Worldly in outlook, programs and visitors, the Goteborg Intl. Film Festival — now in its 34th year Sweden’s biggest sprocket opera — is also a key player in promoting the Nordic film industry.

The goals of the fest are illustrated in the opening night film, Marius Holst’s “The King of Devil’s Island,” a co-production between two Nordic shingles, 4 1/2 Film (Norway) and St. Paul Film (Sweden), plus two European houses, Opus Film (Poland) and Mact Prods. (France).

The fest’s Dragon Award, at around $147,000 one of the world’s largest, is awarded to the winner of a competition lineup restricted to films from the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

The size of the prize, says fest topper Asa Bernio, is designed to help winners get their next project off the ground. It’s supported by the Dragon Film Fund, a charity that raises money specifically for the prize pot.

Goteborg successes include “Let the Right One In,” which won the 2008 Dragon Award, and “The Sound of Noise,” which screened at the festival’s Nordic Film Market last year and was immediately snapped up for Critics Week at Cannes.

Bernio says that Goteborg attracts a number of international fest programmers and distributors looking for local pics. She singles out Argentine shingle Film Sharks, which has been a keen buyer at the Nordic Film Market in recent years.

“Having a Swedish or Norwegian film travel to South America is not an easy thing if you don’t find the right contact beforehand,” she adds.

Nordic Film Market director Cia Edstrom confirms the growing importance of an event launched 11 years ago.

“The market really started to kick off for us when we introduced our works-in-progress section seven years ago,” she says.

“Since then, interest in Nordic films around the world has risen each year — 2008 was a key year for us with ‘Let the Right One In’ and ‘The King of Ping Pong,’ and since then so has interest in our film market. Last year, the number of buyers, festival programmers and sales agents increased by 35%.”

Also in Fest Traveler: Goteborg Intl. Film Festival:
Nordic Film Market showcases local pics