Haugesund: ‘Teenage Jesus’ Wins Nordic Genre Boost

Movie is ’One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest’ meets Harmony Korine,” per director Marie Grahto

Blood and guts from Finland, Swedish trolls, André Ovredal’s Norwegian sci-fi drama based on a true legendary UFO event. Under a consolidating market umbrella, Nordic Genre Boost, a variety of established and more unproven filmmakers presented their genre projects in seven-minute pitches at Haugesund’s New Nordic Film Wednesday.

Best pitch, voted by participating delegates, went to Marie Grahto for her ”Teenage Jesus” (Beofilm), a partly self-inspired sci-fi drama about an anarchistic teenage girl who’s committed to a psychiatric hospital, where she discovers that she can actually cure the other patients’ mental disorders. ” ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ meets Harmony Korine,” explained Grahto and showed extracts from Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona” as well as Gus van Sant’s “Elephant” and Carlos Reygadas’ “Post Tenebras Lux.” Her short film ”Teenland” world premiered at SXSW this year. ”Teenage Jesus” will be her first feature film.

Among other genre projects were also several established directors, including André Ovredal’s “Bright Skies,” produced by Nordisk Film. Ovredal, previously known for””Troll Hunter,” is currently in post-production on his first English-language debut, “The Autopsy of Jane Doe.” His next project, “Bright Skies,” is based on a true story that took place in the Norwegian countryside in 1982. Amazing unidentified flying objects appeared for months over the Hess Valley, bringing a massive global UFO craze to the small town, where the media turned against the village people. The project, budgeted at €4.5 million ($4.8 million), was said to draw inspiration from the early films of Steven Spielberg.

Another consolidate helmer planning to fully commit to the world of genre is Iceland’s Ragnar Bragason (“Metalhead”). His current project, “The Highlands” (from Zik Zak Filmworks), is a psychological horror thriller about two American couples who are on an fall road trip across black volcanic sands toward Iceland’s interior. After a car crash, they end up at a strange farmhouse that belongs to an older couple. ”But things aren’t what they appear. The world is seen from the eyes of a mad man, a type of Wall Street exec traumatized after losing everything in the financial crash,” said Bragason.

Also at the Genre Boost: Taneli Mustonen’s “Bodom,” from Don Films, a survival horror film that reconstructs a legendary Finnish campsite murder; Ali Abbasi’s “Border” (Meta Film Stockholm) about a customs officer who finds out she is actually a troll; Aleksander Nordaas’ “Thale Conflux” (Yesbox Productions), about a half-breed between humans and the underworld; and a Finnish first feature from Elin Gronblom — horror comedy “Bloodsuckers” (Fisher King Production), about an American entomologist who discovers endless ways of dying of mosquitos.

Five of the seven genre projects pitched at Haugesund will be shot entirely or partly in English.

The Nordic co-production market and finance market also included producers pitches of film projects looking for financing and sales agents, as well as Nordic scripts writers pitching in search of producers.

The Nordic Genre Boost was launched by Nordisk Film & TV Fond in 2014 aimed at supporting the development of Nordic genre films and TV series in the Nordic and international market. This year, seven projects were selected out of 113 applications, and will receive a development grant of €25,000 ($26,500) each.

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