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6:40 AM PDT 4/8/2016 by Scott Roxborough
Peter Aalbaek Jensen has stepped down as CEO of Zentropa, now Scandinavia's largest production company.
Groundbreaking European film producer Peter Aalbaek Jensen has resigned as CEO of Zentropa, the production company he co-founded with infamous Danish director Lars von Trier.
Jensen and von Trier launched Zentropa in 1992. Over the past 24 years, the banner has produced more than 70 films. Many were from von Trier, including Dancer in the Dark, Melancholia and Nymphomaniac. But the company is far from a one-director firm and has shepherded to screen movies such as Susanne Bier's Oscar winner In a Better World, Thomas Vinterberg's The Hunt and local box-office hits such as crime drama The Keeper of Lost Causes. It is Scandinavia's largest film production company.
Jensen is credited as a pioneer in film financing, particularly in developing co-productions, in which multiple companies across several countries pool money and resources to get independent features made.
Jensen announced his resignation on Friday, April 8, his 60th birthday. In a statement, he said he wanted to go out on top, highlighting his company's “latest victories” including features The Commune and A Conspiracy of Faith, which have sold more than 1.2 million tickets in Danish theaters so far this year. “On top of that, Trine Dyrholm won the Silver Bear [at the Berlin International Film Festival] for her part in The Commune,” Jensen added. Zentropa's latest, The Day Will Come, which Jensen produced, is set to open in Denmark on April 21.
Anders Kjaerhauge, currently head of legal at Zentropa, will take over as CEO, but the company says management will be a collective effort, also involving CFO Frederik Nemeth, Rikke Ennis, CEO of sales group TrustNordisk Rikke Ennis and leading production executives Louise Vesth and Sisse Graum Jorgensen.
Jensen will continue to work as a film producer on his own projects and will remain a shareholder in Zentropa, with a 25 percent stake, shared with von Trier.