Haugesund: New Nordic Films’ Co-Production Forum Runs Wide Gamut

Haugesund’s industry confab, New Nordic Films’ co-production forum, which kicks off Aug. 18, will present 17 projects in development that represent a wide gamut in terms of genre, topics, settings and even nationalities.

Anticipated projects set to be pitched at the forum include “Excuse All the Blood,” from Pal Sletaune (“Junk Mail”); “Handle With Care,” from Arild Andresen (“Company Orheim”); and “Darkland” from Fenar Ahmad (“Flow”).

“Darkland” tells the story of Zaid, a successful surgeon living in Denmark with his pregnant girlfriend who, after turning down his brother Yasin’s plea for financial help, finds out he was murdered by gangs. Wearing a mask to conceal his identity, Zaid sets off to avenge Yasin’s murder and vows to bring down all of Copenhagen’s criminals. Jacob Jarek at Profile Pictures, the company that co-produced “Only God Forgives” and “Rams,” is producing. A graduate of the hip Copenhagen Super16 film school, Ahmad made his feature with “Flow,” which played the London Film Festival.

“Handle With Care” is a gripping drama centering around a young father who struggles to raise alone his adopted son after the death of his wife and embarks on a journey with the boy to find his biological mother in Colombia. Project is produced by Hans Jorgens Osnes at Motlys, the outfit behind Eskil Vogt’s “Blind,” as well as Joachim Trier’s “Oslo, August 31st” and “Louder Than Bombs.”

Based on a true story and set in the 1990s, “Excuse All the Blood” centers on a 16-year old from a dogmatic rural Norwegian town who joins Order, a metal band that pushes the boundaries and propels him into a dark path. The nearly fully financed pic is set against the backdrop of the rise of black metal in Norway. Film Farms’ Alan R. Milligan’s credits include “Letter to the King,” which won Goteborg’s Dragon Award last year, and “Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere,” which nabbed Venice’s Critics nod.

“Most projects have about one-third of the financing in place and have pretty much completed the script. They’re looking for sales agents, co-producers and financiers,” said Gyda Velvin Myklebust. The co-head of New Nordic Films pointed out, “A number of Nordic projects are backed by foreign producers — from France, Canada and the U.K. — which signals their international potential.”

Other notable projects presented at New Nordic Films include “Edge of the World,” from Asghar Massombagi (“Khaled”)’ Katja Gauriloff’s “Baby Jane”; “Wolf Note,” from Duane Hopkins’ “Bypass”; “Deliver Us From Evil,” from Agnieszka Lukasiak (“Between 2 Fires”); and Jennifer Malmqivist’s feature debut “I Bet You Would.”

“Wolf Note,” from U.K. filmmaker Hopkins, is a psychological thriller about a professional violinist who emigrated to the U.K. many years earlier and receives a visit from Kuba, a mysterious young man who claims to be the son she gave up 20 years ago. Hopkins’ feature debut “Better Things” played at Cannes’ Critics’ Week in 2008, and his sophomore pic “Bypass” played at Venice in 2014. “Wolf Note” is produced by Samm Haillay at U.K. shingle Third Films.

“I Bet You Would” follows the path of Zosia, a 32-year-old woman who has a 6-year-old daughter and lives with her younger girlfriend, Kassandra. After Kassandra leaves her, Zosia falls into depression and struggles with her gambling addiction. Malmqivist’s 2013 short film “Suffocation” played at Sundance and won a Guldbagge award (Sweden’s top film honor). “I Bet You Would” is produced by China Ahlander at Chinema Film Sweden, whose credits include Sweden’s 2013 Oscar candidate “Eat Sleep Die.”

Another project depicting a gay romance, “Baby Jane” — produced by Joonas Berghall at Finland’s October Oy — charts the story of two young women, Jonna and Piki, who fall in love but grow apart after one of them gets severely injured in a fight. But years later, Piki calls Jonna with a last wish that turns out to be horrifying.

Based on true events that took place in a Texas high school in 2003, “Deliver Us From Evil” unfolds in Sweden and centers on a history teacher, Adam, who takes his students on an island to work on an interactive World War II-themed project that has half of the class playing Germans, the other half Jews. But the experiment turns into a nightmare when students start taking it too far. Peter Kropenin is producing for Hob Ab.

A comedy produced by Paul Scherzer’s Canadian outfit Six Island Productions, “Edge of the World” tells the tale of Mahmoud, a thirtysomething Iranian man who arrives in Svalbard, a remote arctic archipelago on the northern edge of Norway that’s open to all refugees, and starts up the first-ever Arctic Mobile Kebab business with other refugees.

The New Nordic Films co-production selection is completed by Arild Ostin Ommundsen’s gangster action pic “From Grace”; Ondrej Havelka’s environmental romance “The Hastrman,” from the Czech Republic; Emily Atef’s drama “Mister,” from France; Mika Ronkainen’s Finnish drama “Mother’s Day”; Cristian Straub’s “The Reverie Condition,” from Germany; Daan Bakker’s “Quality Time,” from the Netherlands; Akseli Tuomivaara’s Finnish action-packed film “White Point”; Kim Hiorthøy’s Norwegian drama “The Rules of Everything”; and Milko Lazarov’s “Nanook,” a Bulgarian drama about two aging Inuits living in the snowy wilderness.

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