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Death of a Child

Producers Anne Köhncke


Death by hyperthermia is the official designation. A parent forgets a child in a car, misremembering having dropped them off and leaves the child for so many hours that the child dies of heatstroke.

These unpleasant stories sometimes reach the news. Often with the same reactions of hatred toward the parent. Janette Fennel, founder of, explains this tendency: “People want them to be monsters. They feel that by saying these things and dissociating anything about themselves and these parents, that could protect them.”

Happening on average every ninth day in the US, there may be no act of human failure that more fundamentally challenges our society’s views about crime, punishment, justice and mercy.

Because what kind of person forgets a child? And what about the aftermath?

What happens to these parents? How does it affect the spouse, the family and surroundings: friends, acquaintances, school or daycare? How can one live on with this guilt? And as heartbreaking as it might be, can we as a society gain by them telling their stories? Are there things to learn from hearing about the worst thing a parent can experience?

About The Team

Frida Barkfors (Director) was born and raised in Sweden and graduated as a fiction director from the National Film School of Denmark in 2009. Filmography: Pervert Park, 75 min. documentary, 2014; Tick Tick Boom, 29 min. fiction, 2009.

Lasse Barkfors (Director) was born and raised in Denmark. He graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art in 2012. Filmography: Pervert Park, 75 min. documentary, 2014.

Anne Köhncke (Producer) is originally from Norway and has lived in Copenhagen since 1997. She’s been co-founder and producer at Final Cut for Real since 2009. Recent titles: The Act of Killing (2012) and The Look of Silence (2014), Pebbles at Your Door (2015), Pervert Park (2014) and Life Is Sacred (2014).

Death of a Child is a Cinereach grantee.