Region finds film fest a great place to meet and greet

Scandi biz drawn to intimate Haugesund | Norwegian Film Commission lures productions | Nordic helmers in focus

The organizers of the Norwegian Intl. Film Festival in Haugesund think smaller is better.

“That way, everybody has a chance to meet each other,” says the fest’s honorary president, Liv Ullmann. “Producers, directors, actors — they all meet and mingle, and can also enjoy these spectacularly beautiful surroundings.”

Now in its 38th year, the Norwegian fest, once again held in the coastal town of Haugesund, is one of the highlights of the region’s film year, a place where Scandinavian bizzers meet, see new works and network. The Amanda Awards are handed out during the fest, as well as the Liv Ullmann Honorary Award; this year, Vanessa Redgrave and Catherine Deneuve are honorees.

“I try to go to the fest as often as I can. It all depends on my work,” says Ullmann, who will tour Norway in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” in the fall.

While the fest attracts the key players in the Scandi entertainment industry, this is an event focused on the public, with films such as “Toy Story 3,” “Salt,” “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” “Letters to Juliet,” “Tamara Drewe,” “I Am Love,” “The Expendables” and Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” unspooling, along with special sections highlighting recent films from the U.K. and Ireland and from the Nordic countries.

This year, festival director Gunnar Johan Lovvik and program director Hakon Skogrand have tapped Marie Sodahl’s coming of age story “Limbo” to open, while Stefan Faldbakken’s “The Writing on the Wall” closes. There’s also a retro of the films directed by Norwegian film critic/helmer Pal Bang Hansen, who died earlier this year, a salute to Italian cinema and special outdoor screenings.

Expected to make the scene are “The Round Up” director Roselyne Bosch and “Nothing Personal” helmer Urszula Antoniak.

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