Scaled-Up Nordic Film Lab Readies for Biz at Goteborg

One-year networking initiative return to Goteborg Fest in 2017

Tobias Akesson
Courtesy of Goteborg Film Festival

GOTEBORG – Consolidating its standing as a pan-Scandinavia networking initiative, for the first time two Finnish directors will join 17 participants from Denmark, Norway and Sweden at the Goteborg’s Nordic Film Lab, whose latest edition opens for business Feb. 3.

After four days of in-depth discussions focusing on the art of filmmaking, they will meet again in Copenhagen and Oslo. Next year, they will be invited back to present a new project at Goteborg’s Nordic Film Lab Discovery.

The Nordic Film Lab was launched in 2008 as a local networking project for young, upcoming filmmakers.

Staged in collaboration with the festival’s Nordic Film Market since 2013, the Discovery program affords young talents a direct feedback on film projects from financiers, sales agents, buyers, festheads and potential co-producers, while introducing them to the Nordic and international film industries.

Eight projects from Danish, Swedish and Norwegian participants will covered – ”and I can’t wait to hear Norwegian producer Natalya Sarch’s talk about Emil Trier’s up-coming ”The Waleed Ahmed Story,” Danish director Ali Abbasis about “The Holy Spider” and Swedish director Maria Back about ”Psychosis in Stockholm,” said project manager Tobias Åkesson at the Nordic Film Lab-NFL Discovery, and responsible for the festival’s selection of local fare.

Otherwise, Lab’s main thrust is to help the filmmakers develop their insight into the artistic process through debates with and inspiration from their colleagues, working through an extensive screening schedule, master classes and net-working activities ”which should also increase the co-operation across Nordic boarders,” per Akesson.

Several ex-Lab’ers have returned with now well-known films: Swedish producer Marie Kjellson produced Ruben Östlund’s ”Force Majeure”/”Turist” and is now at the festival with a new project; Swedish director Hanna Skold is in the main Goteborg competition with ”Granny’s Dancing on the Table,” and Swedish director Magnus von Horn just won a Guldbagge, Sweden’s national film prize, for his feature debut, ”The Here After.”

This year’s Nordic Film Lab participants take in Danish screenwriters Christian Gamst Miller-Harris and Ingeborg Topsøe, directors Jacob Bitsch and Puk Grasten and producer Lina Flint.

The Finnish directors are Hamy Ramezan and Selma Vilhunen. Attending from Norway: Directors Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel, Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken and Sunniva Sundby, and producers Natalya Sarch and Ragna Nordhus Midtgard. Swedish directors Ninja Thyberg, Peter Modestij, and Victor Lindgren also make the cut, as do producers Siri Hjorton Wagner and Jonas Eskilsson.