Hans Petter Moland

In May, when Denmark’s Zentropa Entertainments commences principal photography in Germany for A Conspiracy of Faith – the third instalment in the Department Q franchise based on Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen’s thrillers – veteran Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland will be at the reins.

Originally, Danish director NikolajArcel (King’s Game/2004, A Royal Affair/2012), who has written the screenplays for the first three parts of the series, had been signed up to direct, but he is busy working on numerous projects in the US, so Danish producer and Zentropa CEO Peter Aalbæk Jensen turned to Moland, who most recently made In Order of Disappearance(2014).

Supported by the Danish Film Institute and Eurimages, the €5.1 million A Conspiracy of Faith follows detective superintendent Carl Mørck of Copenhagen Police’s Department Q, specialising in “cases of special focus”; one day he receives a long-forgotten message in a bottle at a police station in the far reaches of Scotland: the first word, “Help”, is in Danish and written in blood.

Mørck (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), his sidekick Assad (Swedish actor Fares Fares) and their assistant Rose (Johanne Louise Schmidt) find out it was sent by two young brothers, held prisoner in a boathouse by the sea. But who are they, why were they never reported missing, and could they still be alive? The head of the police (Søren Pilmark) will make sure they are kept busy.

Directed by Mikkel Nørgaard, the first two films in the series were The Keeper of Lost Causes and The Absent One; the former went to number one in the Danish charts in 2013, with 725,000 admissions, while the latter shot to the top in 2014, selling 768,000 tickets. A Conspiracy of Faith is produced by Louise Vesth, Jonas Bagger and Peter Aalbæk Jensen, for Zentropa Entertainments.

Nordisk Film Distribution will release the title domestically in late 2015. Denmark’sTrustNordisk, which handles international sales, has licensed the first parts of the franchise to Sundance Selects for US distribution, and The Keeper of LostCauses will this week (27 March) launch the new digital distribution platform set up by France’s Wild Bunch, covering 80% of the country’s households.

– Cineuropa