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Nordic Film Market at Goteborg: Hans Petter Moland, Runar Runarsson, Charlotte Sieling, Daniel Espinosa, Klaus Haro Make the Cut (EXCLUSIVE)

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The Göteborg Film Festival’s film industry confab, the Nordic Film Market, unspooling Jan 31-Feb. 2, has unveiled in exclusivity to Variety its 2024 lineup comprising 58 new and upcoming Nordic films.

These are directed by newcomers and bona fide helmers such as Hans Petter Moland, Rúnar Rúnarsson, Charlotte Sieling, Daniel Espinosa and Pirjo Honkasalo.

Just over two weeks before kick-off, a record number of delegates – 507 from 33 countries – have signed up for the biggest film market in the Nordic region. 

The 90-plus international buyers, 90 funding bodies, 60 festival programmers and 50 sales agents can look forward to a revamped showcase, both in terms of programming and set-up, with a new hub for networking and accommodation at the Clarion Hotel Draken. “We’re very excited about making this year’s venue both new and familiar for delegates coming to Göteborg,” said head of industry Josef Kullengård. 

“The industry has entered a slowdown, but creatively, the Nordic region is showing resilience and is stronger than ever. This builds a need for people to get together, to do business, network, get a glimpse of the future and of course, scout new talent. Our aim through our platform and the festival is to create a concise and efficient boutique-sized experience, but with great impact,” he stressed.  

Setting the tone for this banner year is the conversation between two-time Palme d’Or winner Ruben Östlund and Cannes Film Festival honcho Thierry Frémaux, due to kick-off the Nordic confab on Wednesday Jan. 31. “Seats for the session will be hotly disputed,” warned Kullengård.

Reflecting on this year’s Nordic Film Market (NFM), the head of industry said the premium slate spans titles from both exciting new and seasoned filmmakers, covering all genres, from true-blue arthouse to cross-over and commercially-oriented fare. “It’s key for Nordic films to cover all audience-segments, big or small, and this is reflected in the projects showcased,” he said.

A proof of the region’s unchanging ability to score high on A festival’s lineups, a string of titles will bow at Göteborg’s 15-title market screening room, on the heels of their world or international premieres at Sundance – “Handling the Undead” – or Rotterdam: “Eternal”, “Madame Luna,” “The Arctic Convoy” “and “Stormskerry Maya.” 

About 45% of the full NFM slate titles have female directors; 66% are female produced. “We always aim for the best industry representation and to fulfil our 50:50 pledge for gender equality, but timing is key and some projects simply aren’t ready in time,” noted Kullengård.

The Arctic Convoy

Projects in Development Rule

According to Kullengård, this year’s program has been shaped to respond to the growing number of European delegates scouting Nordic projects, a trend mirrored in the delegation list. In order to feed the international demand for quality fresh cinematic content, notably ever more from streaming services, a record number of projects in development have therefore been selected for the Discovery session.  

“We used to have 8-9 titles; now we’ve doubled this with 17 projects,” said Kullengård, who also underlined the broader spectrum of talent showcased in the strand. “The Discovery program used to be primarily for newcomers, but now we have senior creators rubbing shoulders with up-an-coming talent in a nice blend.”

Among promising names, Danish mountain-hiker-turned-helmer Illum Jacobi will present “Another Journey Without Women,” Toplining “The Square’s” Claes Bang as Norwegian explorer Knud Rasmussen, while pedigree helmers include Hans Petter Moland (“Cold Pursuit,” “A Somewhat Gentle Man”), set to unveil period piece “Growth of the Soil,” adapted from Knut Hamsun’s literary classic, and Milad Alami, this year’s Swedish Oscar contender with “Opponent,” due to pitch the psycho thriller “Djinn.”

Historical and genre-bending fare are indeed the hottest trends in the latest output from the Nordics, Kullengård confirmed. 

In Works in Progress, anticipated titles tackling history via character-driven narratives taken from reality take in John Skoog’s visionary “Redoubt,” produced by Ruben Östlund’s shingle Plattform Produktion  and the Sally Bauer life-inspired “The Swedish Torpedo” by Frida Kempff, produced by Momento Film.

When the Light Breaks
Credit: Sophia Olsson

Other awaited titles in post include the Danish thriller/period drama “The Girl with the Needle” (formerly known as “The Little Seamstress”) by “The Here After’s” Magnus von Horn starring Trine Dyrholm and Vic Carmen Sonne; the Oscar-nominated Icelandic helmer Rúnar Rúnarsson’s fourth feature “When the Light Breaks”; and the latest pics by prominent Finnish helmers Teemu Nikki (“The Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic”), Klaus Härö (“The Fencer”) and Pirjo Honkasalo (“The 3 Rooms of Melancholia”).

Out in force with a record three works in progress is Scandi powerhouse Zentropa, set to unveil clips of the suspense drama “The Quiet Ones” by Frederik Louis Hviid (“Shorta”), the love drama “Ida” by Jacob Møller starring “As in Heaven”’s Flora Ofelia Hoffmann Lindahl, and “Kevlar Soul,“ by rising Swedish talent Maria Eriksson-Hecht.

