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Seasoned helmers Ole Bornedal, Erik Poppe, Mikael Håfström, newcomers Mika Gustafson, Sara Gyllenstierna and rising talent Ulaa Salim are some of the 15 Nordic helmers set to pitch their feature projects in post-production at this year’s Nordic Film Market

The leading Nordic film confab is due to run Feb. 2-5 in a hybrid version, parallel to Sweden’s 46th Göteborg Film Festival (Jan.27-Feb. 5), the biggest film-TV event in Scandinavia.

For its first full-scale outing post-COVID and first year under the helm of industry chief Josef Kullengård, the Nordic Film Market is set to draw a record 500 delegates on-site, on top of nearly 60 on-line visitors. “The interest from the international industry is amazing! It will be a record year for us, even compared to pre-pandemic times,” boasts. Kullengård, a habitué of the event’s backstage gigs who took over from Cia Edström in October to allow her to focus on the showcase’s TV Drama Vision program.

Kullengård says maintaining an online version, while focusing on the physical market was a natural step, as “the future is hybrid”. “Producing, distributing, consuming features is all transforming and confab organisers are all trying to find the best sustainable model to hold a market,” he observed. “For us it’s all about supporting the commercial and artistic development of Nordic films in the best possible way, and to bring together Nordic and international delegates.”

For global industry reps unable to travel to Sweden’s second largest city, the digital version will comprise a selection of market screenings, and streamed pitches of projects in post and development.

As pointed out by the head of industry, this year’s 53 title-strong program is a Nordic smörgåsbord reflecting “what’s going on in the Nordic region.” “Our ambition is to highlight the gender, racial, social plurality of voices in the Nordics,” Kullengård continued. “We are proud to have a lot of projects from female directors, and a good mix of established and new voices. One of the aftermaths of the pandemic is also that we have a record number of projects in development, hence the super strong slate of our Discovery strand.”

Stockholm Bloodbath Credit: G.N.K.

Female prodigies set to pitch their sophomore pics at the Discovery include “As in Heaven”’s Tea Lindeburg with “The Seal Woman,” “Dogborn”’s Isabella Carbonell with “Utopia” and “The Heart”’s Fanni Metelius with “2001,” while Patricia Bbaale Bandak, nominated for a Danish Robert film award with her short “Villa Villekulla,” will introduce her fiction debut “Wannabe.” Among rising Danish talents, genre-savvy Gabriel Bier Gislason (“Attachment”) will bring the Nordisk Film-produced “No Wait.” At press time all 11 Discovery titles were open for sales.

Making its debut at Göteborg’s confab is also the Talent to Watch platform with 10 Swedish newcomers, due to pitch their pics Feb. 2, such as “House of the Dragon” star Nanna Blondell, debuting behind the camera with “Skin to Skin.” All projects in the new strand have received development seed for the Swedish Film Institute’s new Talent to Watch scheme. 

Another handful of female hopefuls will unveil their works in progress, such as Mika Gustafson, a Ruben Östlund student from Göteborg’s Valand film academy. Her realistic drama “Sisters,” about three socially-deprived young sisters fending for themselves, is produced by auteur-driven Nima Yousefi of Hobab (“Clara Sola”).

In the suspense genre, debutant Sarah Gyllenstierna, who started off as AD to Spike Lee, will present “Hunters on a White Field,” in which Magnus Krepper (“The Unlikely Murderer”, “Margrete-Queen of the North”) and Ardalan Esmaili (“Snabba Cash”, “The Charmer”) take part in a hunting outing that turns into a dangerous game.

Icelandic new talent and former NYU Tisch School alumn Ninna Pálmadóttir will bring “Solitude,” which chronicles the friendship between an aging farmer, forced to move to the city, and a paper delivery boy. The drama penned by Rúnar Rúnarsson (“Volcano”) was bestowed the ArteKino Int’l award at les Arcs Film Fest 2021. The Party Film Sales is attached. 

Love Credit: Mostlys/Agnete Brun

Rising Danish filmmaker Ulaa Salim (“Sons of Denmark”) will unveil footage from his sophomore sci-fi “Eternal,” described by Kullengård as “an exciting love story turning on burning climate change and societal issues, filmed with true cinematic flair.” New Europe Film Sales handles sales.

