Children of the Lowest Heaven

Cannes Docs

Children of the Lowest Heaven

Original title: Ønskeliv

Directed by: Birgitte Stærmose Mortensen

Produced by: Lise Lense-Moeller (Magic Hour Films, Denmark)

Country of production: Denmark, Kosovo, Sweden, Norway, Germany (TBD)

Runtime: 80'

Expected release: May, 2023

Production stage: Late production / early editing

Budget: € 1,022,400 (85% in place)

1st feature: No

Looking for: Festivals, sales agent, gap financing


On the murky streets of postwar Pristina 2009, a group of children sell cigarettes and whisper tales of loss and hope. A decade later these children, now young adults, still fight to survive at the bottom of society in one of Europe’s youngest and poorest nations, where hope is found in religious fundamentalism, or the dream of emigration. A collective portrait of a condition, a state of being.

Director’s profile:

Birgitte Stærmose Mortensen: An internationally acclaimed writer-director of early award-winning shorts and fiction feature films (Darling & Room 304). For the past five years Stærmose has worked internationally as lead director on drama mini-series for HBO, Starz and Netflix (Industry2, The Spanish Princess, In From the Cold and The English Game). She is currently in production on her third feature film Camino. The short hybrid Out of Love, which is an integral part of Children of the Lowest Heaven, was widely awarded internationally and received Best Documentary Award from the Danish Academy.

Producers’s profile:

Film producer, founder, and CEO of Magic Hour Films, a company set up in 1984 and based in Copenhagen. Magic Hour Films develops, produces and co-produces feature documentaries and fiction films for the national and international markets. A large number of productions are international co-productions, and many have received international acclaim, the top winner being Burma VJ by Anders Østergaard with 52 international awards and an Oscar-nomination. Other titles include Into Eternty by Michael Madsen, and Heartbound by Janus Metz and Sine Plambech. In addition, Lise has been teaching international workshops including since 1992 for EAVE, as first group leader, now Head of Studies. Lise also runs a small publishing house.