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Haugesund 2020 - New Nordic Films

Country Focus: Norway

16 promising projects ready for Haugesund’s Works in Progress event


- Day 3 at the New Nordic Films film market is predominantly about works in progress

16 promising projects ready for Haugesund’s Works in Progress event
Director Morgane Dziurla-Petit (© Jonas Lindstedt)

At the New Nordic Films film market of the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund, 16 projects in various stages of post-production will be presented in front of industry professionals and a discerning jury, closely scrutinizing the eight handpicked nominees for the Eurimages Lab Project award, on 20 August.

The criteria vary, but the bottom line regularly employs keywords such as “cutting edge”, “experimental” and “promising”, especially regarding the Eurimages nominees. The projects are presented this Thursday in front of a professional gathering, both physically and via online channels.

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The 2020 assemblage contains both award-laden troupers and fresh faces. The Nordic region dominates with contenders from Germany, the Netherlands and Turkey among the chosen. Cairo-born, Berlin-based Mohammad Shawky Hassan (And on a Different Note) cuts firmly into exploratory edges with Shall I Compare You to a Summer’s Day?, a “musical essay” of queer love within Arab pop culture. Wood and Water by German director Jonas Bak travels from rural Germany to riot-ridden Hong Kong. Amsterdam-based Briton Dan Geesin deals with “human milking machines, strange white powder and an invisible deadly fungus” in Sputum. French-born, Sweden-based Morgane Dziurla-Petit, the 2020 Guldbagge winner for best short with Excess Will Save Us, turns the same title full-length, depicting her native village of Villereau in northern France. Here, a terrorist alarm, turning out to be hilariously false, went off not long after the Bataclan and Hebdo attacks. Fittingly labelled a “hybrid documentary”, the story, featuring noisy chickens and a pigeon hunt, seems as good a piece of fiction as they come, but is in fact very real.

Nordic bids include Fins Teemu Nikki (Euthanizer [+see also:
film review
interview: Teemu Nikki
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), with A Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic and Marja Pyykkö (Man and a Baby [+see also:
film profile
), presenting Sihja, an environmental activist story featuring a forest fairy. From Finland is also Reeta Aalto’s Stand Up – Kill or Die, about being single, childless and taking up comedy. From Iceland comes actress Álfrún Örnólfsdóttir’s documentary Band: This is Not a Band, and Tinna Hrafnsdóttir (The Valhalla Murders), directing, writing and co-starring in Quake (read the news), joined by Sundance nominee Marteinn Thorsson (One Point Q) and Backyard Village.

Sundance-travelled is also Denmark’s Torben Bech (Nuummioq), whose Beautiful Land is one of four Danish participants together with Barbara   Topsøe-Rothenborg’s female friendship story The Food Club, Thomas Daneskov’s wood-set drug drama Wild Men and Jonas Kærup Hjort’s “Alice in No-Wonderland” tale The Penultimate. Norway brings in seasoned sound designer Ali Parandian’s directorial debut No Man’s Land, while Emre Kayiş’ contribution Anatolian Leopard is a Turkish-Danish-German-Polish co-production.

Nominated for the Eurimages Lab Project award of €50,000 are the directors Kayiş, Nikki, Dziurla-Petit, Parandian, Kjærup Hjort, Hassan, Geesin and Daneskov. The 2020 jury consists of Sweden’s Cia Edström, head of industry at the Göteborg Film Festival, Norway’s Svend Bolstad Jensen, distribution CEO of Arthaus, and Georgian director Nino Kirtadze. As fully-charged mistress-of-ceremonies, Wendy Mitchell will oversee the proceedings, keeping time and asking friendly but also tricky questions to the young filmmakers.

The selected works-in-progress:

Anatolian Leopard – Emre Kayiş (Turkey/Denmark/Germany/Poland)
Producers: Olena Yershova Yıldız, Kanat Doğramaci (Asteros Film), Jon Hammer (Adomeit Film), Tanja Georgieva (Elemag Film), Maria Blicharska (Donten & Lacroix Films)
Junior producer: Büke Akşeh

Backyard Village – Marteinn Thorsson (Iceland)
Producers: Guðmundur Óskarsson, Marteinn Thorsson (Tenderlee)

Band: This Is Not a Band – Alfrun Ornolfsdottir (Iceland) (documentary)
Producers: Heather Millard, Þórður Jónss (Compass Films)

Beautiful Land (working title) – Torben Bech (US/Norway/Denmark)
Producer: Magnus Kristiansen (20/20 Pictures)

A Blind Man Who Did Not Want To See Titanic – Teemu Nikki (Finland)
Producer: Jani Pösö (It’s Alive Films)

Excess Will Save Us – The Movie – Morgane Dziurla-Petit (Sweden)
Producer: Fredrik Lange (Vilda Bomben Film AB)

The Food Club – Barbara Topsøe-Rothenborg (Denmark)
Producer: Nina Lyng, Eva Juel Hammerich

No Man’s Land – Ali Parandian (Norway)
Producer: Ali Parandian (Anicca Pictures)

The Penultimate – Jonas Kærup Hjort (Denmark)
Producer: Rikke Tambo Andersen (Tambo Film)
Co-production: Chezville

QuakeTinna Hrafnsdóttir (Iceland)
Producer: Hlín Jóhannesdóttir (Ursus Parvus)

Shall I Compare You To A Summer’s Day? – Mohammad Shawky Hassan (Germany/Egypt)
Producers: Maximilian Haslberger, Mohammad Shawky Hassan (Amerikafilm)

Sihja – Marja Pyykkö (Finland/Netherlands/Norway)
Producers: Venla Hellstedt, Elli Toivoniemi
Co-producers: Kristine Knudsen, Annemiek van der Hell

Sputum – Dan Geesin (Netherlands)
Producers: Esther Rots, Steven Rubinstein Malamud, Hugo Rots (Rots Filmwerk)

Stand Up – Kill it or Die – Reetta Aalto (Finland)
Producer: Sari Lempiäinen (Zodiak Finland)

Wild Men – Thomas Daneskov (Denmark/Norway)
Producer: Lina Flint (Nordisk Film Spring)
Co-producer: Einar Loftesne

Wood and Water – Jonas Bak (Germany/Denmark/Hong Kong)
Producer: Charlotte Lelong (Trance Films)

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