REPORT: Work-in-Progress @ Nordisk Panorama 2023
- We discover more details about three of the projects close to completion that were showcased at this year’s gathering in Sweden
On 24 September, Nordisk Panorama (21-26 September) hosted the Work-in-Progress presentations of six nearly finished documentaries. The projects were presented to a group of international and Nordic decision makers at a tailor-made event held at Malmö’s Scandic Triangeln. In this article, we explore the details of three of these projects.
The Dialogue Police – Susanna Edwards (Sweden/Norway/Denmark)
In this doc, we follow the Swedish “Dialogue Police” during an election campaign where several fateful issues are at stake: wars, climate emergencies, inflation and Koran burnings. According to the project’s synopsis, this police body “fights for democracy and everyone’s right to freedom of speech with dialogue as its only weapon”. Producer and director Susanna Edwards told us the picture is currently being edited by Stefan Sundlöf. Co-producing with Edwards’ own banner, Susanna Edwards AB, are Norway’s Kristine Skaret and Denmark’s Thor Hampus Bank for Got Fat Production. Editing is set to continue until next February, with delivery slated for August 2024.
“The Dialogue Police was presented at the WIP event at Nordisk Panorama together with five other projects. The clip we showed is a scene where the Dialogue Police officers are challenged the most, working with a demonstration where the Koran is to be burned. The scene connects to the current international debate about protests where the Koran is desecrated, which has forced Sweden to raise the terror-threat level,” said Edwards.
“The presentation led to surprised reactions from foreign sales agents and broadcasters, [prompting questions such as:] is The Dialogue Police yet another ‘crazy’ Swedish experiment? It also opened up interesting discussions about the limits of freedom of expression and what type of democracy the police forces are supposed to protect. We saw strong interest from Sundance and Hot Docs. We will have a first rough cut in November and hope to premiere it at Hot Docs or Venice,” she added.
The End of Quiet – Sara Stockmann, Kasper Bisgaard, Mikael Lypinski (Denmark/Sweden)
This documentary unfolds in the tiny town of Green Bank, hidden deep in the forests of West Virginia, which is home to one of the most sensitive radio telescopes on Earth. If scientists want to eavesdrop on an iPhone on Mars, they can. But even the faintest electromagnetic emissions can disrupt the Green Bank Observatory. That is why mobile phones, Wi-Fi and microwave ovens are heavily restricted. Both residents and scientists alike share in the silence. All of them are – for various reasons – cut off from the culture of constant connectivity. Some seek out silence and isolation, be they scientists in search of knowledge, conspiracy fanatics or electro-hypersensitive individuals. Others are there by chance, most notably the children in the community.
According to the creative team, the project “digs deep into this remote, rural region, where high-tech meets low-tech and vibrant characters can be found under the telescope's giant dish.” The feature, currently looking for gap financiers, is being produced by Sara Stockmann for Denmark’s Sonntag Pictures and Daniel Pynnönen for Sweden’s Picky Pictures. Editing will be finalised in four weeks. The premiere is planned for Q1 2024, whilst theatrical distribution (already confirmed with an undisclosed partner in Sweden) will begin in autumn, and broadcast is slated for January 2025. “We are hoping to initiate fresh dialogues and forge new partnerships here with a sales agent, distributors, festivals and broadcasters,” Stockmann told us. Uno Helmersson is in charge of the score, whilst Charlotte Munch Bengtsen serves as the editor.
A New Kind of Wilderness - Silje Evensmo Jacobsen (Norway)
On a small farm in a Norwegian forest, the Paynes lead an isolated and natural lifestyle. Maria and Nik and their four children are self-sufficient, do home schooling and want to live an independent and close-knit family life in nature. But their world is turned upside-down when tragedy strikes and modern society awaits them. Produced by Mari Bakke Riise, of Oslo-based A5 Films, the movie “will be finalised just around the corner”, with a release planned early next year, according to the team. The distribution plan includes an A-list festival premiere such as at Sundance or CPH:DOX, followed by screenings at other gatherings throughout the year. Broadcast is planned for later in 2024/2025.
“We aim to reach a worldwide audience, hoping we can make them feel something deep within and spark deep conversations about how we live our lives, care for our planet and our children, and how we navigate life after a deep loss. The reception [of the project] at the forum has been great. We talked with festivals and broadcasters who loved it, so we hope this will bode well for its future,” the director told Cineuropa.
Kim Christiansen, of DR Sales, is in charge of the project’s sales and distribution.
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