Denmark, Germany


Dana welcomes art student Penelope to her home to participate in her performance. The meeting between both women takes an unexpected turn for Dana and leaves her disturbed. To find out what actually has happened between them, Dana musters up the courage to meet Penelope at the opening of her graduation show.

Director's Statement

A STUDY OF EMPATHY studies indeed the behavior of our two main characters, but it also studies the relationship between me as a filmmaker and the viewer. It is the aspect of sculpturing two parallel rooms, inside the film itself and outside in the reality with the person watching it, that I was interested in retrieving through the form of a performance or experiment in the film and its consequences on the film's narrative and in the relationship to the
viewer. A fundamental aspect on which I wanted to reflect on in this film, is the pressure I feel in our society to be empathetic towards each other and demonstrate a permanent emotional availability. I think in the times we live, we have the chance to be physically and virtually connected to as many people as ever before. But how do these connections feel like? From this perspective of insecurity about empathetic connection, the two main characters in my story walk on a thin line on what empathy and connection appear to be. They explore, manipulate and give up on each other while I would like to invite the viewer to delve into their own feelings of empathy within the film’s room, but also beyond it. With this film, I don't want to judge how we empathize, rather understand how our relationship towards empathy has changed.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Hilke Rönnfeldt

Written by: Hilke Rönnfeldt

Produced by: Asbjørn H. Kjelstrup, Hilke Rönnfeldt

Cinematography: Roxana Reiss

Editing: Josefine Svenningsen

Production Design: Josefine Friis Lange

Costume Design: Fredericke Kellberg

Make-Up & Hair: Louise Weiland

Original Score: Leslie Ming

Sound: Juuso Oksala

Visual Effects: Bruno Edelmann

Cast: Sara Klein (Dana), Emilie Claudius Kruse (Penelope), Lisa Carlehed (gallery owner), Mathias Broe (angel in blue)

Nominations and Awards

  • Short Film Candidates 2024