a New York City winter, who find laughter, love and kindness in each other. The opening film will participate in the international competition.
“How lovely that Lone Scherfig is back and that her most recent work will open the 2019 Berlinale. Her feel for characters, strong emotions and subtle humor promises a wonderful start to the festival”, says Dieter Kosslick, director of the Berlinale.
Lone Scherfig comments: “I am truly honored that Dieter Kosslick has selected our film to celebrate such a festive and important evening. It will be a great joy to watch it for the first time alongside the renowned Berlinale audience.”
Since the beginning of her career, the Danish director and screenwriter Lone Scherfig has been a guest of the Berlinale numerous times. In 1990 she presented The Birthday Trip (Kaj’s fødselsdag) in Panorama, and in 1998 her film On Our Own (Når mor kommer hjem…) screened in the Kinderfilmfest (now known as Generation).
Her breakthrough and the start of her international career was the Dogme film Italian For Beginners (Italiensk for begyndere), which won the Jury Prize Silver Bear at the 2001 Berlinale. Two years later, her film Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself (Wilbur begår selvmord) was presented in a Competition Special Screening.
Her film An Education screened at the 2009 festival in Berlinale Special and received three Academy Award nominations.
In addition, Lone Scherfig wrote the script for A Serious Game (Den allvarsamma leken directed by Pernilla August), which opened at Berlinale Special Gala in 2016.
The ensemble cast of The Kindness of Strangers – based on the screenplay written by Lone Scherfig herself – stars Zoe Kazan, Tahar Rahim, Andrea Riseborough, Caleb Landry Jones, with Jay Baruchel and Bill Nighy.
The English-language Denmark-Canada co-production with Sweden, France and Germany was filmed in Toronto, Copenhagen and New York.