Among the heavyweight Nordic names lined-up for the works in progress are Erik Poppe (“The Emigrants”), with his WWII drama “Quisling” from REinvent International Sales, Ole Bornedal with “Nightwatch-Demons are Forever,” a sequel to his 1994 hit, repped by TrustNordisk; and Mikael Håfström (“Outside the Wire”), with his star-studded period drama “Stockholm Bloodbath,” produced by Viaplay and repped by Viaplay Content Distribution. 

Seasoned Danish director Birgitte Stærmose (“Room 304”) will pitch her event hybrid “Children of the Lowest Heaven,” an extension of her acclaimed short film “Out of Love” featuring deprived street kids in Kosovo.

Another standout work in progress highlighted by Kullengård is the film trilogy “Sex Dreams Love” by acclaimed Norwegian helmer Dag Johan Haugerud (“Beware of Children”), produced by Motlys in partnership with Viaplay. 

Meanwhile the program of 17 completed Nordic titles takes in the Rotterdam-bound “Copenhagen Doesn’t Exist,” “Four Little Adults,” “100 Seasons,” “Mannvirki17,” “Superposition,” and several Göteborg world premieres including the opener “Exodus” and closing film “Camino.”

Josef Kullengard Credit: Andre Larsson

Nordic Film Market Works in Progress, Full Lineup:

“A Happy Day” by Hisham Zaman (Snowfall Cinema, Norway)

“B.O.Y.” by Søren Green (Asta Film, Denmark)

“Children of the Lowest Heaven” by Birgitte Stærmose (Magic Hour Film, Denmark)

“Comeback” by Petri Kotwica (Helsinki filmi, Finland) “Cold” by Erlingur Thoroddsen (Compass Films, Iceland)

“Eternal” by Ulaa Salim (Hyæne Film, Denmark)

“Glasskår (English title TBC) by Elina Sahlin (Makeriet, Sweden)

“Hunters on a White Field” by Sarah Gyllenstierna (Most Alice Films, Sweden)

“Nightwatch – Demons are Forever” by Ole Bornedal (Nordisk Film Production, Denmark)

“Sex Dreams Love” by Dag Johan Haugerud (Motlys, Norway)

“Sisters” by Mika Gustafson (HOBAB, Sweden)

“Solitude” by Ninna Pálmadóttir (Pegasus Film, Iceland)

“Stockholm Bloodbath” by Mikael Håfström (Viaplay, Nordics)

“Stormskerry Maja” by Tiina Lymi (Solar Films, Finland)

“Quisling” by Erik Poppe (Paradox, Norway)

Market Screenings

“100 Seasons” by Giovanni Bucchieri (French Quarter Film, Sweden)

“Camino” by Birgitte Stærmose (MOTOR, Denmark)

“Copenhagen Does Not Exist” by Martin Skovbjerg (Snowglobe, Denmark)

“Dancing Queen” by Aurora Gossé (Oslo Pictures, Norway)

“Ellos Eatnu-Let the River Flow” by Ole Giæver (Mer Film, Norway)

“Empire” by Fredrikke Aspöck (Meta Film, Denmark)

“Exodus” by Abbe Hassan (B-Reel Film, Sweden)

“Four Little Adults” by Selma Vilhunen (Tuffi Films, Finland)

“Mannvirki” by Gústav Geir Bollason (Go to Sheep, Iceland)

“Munch” by Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken (The Film Company, Norway)

“One Day All This Will Be Yours” by Andreas Öhman (Gran Slam Film, Sweden)

“Operation Napoleon” by Óskar Thór Axelsson (Sagafilm, Iceland)

“Shadow Island” by Johan Storm (Stormax Film, Sweden)

“Superposition” by Karoline Lyngbye (Beo Starling, Denmark)

“The Worst Idea Ever” by Pamela Tola (Helsinki filmi, Finland)

“Tove’s Room” by Martin Zandvliet (Nordisk Film Production, Denmark)

“Viktor vs the World” by Christian Arhoff (Hyæne Film, Denmark)