Channel chases Nordic pix

Prod'n co.s to exchange product for Skandinavia stake

GOTHENBURG, Sweden — A channel devoted to Nordic fare, Skandinavia, is set to launch this year.

Based at Filmbyen, outside Copenhagen, the channel is repped by Niels Aalbaeck Jensen who is signing up producers and directors for what he hopes will be an elite channel.

“We want to broadcast the very best films that Scandinavia has to offer,” he says.

Skandinavia, which will have subscription and video-on-demand elements, aims to secure worldwide distribution.

Initially the channel will depend on library product, but it is also going to sign up new features for VOD.

“VOD is the future,” Aalbaeck Jensen says. “It will not be many years before filmmakers like Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg make features directly for VOD.

“We want to make quality TV for people who know and appreciate [Scandinavian] culture,” he adds. “We will talk with companies in different countries regarding distribution via cable and we will sign on where we can get the best deals. I’ve been in talks with Rupert Murdoch’s channels and Microsoft, which is set to become the world’s biggest carrier for VOD.”

Skandinavia is backed by Danish investment companies, Vesterhavet, and CatPen.

Some 50 production companies have agreed to supply product in exchange for an equity stake, including Zentropa, Gota Film, Omega, Sweetwater, Clausen Film and Kinoproduktion.

The aim is to have up to 100 signed up before Skandinavia closes its lists on March 1. Aalbaeck Jensen is travelling to the Berlin Film Festival, which begins Feb. 10, to enlist more backing.

Anita Oxburgh, managing director at Sweden’s Migma Film and chairman of the Swedish film producer’s org, was one of the first to sign on.

“Every new outlet where we can get our films shown is something positive,” she says. “All we contribute is our product, which is already made. We have nothing to loose.”

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