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"The NFM is the principal market place for new features and TV drama in Scandinavia"

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Cia Edström • Head of the Nordic Film Market, Göteborg International Film Festival

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- Cineuropa chatted to Cia Edström about the evolution of the Nordic film industry and the Nordic Film Market event taking place at the Göteborg International Film Festival

Cia Edström  • Head of the Nordic Film Market, Göteborg International Film Festival
© Ola Kjelbye

Cia Edström has more than 20 years of experience in the film industry and has been working for the Göteborg International Film Festival since 1995 in various capacities. Since 2005, she has been the manager of the Nordic Film Market. Edström speaks to Cineuropa about the advantages and challenges of the Nordic film industry, and how the Nordic Film Market functions today, with 40 projects set to be presented at this year's edition.

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Cineuropa: How do you think the Nordic film industry has changed in the recent past? What are the improvements, and are there any downsides?
Cia Edström: The Nordic film industry has grown stronger over the past decade. It started with the Let the Right One in [+see also:
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interview: John Nordling
interview: Tomas Alfredson
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]
and Millennium [+see also:
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trailer
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interview: Niels Arden Oplev
interview: Søren Stærmose
film profile
]
, and their success paved the way for both arthouse and mainstream films from Scandinavia to reach new audiences worldwide. In addition, the last five years have been very strong for Nordic noir and TV drama, with successes like The Bridge, The Killing and Borgen. The challenge for the film industry is to find funding and to keep the talent, as at the moment there are more opportunities in TV drama, and it has become a very attractive choice.

To the rest of Europe, the Nordic industry seems like the most stable one, and keeps churning out quality films and TV programmes that are getting both festival recognition and ever-rising ratings for TV products. But how are local films doing on their own turf in terms of audience attendance, and how do they cross the nearest borders – are Norwegian films getting seen in Sweden, for instance?
The Nordic countries have a long tradition of collaboration and co-producing with each other. TV drama is doing very well and travels between the Nordic countries as well as around Europe as a whole, but on the cinema distribution side, it is tougher. However, when star directors like Susanne Bier or Lars von Trier make a new movie, or recently Ruben Östlund with his Force Majeure [+see also:
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film focus
interview: Ruben Östlund
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]
, they get distributed in all the Nordic countries (and the rest of the world).

The Nordic Film Market (NFM) is the go-to place for international producers and festival programmers, buyers and sellers alike. Who are the most frequent partners?
We have been growing rapidly over the last few years, and we're pleased to have established the NFM as the principal market place for new and upcoming feature films and TV drama in Scandinavia. Our most frequent guests are festivals, distributors and sales agents from European countries like France, Germany and the UK. But we have guests from all continents coming to the NFM in search of films, and to discover upcoming projects and new talent.

How does the Nordic Film Lab, a networking forum for up-and-coming Scandinavian filmmakers, differ from other similar programmes, and how do you estimate its impact each year?
What makes the Nordic Film Lab different from many other talent labs is the way it combines a strong focus on the creative and artistic processes of filmmaking with selecting participants that have reached a professional level and have already demonstrated a high artistic potential. The participants are carefully selected together with our partners in the Nordic countries, focusing on filmmakers with the potential for an international career, those who are interested in collaboration and for whom the Lab can really make a difference.

We evaluate the project each year and have recently had a follow-up with all the former participants, asking them how Nordic Film Lab has affected their creative processes and if it has led to any new collaborations with other participants that they had met through the Lab. 100% of them answered that they still keep in touch with filmmakers they met through Nordic Film Lab, and these contacts have led to a professional collaboration in more than 50% of the cases.

Looking back, we can see that former participants are already established on the international festival scene – for example, Marie Kjellson, the producer of Force Majeure; Gabriela Pichler, the director of Eat Sleep Die [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: China Ahlander
interview: Gabriela Pichler
interview: Nermina Lukac
festival scope
film profile
]
; Iram Haq, the director of I Am Yours [+see also:
film review
trailer
festival scope
film profile
]
; and Axel Petersén, the director of Avalon [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
. And we are now looking forward to seeing new projects created through collaborations between the Lab participants tour the international festivals.

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