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Mar 21, 2014

Put the name of a city in the title of your movie and that place is likely to have either a lot to live up to – or down to. In indie filmmaker Mark Raso’s Copenhagen, there are three stories fighting for prominence, none of which is actually a tale of the city in which the movie takes place. William (played by Gethin Anthony) is in Copenhagen with his best friend and best friend’s girlfriend to deliver a message to his grandfather – if he even exists. That’s thread one.

MARK RASO podcast excerpt: "Through the long editing process, a lot of the humor in 'Copenhagen' lost itself on me. What was surprising to me, when the film premiered at Slamdance, was how often people were laughing. I had forgotten that there was a humoristic element to this film. That was nice."

Thread two is that William has a lot of unresolved issues in his life that he hopes will be satisfied by successfully completing his mission in thread one. And that is thread two. Thread three is what happens when William relies upon and becomes smitten with a beautiful young waitress, Effy (played by Frederikke Dahl Hansen), who becomes his guide to navigating her hometown – emotionally and by bike. This final thread is complicated by her own challenges – and age – and threatens to overtake all else.

MARK RASO podcast excerpt: "Columbia University's School of the Arts has its usual screenings and awards at the end of the year. My film, 'Under,' didn't do well there, oddly enough. But one of my film professors said, 'Make sure you submit this to the Student Academy Awards,' and I did... Winning was a tremendous career-enhancing moment."

Copenhagen — which won the 2014 Audience Award at Slamdance — is featured this weekend, March 19-23, 2014, at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in Tampa. After screening the film, I read Variety’s review, which describes it as “more intriguing than compelling.” I disagree. The film is thoroughly compelling, particularly when William and Effy share the screen, although William’s character is perhaps a bit uneven in his emotional responses at times. But at his age – or hers – what can one truly expect? Their chemistry is undeniable, and therein lies the real problem. Unlike in Variety, the filmmaker -- who won the 2012 Student Academy Award (yep, that's an Oscar) for Under -- will have every opportunity to respond and discuss Copenhagen. Here. Now.

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