Tougher business conditions and a shifting market are forcing Nordic sales agents to become pickier on arthouse fare. About 20 Nordic films and documentaries are premiering at the Cannes market this year but only a handful are represented by Scandinavian-based sales companies.
LevelK CEO Tine Klint e says “Adjusting to the market, means turning down films we truly love. As a whole, we now tend to pick up fewer titles for our yearly line-up in order to optimise sales & distribution for each individual film,” . The company is introducing at the market the new Danish documentary Motley’s Law directed by Nicole Horanyi for Made in Copenhagen. The film follows the first and only foreign lawyer who litigates in Afghan courts. Also on LevelK’s line up is Anders Thomas Jensen’s smash hit Men & Chicken.
Miira Paasilinna, CEO at Yellow Affair, concurs with Klint: “The market for art house films is getting tougher all the time and it has led to some changes in our company strategy. We are selecting fewer arthouse films, and we are looking for films outside of Scandinavia, also films that are more commercial and have bigger budgets.”
Heading Yellow Affair’s Cannes portfolio is Mika Kaurismäki’s The Girl King, a biopic about Sweden’s Queen Kristina, just picked up in Cannes by US distributor Wolfe Releasing who will launch the film this fall. Also being sold by Yellow Affair is the Swedish coming of age film Girls Lost (Pojkarna) by Alexandra-Therese Keining about sexual confusion and gender identity.
TrustNordisk remains the leading sales company of Nordic films and continues to offer a mix of high profile titles partly financed through pre-sales, and smaller arthouse fare. “It is a fact that pre-sales has become a crucial part of our turnover” says the company’s CEO Rikke Ennis. “This year’s Cannes line-up shows exactly what we are best at: Nordic blockbusters with an international appeal, director driven dramas with strong Nordic talent and then a few pearls that we simply fell in love with. Obviously we are proud to have Ingrid Bergman on this year’s Cannes poster [TrustNordisk represents The Cannes Classics entry Ingrid Bergman-In her Own Words] and Magnus von Horn’s The Here After at the Directors’ Fortnight.”
TrustNordisk is also presenting at a closed market screening the Danish fantasy adventure The Shamer’s Daughter and introduced yesterday a show-reel of upcoming titles The Last King by Nils Gaup, A Man Called Ove by Hannes Holm, Walk With Me by Lisa Ohlin, The Day will Come by Jesper W. Nielsen and the recent pick up Noma my Perfect Storm, a feature documentary about René Redzepi, the man behind the world renowned double Michelin stars Noma restaurant in Copenhagen. The film was immediately acquired by Longride Inc for Japan.
Meanwhile SF International is having a lower profile in Cannes and for the first time doing business not from the Scandinavian Stand, 55 la Croisette, but from the SF boat close to the Palais. Head of International Sales Anita Simovic, will start pre-selling Kay Pollak’s upcoming film Heaven and Earth, independent sequel to the director’s Academy award-nominated As it is In Heaven. To build on Ingrid Bergman’s celebration of the actress’s 100 year anniversary, Simovic is also selling a Bergman collection of seven early Swedish films made before the star left for Hollywood.
Stockholm-based Eyewell headed by Michael Werner has one title premiering in Cannes: the Estonian hit 1944 by Elmo Nüganen, co-produced by Finland’s MRP Matila Röhr Production.
Here under is a non-exhaustive list of Nordic films premiering at the Cannes market, sold by non-Scandinavian sales agents:
– Albert, animation film by Karsten Kiilerich. Sales: Sola Media
– Bridgend, Sundance winning drama by Jeppe Rønde. Sales: New Europe Film Sales
– Absolution drama by Petri Kotwica. Sales: Media Luna
– Love Milla by Teemu Nikki, spin-off movie based on a popular TV series. Sales: Reel Suspects
– The Fencer, historical drama by Klaus Härö. Sales: Little Film Company
–T he Midwife, WW2 drama by Antti J. Jokinen. Sales: Picture Tree International
– RAMS by Grimur Hakonarson, premiering at Un Certain Regard. Sales: New Europe Film Sales
The film has already been snatched by France (Haut et Court) and was sold before its official screening in Cannes to Benelux (Imagine), Greece (Ama Films) and Taiwan (Maison Motion).
– Life in a Fishbowl, multi-awarded Icelandic hit by Baldvin Z. Sales: Films Boutique
– Virgin Mountain, Tribeca award-winning film by Dagur Kári. Sales: Bac Films
– Louder than Bombs by Joachim Trier, Cannes official competition entry. Sales Memento Film Sales.
The buzz is very strong on the film ahead of its Monday 19 screening at the Grand Théâtre Lumière in Cannes. The English language film is opening in October both in Norway (SF Norge) and in France ( Memento Film).
– Maiko-Dancing Child, documentary by Ase Venheim Friveness. Sales: Eye on Film
– Out of Nature, Berlin Panorama entry. Sales: Epicentre Films