The dancers were extremely agile. Pirouettes, dancing on points and entrechats succeeded one another. The glade’s decor made the stage comical. At that time cinema was only just starting out. The camera was fixed on the dance and drama scenes. In his little studio of only a few metres squared, Peter Elfelt, the pioneer of Danish cinema had countless dance troupes parade by. Proof that the dance movements were imprinted on the film perfectly. —Europa Film Treasures
Peter Elfelt (1866–1931) was a Danish photographer and film director known as the first movie pioneer in Denmark when he began making documentary films in 1897.
Peter Elfelt was born Peter Lars Petersen in Denmark on 1 January 1866. (He changed his name to Elfelt when he began making films.) He apprenticed in photography in Hillerød in 1893 with the photographer Carl Rathsack. He also studied with the camera builder Jens Poul Andersen. In 1893, Elfelt opened his own atelier in Copenhagen with his two brothers as his assistants. As his photographic skills became appreciated, his business flourished and by 1901 Elfelt was named “Kongelige Hoffotograf” (Royal Court Photographer).
During a trip to Paris in 1896, Elfelt obtained a set of detailed Cinematographe plans from the French inventor Jules Carpentier. He had a film camera constructed by Jens Poul Andersen. In the beginning of 1897, he shot the first Danish film — a one minute sequence called Kørsel med Grønlandske Hunde… read more