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We Shall Overcome

English title: We Shall Overcome
Original title: Drømmen
German title: Traum, Der
Denmark, Great Britain, 2005

Director: Oplev, Niels Arden
Production company: Zentropa, Denmark
Co-producers: Sigma Film Ltd, Glasgow
Age recommendation: 10 years and up

Denmark in 1969. It is a time of great upheaval. Even 13-year-old Frits has realised this. But Frits is at the mercy of his tyrannical teacher, who re fuses to acknowledge that times they are a-changing. Frits’ mother buys the small family’s first television and, suddenly, a new age dawns. All summer long Frits laps up everything the goggle box has to offer. He is particularly inspired by news items from the USA. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, his vision for a better world without oppression and racial discrimination impress him just as much as the demonstrations that are taking place in many of the big cities. The seeds of rebellion are sown. As soon as the holidays come to an end, he is determined to put his new-found ideas into practice. And then, when Frits’ teacher punishes him as he always does, Frits decides that enough is enough. The time has come for him to take up the struggle against authority.
Niels Arden Oplev: “It has been fantastic to be allowed to recreate a universe in 1969 that is close to one’s own past. I have always known that DRØMMEN would be an important film for me. Perhaps the most important. It is what you might call a personal film. Not that all films aren’t personal but DRØMMEN is strongly influenced by my memory of that time.” (Kinderfilmfest/14plus Berlin 2006)

The story is based on actual events.

“‘I have a dream!’ – Like Martin Luther King, the film’s main character has the dream not to let human dignity be undermined by the rigid principles of a past age. We were very moved by how this change in the times was presented, as well as by the outstanding performances of the actors and the touching story.” (Children's Jury Kinderfilmfest/14plus Berlin 2006)

Director’s statement:
“This film is strongly influenced by my memory of that time. Much of the story and many of the characters are inspired by actual events and people from that time and from the place where I grew up. […] the film encompasses many emotions. Sometimes light and loving like heat vapours hovering above steaming asphalt on a summer’s day. Other times as cold as frightening  as winter mist blanketing a frozen landscape”. (Niels Arden Oplev)

"We chose 'We shall overcome' as the best film in competition. The plot was interesting and many-sided. There was something in the film that made you watch it intensively all the way to the end. It was true to life, intense and touching. The monstrous headmaster was believable. Plus points go also to the actor in the leading role. The music scenes with the hippie teacher were good. An excellent film on the whole.

The second best film was Johanna Vuoksenmaa’s Onni von Sopanen, and the third place goes to Gilles by Belgian Jan Verheyen."

Director Niels Arden Oplev’s comments after the double victory:

"We shall overcome" is a film about the personal cost of daring to change the lives of yourself and others, to stand up for justice, and to fight for what is  right: Not to live in fear.

The fact that it touches the hearts of so many children and young people, is what means the most to me as a filmmaker." (Children's Jury, Oulu Film Festival 2006)

Marketing strategies:
407.000 admissions in Danish cinemas = best domestic film in Denmark 2006 and nr. 5 of all films in Denmark (nr. 4 was "Pirates of the Caribbean 2" with 520.000 admissions).

Kinderfilmfest/14plus Berlin 2006 (awarded), Sprockets Toronto 2006 (awarded), Zlin 2006 (awarded), Munich 2006, Giffoni 2006 (awarded), Chicago 2006 (awarded), Cinekid Amsterdam 2006 (awarded), San Quentin 2006, Vienna 2006 (awarded), Cinepänz Cologne 2006 (awarded), Discovery Dundee 2006, Ciné-Jeune de l'Aisne 2006, Nordic Filmdays Lübeck 2006, Oulu 2006 (awarded), London Children's Film Festival 2006 (awarded), Carrousel Rimouski/CAN (awarded), Ale Kino Poznan 2006, Antwerp/Brugge 2007 (awarded), Vancouver 2007 (awarded), Montreal 2007 (awarded), BUFF Malmö 2007, Sprockets Toronto 2007, Robert Award 2007, Bodil Award 2007, Hannover 2008 (awarded)

Study guide: Danish

Study guide: English

Study guide: Finnish

Study guide: German

World sales address/es:
TrustNordisk Int. Sales (DK)

Sold to:
Nordisk Film (DK)
Arsenal-Filmverleih (DE)
Matthias-Film (D)
Jef (BE)
In The Air (NL)