Zentropa is currently the leading Scandinavian film production company in the world. It has been in this position since 1994. It works with a decentralized autonomous company structure that sets it apart from competition. It creates space for fresh ideas as well as alternative production techniques. It was a pioneer in regards to shaping groundbreaking projects like “Dogma concept” that several directors adopt globally. Such culture has made it possible for the firm to attract the best talent in Scandinavian and Danish film industries as well as build a unique brand.
The organization was established 1992. It was an end-product of co-operation between producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen and Lars von Trier, a director. It has managed to produce over a hundred international films as well as numerous world-class co-productions, features, and low budget products.
Bullying and Sexual Harassment Allegations
Recently, the production company has been accused of fostering an environment that promotes bullying, degradation, and sexual harassment by nine Danish women. Politiken a Danish newspaper reported that labor inspectors were looking into these accusations. It came about after Politiken published allegations from women like Meta Louise Foldager Sørensen who reported about contaminated office spaces. She was Zentropa’s employee from 2006- 2010. “Melancholia” and “Antichrist” are examples of productions she worked on.
Anna Mette Lundtofte, a journalist, and writer also made similar allegations. She was part of the production company team working for three years before publishing a book in 2013 known as
“Zentropia. Björk, an Icelandic musician, is also on the list of the accusers. On October 2017, she said that a Danish Film Director harassed her as she was working on his movie years back. Bjork was part of the film “Dancer in the Dark” that con Trier was responsible for directing. The only other movie she was part of was “The Juniper Tree” that Nietzchka Keene was in charge of directing.
Sørensen claimed that everyone working for the firm has had to witness or be exposed to some things. These include ‘teasing,’ bullying, or sexually charged deeds. She claimed that these were inbuilt as part of the company’s culture. Lundtofte claims that she saw ladies who were subject to degradation at Zentropa. After leaving the firm, she became a co-founder of SAM productions teaming up with Soren Sveistrup working on Borgen “Adam Price” and “The Killings.”
The reports point to Peter Aalbæk who is the former CEO and co-founder of the organization. Several women accuse him of sexual misconduct. People who worked in the company stated that he would spank ladies and grope their breasts. There were also claims that Peter organized “numerous sexually degrading acts at Christmas parties on stage. No direct accusations mention von Trier in the reports.
Responding to the article with all those claims Jensen said that he had no interest in humiliation and submission. He further went to state that challenging boundaries interest him even up to redlines. Anders Kjærhauge Zentropa’s managing director told Variety that he was not going to comment on the accusations. He went on to say that the firm would look into all its practices and issue a set of guidelines that will cover the working environment and culture of the company. He was heard saying that the allegations were personal experiences and he was sad that it was not the company he knows.
Anders finished by saying that the firm would start a process with everyone who works there to come up with a clear vision as to what is a suitable working environment. He reminded people that Zentropa has always been an act of balance between men and women, business and art, and chaos and rules. He said that the reports would prompt the organization to do a service check on its operations.
An official statement from management of the production company said that no one would give or receive smacks as punishment or rewards. It continued to state that the culture of Zentropa will remain alternative and colorful without insulting or violating the rights of employees.