Vibeke Windeløv
Film producer
KOKOON Portraits # 16

Film producer and former theatre manager at Betty Nansen, Vibeke Windeløv (67), is entering a new phase of her life. Even though she loves challenges and had a rewarding work life, she has resigned her job and now looks forward to being immersed in books and spend more time with the family.


What characterizes your life right now?

For the first time I work less. Actually, I’m not afraid to stop working, as I have always been a freelancer and great at keeping myself on my toes. I resigned, because I can feel, I aged, and I want to fill my days with things beside work. Life at the theatre requires a lot of time. When I was in full swing, my work days was from 5.30 am till late evening, where I saw plays either here (at Betty Nansen, ed.) or elsewhere. From time to time the years at Betty Nansen have been extra demanding, as it was a new field to me, but I have been so happy. It has been a gift to enter this community. You’ll find an intimacy in the world of theatre unlike on a movie set and I’m incredible fun of the team, I have had here at the theatre.

I won’t stand still. My life has always been filled with travels. When I worked in the film industry, I travelled, raised funds and assigned actors for the movies of Lars von Trier and Susanne Bier. I lived in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Düsseldorf, where I throughout the years got a lot of friends, but I never had the time to see them. Now, I look forward to visiting them. And I have already accepted bookings for occasional talks, but it shouldn’t be too often. You get tired of hearing yourself talk.


People or turning points that have helped define who you are today?

My mother has been pivotal to who I have become. She was very energetic and engaged in all sort of things. I was brought up on that level of activity. In terms of events especially two springs to mind. One is leaving for the United States at the age of 18 and working as an au pair in a very funny and intellectual milieu at Princeton. The year was 1969, probably the luckiest year in the last century. All sort of monumental things happened – Woodstock, the Moon landing, the peace movement against the Vietnam war, hippies and music – music we play till this day. It was a great year.

Afterwards I began studying psychology at the University of Copenhagen, but I returned to Princeton for a few semesters. Besides providing me with excellent English, it also left me with a feeling that the world is your oyster. This was a huge gift, that has affected how I would work later on in life. The other event was assisting my boyfriend at the time, the artist Per Kierkeby, filming Normannerne in 1974. Coincidentally this was my way into the movie business. At the time, it never occurred to me to go down this path. The National Film School of Denmark was never an option, but suddenly I realized, that my flair for speaking with lots of different people and make them choose a specific path was something, I could turn to my advantage. And even make money off. So, this ended up as my career.


Are you easily touched?

Yes, all it takes is a Lassie film… I’ll cry over everything.


Have you met someone who made you look at things differently?

Almost every person I have meet or been in contact with for a longer period have made me look at the world differently. Everybody is unique – meeting a person and having a short conversation is all it takes. As was the case when I meet the author of Dødevaskeren, Sara Omar. I had read her book, which really touched me, even though it didn’t portray a situation I wasn’t already familiar with. After all I have read the statistics, newspaper articles, everything… Still everything changes the moment you get an emotional commitment. I have always taken an interested in new bonds. I’m always curious, when I meet a person I find interesting. I have a few girlfriends, I have had for many years, but actually the friends I meet up with the most are the ones I made after my divorce. I love meeting new people.


What is important to you?

My family. My children, grandchildren, my husband and stepchildren.


What does love mean to you?

To put it shortly, love is difficult yet necessary. I couldn’t stand being an individual, who didn’t feel loved. I couldn’t live in a void without love. The drawback to love is the fear of something happening to your children and grandchildren. That they’ll grow up and have a poor life because of the way we neglect the earth. But love is also the stuff, that keep a family together, and make you want to live. Luckily, I have found a man who is a really good and generous person. At times difficult, but he’s really the kind of person who thinks about others before himself. It can become problematic that you love many different people and it might be hard to prioritize. Sometimes this can result in you actually hurting the people you love.