The coming-of-age drama produced by sustainability Swedish guru Ronnie Fritsche will also be profiled in NMF’s inaugural case study strand, alongside Kari Vidø’s supernatural thriller “Paranoia” – the first green-certificated Danish feature – and Piotr Winiewicz’s revolutionary AI scripted “About a Hero.”

“From a thematic point of view, we felt it was important to highlight interesting and valuable filmmaking processes with specific Nordic films,” said Kullengård about the new one-hour case study session due to unspool Feb. 1.

Making it a worthwhile trip for sales agents ahead of Berlin, at press time only four out of 15 pics in Works in Progress had been snapped up; all Discovery projects are open for discussions.
Rounding out the program are four Swedish documentaries screening both at the festival and the market, and four Swedish pics, part of the Swedish Film Institute’s Talent to Watch.

A selection of titles will be available for online viewing by registered delegates, as well as Works in Progress sessions.

News of full dish of tempting content from the Nordics will be completed on Jan. 18 with the announcement of Göteborg’s twin industry event, TV Drama Vision, unspooling Jan. 30-31. 

News of the full dish of tempting content from the Nordics will be completed on Jan. 18 with the announcement of Göteborg’s twin industry event, TV Drama Vision, unspooling Jan. 30-31. 

Josef Kullengård
Credit: Andre Larsson

Works in Progress Lineup

“100 litres of Gold,” (Teemu Nikki, It’s Alive Films, Finland)

“Armand,” (Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel, Eye Eye Pictures, Norway)

“Europa,” (Brwa Vahabpour, True Content Production, Norway)

“Havnaa,” (Bård Breien, Maipo Film, Norway)

“Kevlar Soul,” (Maria Eriksson Hecht, Avokado Films, Zentropa, Sweden)

“Laura,” (Fanny Ovesen, Kjellson & Wik, Norway)

“Madame Ida,” (Jacob Møller , Zentropa, Denmark)

“Never Alone,” (Klaus Härö, MRP Matila Röhr Productions, Finland)

“Orenda,” (Pirjo Honkasalo, Bufo, Finland)

“Redoubt,” (John Skoog, Plattform Produktion, Sweden)

“The Girl with the Needle,” (Magnus von Horn, Creative Alliance, Denmark)

“The Swedish Torpedo,” (Frida Kempff, Momento Film)

“The Quiet Ones,” (Frederik Louis Hviid, Zentropa, Denmark)

“Way Home,” (Charlotte Sieling, Toolbox Film, Denmark)

“When the Light Breaks,” (Rúnar Rúnarsson, Compass Films, Iceland)

Discovery Lineup

“Another Journey Without Women,” (Illum Jacobi, Adomeit Film, Denmark)

“Arvet” by Bahar Pars,” (Stikling Film, Sweden)

 “Backstage,” (Aleksi Salmenperä, Tekele Productions, Finland)

“Breeze is Doing OK (working title),” (Tinna Hrafnsdóttir, Freyja Filmworks, Iceland)

“cum_kings,” (Peter Modestij, Coco Film, Sweden)

“Demands of a Teenage Heart,” (Lisa Meyer, Sisyfos Film Production, Sweden)

“Djinn,” (Milad Alami, Art&Bob AB, Sweden)

“Growth of the Soil,” (Hans Petter Moland, 4 ½, Norway)

“Notch-he Story of Minecraft,” (Adam Berg, Nexiko Drama, Sweden)

 “Maia Against the World,” (Hannah Elbke, Frau Film, Denmark)

“Modern Diaspora Family (working title),” (Ánitá Beikpour, Nordisk Film, Denmark)

“The Miserables,” (Daniel Borgman, Adomeit Film, Denmark)

“PD,” (Magnus Mork, Alternativet Produksjon, Norway)

“Push the Button,” (Anton Källrot, Ögat Film, Sweden)

“Solo Mom,” (Janicke Askevold, Bacon Pictures, Oslo, Norway)

“Steel,” (Sive Hamilton Helle, Skala/Storm Films, Norway)

“Weightless,” (Emilie Thalund, Snowglobe, Denmark)

Market Screenings

“Better Times,” (Milad Schwartz Avaz, SF Studios, Denmark)

“Bye Bye Boredom,” (Elina Sahlin, Makeriet, Sweden)

“Cold,” (Erlingur Thoroddsen, Compass Films, Iceland)

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

“Handling the Undead,” (Thea Hvistendahl, Einar Film, Norway)

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

“Love Will Save Us,” (Patrik Blomberg Book, Fat City Pictures, Sweden)

“Madame Luna,” (Daniel Espinosa, Momento Film, Sweden)

“Rome,” (Niclas Bendixen, Motor, Denmark)

“My Wonderful Stranger,” (Johanna Pyykkö, Oslo Pictures, Norway)

“Stockholm Bloodbath,” (Mikael Håfström, Viaplay, Sweden)

“Stormskerry Maya,” (Tiina Lymi, Solar films, Finland)

“The Missile,” (Miia Tervo, Komeetta, Stellar Film, Finland)

“The Arctic Convoy,” (Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken, Fantefilm, Norway)

“The Dog,” (Baker Karim, Bad Flamingo Studios, Sweden)

“XXL,” (Kim Ekberg, Sawandi Groskind, MDEMC, Sweden)