Lively talks and food for thought abound on m:brane’s Opening Industry Day
by Jan Lumholdt
- Articulate speakers, colourful experts, Norwegian pioneers and more… In all, it was a typically brimful affair on the first day of Malmö’s youth film financing forum
Few programme items are more aptly monikered than the first day of the m:brane youth film financing forum in Malmö, the Opening Industry Day – which indeed opens each edition, invites a vast array of industry participants and, not least, makes the most of a full day. The 2023 edition was no exception, filled to the brim with keynote speeches, case studies, panels, project presentations and workshops.
Following the Netherlands, Finland, Canada and France, it’s Norway’s turn to take the stage as this year’s m:brane focus country, and thus the country brought along an elaborate quartet of speakers to present and reflect on a variety of topics, including funding, distribution and quality strategies. Representing the Norwegian Film Institute (NFI), film commissioner Klara Nilsson Grunning and children and youth advisor Berit Andersen opened proceedings, presenting the NFI strategy plan to ensure that content for young audiences is optimised for advantageous results.
The concept of involving the audience as participants in the creative process – an already classic national case in point being the series Skam, where the viewers were regularly able to interact – was continually in the spotlight. “Interest in these interactions from the filmmaker’s side is considerable and growing steadily,” said Nilsson Grunning, who also curated the full programme. “But it also takes a whole new kind of knowledge and experience. And it’s nothing you learn just once; rather, you will have to update and re-invent things each time.”
In two case studies, producer Ingvil Giske discussed the funding and distribution strategies around the documentary feature Kids Cup, while director Kenneth Elvebakk vividly recounted his tour around Norwegian schools with the documentary Hello World as part of the nationwide “Cultural School Bag” programme. Food for thought was expertly provided by Berit Andersen, as was the validation of Norway as a true pioneer in this field of cinema, which she summed up well in her keynote speech on the national children and youth strategy and its most essential focus areas: “insight, dissemination, education and, last but not least, participation”. It’s been a job well done thus far, and with a bright future, according to producers like Giske, who is “generally very happy with our film-institute consultants – who decided, some years ago, not to discriminate against the younger audiences when it comes to funding”.
The afternoon offered lively panel discussions under the headings “Making a Difference - What Can We Do to Ensure Quality Content for Kids?” and “Measuring Magic: A Conversation on the Significance of Children’s Cinema Culture”, and it was rounded off by the second instalment of m:brane’s new “Learning” initiative, focusing on non-didactic interaction. From Denmark came intercultural expert Niels Righolt and YouTube sensation Maria Jarjis, whose science-knowledge channel “WTF Is That?” has made quite a splash; hailing from Sweden was science educator Sofia Winge, who has turned an archaeological iron-age site into a Minecraft game; while producer Fredrik Edström has been using his immersive VR skills in collaboration with the “Sagamatha Next” sustainability project in Nepal. Colourful and intriguing participants one and all, several of whom will participate in the brand-new think tank, also part of the Learning segment, which will hold a closed session during this year’s m:brane days.
All m:brane info can be found here.
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