Iram Haq, Elisabeth Kvithyll and Annika

Scandi talents making films on ethnicity and cultural clashes

Created in 2008 at Goteborg Film Festival, Nordic Film Lab is a forum for talented filmmakers at the starting point of their career. Producers, scribes and helmers from Denmark, Norway and Sweden get together for recurring discussions about filmmaking, creativity and each other’s projects.

On Friday, the ten 2013 selected participants presented themselves and their upcoming projects to the industry at Nordic Film Lab Discovery. A majority of them seemed to treat the topic of identities and being split between different cultures, persecuted or not.
Here follows a description of some of the projects.

“The Way Back” is in early development by director-actress Iram Haq, whose feature debut “I Am Yours” is Norway’s Oscar contribution and also competing for the Dragon Award at Goteborg. “The Way Back” is based on Iram Haq’s own life, as a Norwegian-Pakistani girl.  Haq will write the script this spring and plans the shoot to take place in India.

“Waitz” is in early development by Norwegian producer Elisabeth Kvithyll at Oslo based Hummelfilm. “Waitz” is planned to be a fictional film based on the experiences of the Norwegian long distance-runner Grete Waitz, the former world record holder who won nine New York Marathons between 1978-88.

“It’s more a sports film than a biopic,” said Elisabeth Kvithyll, “about one of the highest profiled women in sports history, an ordinary who does the extraordinary. She was not only the first woman who was allowed to run, she created a whole lifestyle for runners and fitness enthusiasts worldwide, and she was very big in America,” said Elisabeth Kvithyll, who won an Amanda Award for Best Short for her graduation pic, “To Guard a Mountain.”

“Flee” is an animation documentary by Danish helmer Jonas Poher Rasmussen. Judging from the images presented at Discovery it is likely inspired by Ari Folman’s “Waltz with Bahsir.” The autobiographical story is about an Afghan immigrant who mysteriously showed up at the Danish countryside at the age of 11. Rasmussen’s first feature “Searching for Bill” was selected at Goteborg last year.

“My Skinny Sister” is a feature film in progress by Annika Rogell, Swedish producer of Goran Hugo Olsson’s successful docus “The Black Power Mixtape” and “Concerning Violence” (Sundance 2014). Sanna Lenken will direct the pic inspired by her short “Eating Lunch” (Berlin, Tribeca), about eating disorder.

“Sanna had it herself as a child, but this is going to be based on her little sister’s perspective, why you choose to starve yourself? We’re not going to do it in a heavy way, but in comical way,” said Annika Rogell. “My Skinny Sister” will be coproduced by German Junafilm, whose “Nothing Bad Can Happen” was selected in Un Certain Regard at Cannes last year.

Among the participants for the next Nordic Film Lab, presenting their projects at Goteborg 2014, are Danish helmer Soren Balle (“The Sunfish, Goteborg 2014), Swedish helmer Anna Eborn (“Pine Ridge”, Venice 2013), Swedish cinematographer and director Minka Jakerson (“Something Must Break”, Goteborg and Rotterdam 2014), and Joachim Trier’s younger brother Emil Trier.

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