Blood Ties is about a dysfunctional family, who, despite massive social problems, share a sense unity and love for each other. It is about four children, who are raised by an alcoholic father, Svend, and a rather passive mother, Gitte. It is a story about children, who are forcibly removed from home, when they are young, and who return, as teenagers, to parents, who are still exactly the same as they always were.
It is a film about the consequences of growing up at the very bottom of society, a place best described as “the lawless sub-existence”.
Original titel: Blodets Bånd
English titel: Blood Ties
Directors: Pernille Bervald Jørgensen & Christian Sønderby Jepsen
Producer: Helle Faber
Produceret by Made in Copenhagen in cooperation with Vega Pictures and TV2Denmark with the support from The Danish Film Institute.
Duration: 83 min
Format: DVD 16:9 video PAL
Year of production: 2013
Production country: Denmark
Language: Danish with English subtitles
International sales: DRSales v/ Charlotte Gry Madsen firstname.lastname@example.org
FB: Blood Ties
Pernille Bervald Jørgensen:
Pernille Bervald Joergensen was born in 1987. She has grown up in the small Danish town Hadsund. Blood Ties is her debut documentary film.
From2007 – 2008, Pernille attended the European Film College in Ebeltoft.
In 2010, she received a grant from the Danish Foreign Ministry, and went to Sierra Leone in Africa in order to make the documentary: ”Forsoningens Dilemma”; a film about a child soldier and his victims.
The film recieved a prize as the best granted film.
In June 2013 she graduates as TV Director from the Danish School of Media and Journalism.
Christian Sønderby Jepsen
Christian was born in 1977 and grew up in Tarm, an even smaller town in the western part of Jutland, Denmark. Christian has traveled extensively all over the world and has attended both the School of Architecture and the University before he ended up at The National Film School of Denmark, majoring in documentary film making, from which he graduated in 2007. Since then he has directed more than a few films. Apart from "Blood Ties" 2013, he has been behind the award-winning “The Will” 2011,"Fuglekongerne" 2011, ”My Cousin the Pirate” 2010 about piracy in Somalia and the web documentary series “Doxwise” 2009. Christian had his debut in 2009 with “Side by side” about two conflicting neighbors. This film also got him a number of international prizes.
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Read about Pernille and Christians motiovation for the making of Blood Ties.
The film explores the complex structures of the concept of family, where neglect and violence goes hand in hand with a sense of unity and love. Svend, their father, constantly does all the things that a parent is not supposed to do – but, his own social background taken into consideration, he is probably doing the best he can.
Blood Ties shows how difficult it can be to break the social heritage even when public authorities get involved.
Despite everything that Svend and Gitte’s children have been through, they all seem to agree on one thing, the forced removal from their home was the worst part. Just like they all agree that sending them back was a mistake too. You can’t help thinking, if perhaps it would have made more sense to ask Svend to leave, instead, and demand that he go to rehab? Are we mainly protecting the rights of adults at expense of those of the children?
Story: Svend has 16 children, the four youngest together with Gitte, who he is now divorcing after a very turbulent, 28 year long marriage. This decision collides with their youngest daughter Christina’s decision to move out. This drastic change in the family gives rise to a series of questions – especially for Christina, who is about to enter adulthood without really remembering much from her childhood at all. For example, Christina would very much like to know, why her and her three siblings were forcibly removed from home when they were little. But Svend and Gitte seem to suffer from a rare kind of collective memory lapse and they are not able to come up with a reasonable answer to this question. They both seem to think that the forced removal was based on false accusations by a close relative.
To help his daughter – and to help his own memories come back - Svend requests full access to municipality files on his family. He is convinced, that by reading through all the old documents, he will be able to prove, once and for all, to Christina and to the rest of the world, that the forcible removal was a mistake. So one day a huge box of case files, regarding Svend and his many children, arrives. Together with Christina and her sister, Michelle, Svend digs his way through a past that no one seems to recall much of – and the three of them embark on a journey, that is anything but pretty.
If I did all that, I shouldn’t be allowed to live, exclaims Svend, as he makes his way through hundreds of pages that amongst other things also map out Svend’s massive alcohol and drug abuse. It mentions, for example, how he did lines of coke off the coffee table right in front of his kids, and how unpredictable he was, when under the influence of booze and drugs.
But despite all the skeletons in the cupboards, and despite the many letdowns, Christina and her siblings still love their father and they look up to him, as the always entertaining and unifying figure of their family. Everybody knows Svend and his door is always open, both to his children and their friends. He often bakes for them and when it is someone’s birthday, he always makes the cake. On the outside, he is a charming, caring and fun father.
My children never lacked nothing, explains Svend, who for several years was on the school board at the children’s school. But soon Svend must admit to himself that there has to be some truth in it, when so many different authorities have questioned the wellbeing of his children. The box of files becomes a rude awakening to a reality that the entire family has tried to repress. The question is if these realizations will also lead to change?
The film is produced by made in copenhagen
The production company was established in 2010 by producer Helle Faber, who is also the CEO of the company. The company has produced awardwinning films like Au Pair, Shady Chocolate and Putins Kiss.