Have you seen Don McKellar?

Five questions for Mark Raso, Writer and Director of Copenhagen

Mark Raso clearly wants to make the type of films that linger long afterwards. His film Copenhagen, which is playing at the Magic Lantern Carlton Cinema in Toronto, and is an absolute joy to behold is an amazing experience in the Danish city, though some may not gravitate to the story, the film will definitely inspire discussion. The film centers on William, a loutish Canadian looking to unlock the secrets of his past, who is quickly accompanied by Effy, a wise-beyond-her-years local of the city. The film stars Gethin Anthony, known to audiences as Renly Baratheon from Game of Thrones and Frederikke Dahl Hansen, an unknown who should not stay as such for long. We had the chance to sit down with Mark Raso at the Soho House.

What do you think resonates with people the most about your film?

Audiences fall in love with it, and I think that can become difficult to internally mute after you’re watching the film. Getting the audience to step into his feet is what makes it work, and also makes the audience very uncomfortable…as we watch him on his journey, trying to understand who he is, and shed that burden in his past, it also resonates with audiences on different levels.

Quite a casting coup as well, too!

Yeah, it was great. She’s obviously fantastic. She’s been nominated for Bodil Awards, which is Danish Oscars before Copenhagen, and I think, without hyperbole, she’s a generational talent. He’s the perfect person to count at the right time, coming off Game of Thrones, and he’s actually playing Charles Manson in a new NBC show called Aquarius. He is a star on the rise, and I think that they both kind of came together at the right time.

How did you come up with the vibrancy of the film?

We shot in the summertime, and there is about eighteen hours of daylight in the day. So you’re getting that ‘high sun’ almost all day, no matter when you’re shooting, which is very nice, transitioning into dusk is easy because you get a few hours of that naturally during the day. It was all part of the plan.

Was it hard shooting in Copenhagen?

It was much easier to film in Copenhagen that we had ever imagined. They were very open to us. They kind of knew what we were doing, but we were small enough that we stayed out of everyone’s way. I’m from Toronto, and I was coming from New York because I was graduating from school. (In Copenhagen) they make fewer films with bigger budgets. The indie film isn’t really a thing. They were excited about it, much more than they might have been here.

Does the reaction surprise you?

Somewhat, yeah. Even though that was your goal, to set out to make the best film that you could make, one that moves and influences people, you never know if you’re going to succeed. I didn’t really know what we had, until the first screening at Slamdance, and hearing and seeing the audience’s reaction, that they were so excited about it, I kind of realized, okay, we succeeded in our mission.