Nordisk vet puts on Smile for new distrib

OSLO, Norway — Timo Lahtinen, former chief buyer for Danish entertainment and film giant Nordisk Film, will launch a pan-Scandinavian film distribution and consulting outfit called Smile Entertainment March 1.

In June, Lahtinen announced he was leaving Nordisk after eight years at the company.

Smile will focus on the distribution of international films to the Scandinavian market. Lahtinen told Variety “the cinema-building boom in Scandinavia and the rise of new TV channels is fueling a growing demand for quality films.”

The new firm will also provide research and consultancy on Scandinavian film and TV.

“Our niche will lie somewhere between specialized arthouse distributors and the big players like Egmont-Columbia TriStar,” Lahtinen added.

Smile Entertainment’s entrance onto the distribution scene comes at a time when the fallout from the joint venture between Columbia TriStar Film Distribution Intl. and Danish media giant Egmont continues to be felt.

Under terms of the deal, Columbia TriStar and Egmont will form a distrib alliance in Norway and Finland to launch in January. SF Norge, which has been distributing for Columbia TriStar, will lose 30% of its titles and its longtime director, Bjorn Hoenvoll, who will head up the new venture.

His departure from Nordisk followed a major reshuffle of the 91-year-old film company that ended with the acquisition and distribution side being reorganized into an arm of the Egmont Group’s distribution division, Egmont Entertainment.

One of the old guard of top Nordisk management who remained on board after Egmont took over Nordisk in 1992, Lahtinen remains on at Nordisk as a consultant.

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