Juan Palacios’ ‘As the Tide Comes In,’ About Island Endangered by Climate Change, Boarded by Lightdox (EXCLUSIVE)

France-based sales agency Lightdox has acquired the international rights to feature documentary “As the Tide Comes In” by Basque director Juan Palacios, co-directed with Sofie Husum Johannesen, ahead of its Nordic premiere at the 47th edition of Göteborg Film Festival. The film is competing for the Dragon Award as part of the Nordic Documentary Competition, and plays at CPH:DOX in the Highlights section in March.

“As the Tide Comes In” had its world premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in November, where it was part of the International Competition. (Read Variety‘s interview with Palacios here).

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“As the Tide Comes In” is a portrait of the microcosm of life on the island of Mandø in the Danish Wadden Sea and its 27 residents. The tiny island is endangered by severe weather and flooding, exacerbated by climate change, which now poses a serious existential threat to the community. However, the residents stubbornly cling to their identity as islanders, as they have done for generations.

Bojana Maric, head of sales and acquisitions at Lightdox, commented: “We were immediately taken with the film, which stands out with its cinematic quality and subtle but powerful approach to the subject matter. ‘As the Tide Comes In’ is as poetic and heartwarming as it is urgent and significant. A visually stunning piece of cinema that presents the reality of climate change and depopulation as it is happening now, right in the heart of Europe.”

The residents of Mandø are used to severe weather and flooding. Climate change has only made things worse. However, its last farmer, Gregers, whose family has lived there for eight generations, hasn’t given up in the face of the impending catastrophe. He refuses to build a life elsewhere and instead hopes to find a wife to manage the farm with him.

As a storm is slowly approaching, Gregers and his faithful dog inspect the obsolete dikes that protect his beloved island.

In the meantime, Mie blows out the candles of her 100th-year birthday cake, Ellen and Ingeborg complain about the moon disease they suffer from, birdwatcher Niels laments about the rare birds that don’t visit the island anymore, and tourist guide Preben tells stories about how Mandø’s entire community was almost completely wiped out during a storm surge in 1634 to summer visitors who come and go on a daily basis.

Despite the new threats from the rising sea, today’s current generation holds on steadfastly to their little part of the world.

“As the Tide Comes In” is produced by Kasper Lykke Schultz together with creative and executive producer Andreas Dalsgaard of Copenhagen-based Elk Film with support from the Danish Film Institute.

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