Signe Byrge_Robin Skjoldborg

Walking the red carpet in Hollywood was probably the last thing on Signe Byrge Sørensen’s mind when she started grappling with the 1000 hours of footage that would eventually become “The Act of Killing.” The Danish producer is now being honoured with the highest award in Danish documentary film.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE. Vision and a desire to communicate global issues were always a driving force in the professional life of Signe Byrge Sørensen, recipient of this year’s Roos Award. Photo: Robin Skjoldborg.

Producer Signe Byrge Sørensen is headed for international festivals in Venice and Toronto with her new documentary “The Look of Silence,” Joshua Oppenheimer’s companion piece to “The Act of Killing,” this time giving a voice to the victims of the Indonesian genocide in 1965-66.

“DO NOT BE FOOLED BY HER MODEST DEMEANOUR. SØRENSEN KNOWS WHAT SHE WANTS AND GRACIOUSLY, BUT STUBBORNLY, GOES FOR IT” – ROOS AWARD COMMITTEESørensen founded Final Cut for real in 2009. The modest producer probably never imagined that five short years later she would be walking the most glamorous red carpet in Hollywood as an Oscar nominee for the controversial “The Act of Killing.” But vision and a desire to communicate global issues in film were always a driving force in Sørensen’s professional life. Her social engagement, combined with a capacity for hard work, analytical acumen and great courage, has made her a deeply respected producer among her colleagues in Denmark and abroad.

The Roos Award recognises an outstanding achievement in Danish documentary film. The award committee consists of last year’s winner (Adam Nielsen) and, from the Danish Film Institute, CEO Henrik Bo Nielsen and head of development Ane Mandrup. On the selection of the 44-year-old producer, the award committee says:

“A film producer can be – but is not necessarily – a creative driving force. Signe Byrge Sørensen is much more than a creative producer. In ‘The Act of Killing’ she has shown herself to be a world-class visionary producer. She saw the potential in Joshua Oppenheimer’s material, including more than 1000 hours of footage. She established a professional, creative space around him that made it possible to shape the prodigious material into a film that is innovative and remarkable in all ways. She created the financial space, and by a persistent strategic effort she made sure to get the film out in the world where it received the attention it deserved from critics, audiences and politicians.

Among her colleagues in the film industry, Sørensen is praised for her intellect, seriousness, lack of prejudice and tremendous persistence. When Signe takes on an assignment, she takes full responsibility – production-wise, creatively, ethnically, politically, etc. Do not be fooled by her modest demeanour. Sørensen knows what she wants and graciously, but stubbornly, goes for it.

It is a gift to us all that Signe Byrge Sørensen’s overarching goal is to contribute to a better world with greater equality and social justice. Her films have been known to knock people off their feet, but Sørensen herself stands firm – on the red carpet or among the Syrian refugees who are the subject of an upcoming film.”

Signe Byrge Sørensen

The producer behind The Look of Silence and The Act of Killing has produced films since 1998 and founded her company Final Cut for Real in 2009.

Other films by Signe Byrge Sørensen include Cathedrals of Culture: Halden Prison (dir. Michael Madsen, 2014), The Human Scale (dir. Andreas M. Dalgaard, 2012), The Kid and the Clown (dir. Ida Grøn, 2011), and Football Is God (dir. Ole Bendtzen, 2010). Signe Byrge Sørensen has also co-produced a string of international documentaries. Signe Byrge Sørensen holds an MA in International Development Studies and Communication Studies and is a graduate of Eurodoc (2003) and EAVE (2010).