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International Newswire: Nordic Noir Moves On

In today’s International Newswire, Nordic Noir shows it is still alive and kicking, Golden Globe winner and Oscar front-runner “In the Fade” vies for Germany’s Lola Awards, Alpe d’Huez fest puts the spotlight on France’s top comedies, and Argentina opens the door to quadplay.

Reports of the demise of Nordic Noir are exaggerated, as can be seen by the five nominations, announced Wednesday, for 2018’s Nordisk Film & TV Fund Prize for outstanding writing of a Nordic drama series. Its winner will be announced at the Goteborg Festival’s TV Drama Vision forum on Jan. 31.

A high-profile candidate is “Borgen” show-runner Adam Price, up for the Studiocanal-sold and DR Drama-produced “Ride Upon the Storm.” It stars Lars Mikkelsen (“Sherlock,” “House of Cards”), who turns in a tearaway performance as the patriarch of a family of priests whose faith in humanity is tested by the maelstrom of the modern world.

Beyond “Storm,” however, the other four series up for consideration are all crime dramas. One is Iceland’s “Stella Blomkvist,” produced by Sagafilm for Siminn/Viaplay, based on the classic crime novels.

The other series are noir, yes, but with a twist. Finland’s “Deadwind,” produced by Dionysos Films for YLE, mixes crime investigations with personal drama. Norway’s “Greaseland,” made by Monster Scripted for TV2, features a murder cover-up, but the culprit is one of the cops investigating the case. And Sweden’s “The Lawyer,” produced by SF Studios for Viaplay/TV3, and again sold by Studiocanal, begins with a murder, as a couple are blown up in their car. But it is a fast-paced, if still dark, vengeance thriller, as their son, two decades later, now a suave but emotionally numb lawyer, seeks to trap their killer, a ruthless kingpin in the Copenhagen crime world. Nordic Noir has moved on.

Fatih Akin’s Golden Globe winner and Oscar front-runner “In the Fade,” starring Diane Kruger, is among 34 feature films selected to vie for the German Film Awards, also known as the Lolas.

Also on the long list are Julian Rosefeldt’s “Manifesto,” starring Cate Blanchett, Rupert Everett’s “The Happy Prince,” in which Everett stars as Oscar Wilde, and “Return to Montauk” from the Volker Schloendorff, the Oscar-winning director of “The Tin Drum.”

Other titles include 2017 Sundance entry “My Happy Family,” by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross, whose previous film “In Bloom” won awards at Berlin and AFI Fest, and Valeska Grisebach’s “Western,” which played in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard.

The 1,800 members of the German Film Academy will decide on the nominations, selecting from this long-list, with their choice to be revealed on March 14.

Alpe d’Huez is the most challenging hill ascent in the Tour de France cycling race, climbing 8.6 miles with 21 hairpin bends to a height of 6,102 feet. Now the Alpe d’Huez Intl. Comedy Film Festival is rising too. It opens Jan. 16 with “La Ch’tite Famille,” the most recent movie from Dany Boon, returning to the (supposedly) bumpkin world of northern France Ch’tites, featured in Boon’s “Welcome to the Sticks,” which earned about $150 million in France alone.

The festival closes Jan. 20 with “Return of the Hero,” a plush and spirited period battle of the sexes, pitching Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”) against nominee Melanie Laurent (“Inglourious Basterds”).

Both films feature as two of the three biggest new comedies at the UniFrance Paris Rendez-Vous, the largest national cinema industry showcase in Europe, which runs Jan. 18-22.

UniFrance and the Alpe d’Huez Fest have also linked up to create the UniFrance Comedy Prize, given this year to Omar Sy’s SND-sold “Two Is Family,” produced by Mars Films and Vendôme Production, and the most popular French comedy overseas in 2017.

In all, Alpe d’Huez will spotlight at least nine French comedies that also screen for buyers in Paris. It is as if the UniFrance Rendez-Vous, a buyers and press-only event, has gone public.

Argentine market regulator, the National Communications Entity (ENACOM), has approved laws framed in a Convergent Communications Decree that will allow telecoms to offer pay-TV in cities with more than 80,000 inhabitants. The move comes just days after the merger between cable TV player Cablevision and telco Telecom was waved through. Approval opens the door for Telefonica to deliver a quadplay offer of broadband, fixed and cell telephony, and pay-TV as it has through Movistar+ in Spain, firing up pay-TV in the country. Movistar+ already has a large arsenal of original series ready to launch in Latin America, plus two dramas in development with Fox Networks Group Latin America. More may not be far away.

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