REPORT: Forum @ Nordisk Panorama 2023
- We take an in-depth look at four of the non-fiction projects pitched recently at the Malmö-based gathering
One of the most prominent showcases for European projects in development and in production, this year’s Forum for the Co-financing of Documentaries at Nordisk Panorama unspooled from 25-26 September. Cineuropa takes a closer look at four of the projects pitched at the gathering.
The Smuggler - Sylvelin Måkestad (Sweden)
Produced by Ina Holmqvist for Ballad Film (the banner behind Nordisk Panorama opener and festival hit The Gullspång Miracle [+see also:
film profile]), Sylvelin Måkestad’s doc promises to be another surreal adventure. In this road movie rich in “warmth and humour”, we get to know an old woman who harbours a longing to be reconciled with her dead father. This leads to a series of absurd events during a bus trip through the Finnish countryside, with the ultimate goal of bringing her father’s gun back to Sweden – a weapon with which the man was trying to kill himself during the Winter War, 80 years ago.
The doc observes the transformation of the protagonist from “a law-abiding lady to a smuggler”. The most important stop along the way is the one allowing her to meet up with the dubious weapons dealer who still possesses her father’s gun, an encounter that will turn into “something completely unexpected”. The team, currently looking for pre-buys, sales agents and Nordic co-producers, described the project as “a thrilling, entertaining film about an elderly woman searching for answers” and “a story about the trauma of war passed from one generation to the next”. It has received development funding from the Swedish Film Institute, Film Stockholm, the Swedish Arts Council and SVT.
Fog of War over the Baltic Sea - Jaak Kilmi and Kiur Aarma (Finland/Estonia)
The interests of various great powers and rulers have clashed in the Baltic Sea region and the Gulf of Finland for centuries. As a result of such conflicts, hundreds of ships have sunk or have been sunk here – not to mention the tens of thousands of human lives lost to the depths along with their ships during the two great wars of the 20th century. Because of the political situation after these wars, these events have been given very little attention, even though their meaning and resonance in world history has been crucial.
The title of this 6x52-minute series refers to an expression coined by Prussian war strategist Carl von Clausewitz, which describes the chaotic state of affairs during wartime. “The six stories are first and foremost the stories of people, which take place, often with tragic results, in the Gulf of Finland and which use as their props the dozens of sunken ships that sail through them,” Hanna Kauppi, who is producing with Marko Röhr for Finland’s MRP Matila Röhr, told us.
Co-producing are Kilmi for Pimik (Estonia) and Aarma for Traumfabrik (Estonia). The project has received development support from the Finnish Film Foundation, the Estonian Film Institute, the Finnish-Estonian Cultural Fund, Nordvision and YLE. Budgeted at €900,000, it is slated for delivery by the end of 2025.
“The reception has been good, and the history of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland is interesting for many. The current geopolitical situation and the fact that we, as Finns and Estonians, are right next to Russia, plus the Baltic Sea being one of the most important trade routes, seem to appeal to many people. Our exceptional underwater footage has also left a mark,” added Kauppi.
Fire, Water, Earth, Air - Phie Ambo (also concept director), Jenny Lindgren, Rógvi Rasmussen, Ewa Cederstam (Denmark)
The documentary, currently in development and budgeted at €1,366,121, promises to be “a poetic portrait of climate change in the Global North, weaving together four stories of everyday life in small communities in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the Faroe Islands, as well as scientific findings, to show how we live with the unprecedented environmental changes and prepare for them”. Developed through the Danish Film Institute’s Norddok II scheme, Creative Europe, FilmFyn, the Faroese Ministry of Social Affairs and Culture CliCNord, the project is being produced by Rikke Tambo Andersen for Tambo Film. The crew includes DoP Troels Rasmussen, editor Thor Ochsner and green manager Sofie Falther.
“We plan on continuing filming until August/September next year, while editing, and on having a finished film by mid-2025,” said Tambo Andersen, adding how feedback on the project has been overwhelmingly positive. “Our goals are to talk to the Nordic broadcasters and film institutes. This will be the first Danish film to bring sustainable production into a framework that both minimises CO2 emissions and has diversity in the composition of the team in mind. We’re planning to structure it as a co-production where all of the countries involved apply as majors. As we have four local teams, we want to do this in order to divide responsibilities equally. Moreover, we are interested in talking to co-producers and sales agents,” she summed up.
International Adoption, a Global Scandal – Christine Tournadre, Sonia Gonzalez (France)
International adoption is currently at the heart of an unprecedented scandal: of the hundreds of thousands of babies adopted since the early 1950s, tens of thousands were stolen. In this documentary, we will join major investigative journalists, activists and researchers in South Korea, Sweden, France, Chile, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The film, budgeted at €514,000, will explore questions such as: “How did this colossal, lucrative market manage to prosper?” and “Why does it live on today?”
Produced by Anne Labro for Tangerine Productions, the project received backing from ARTE France, the CNC, RTS, Telewizja Polska, PROCIREP, the Ile-de-France region and Java Films. Delivery is slated for April 2024, with sales entrusted to Java Films. Labro told us the project has been very well received and revealed that it sparked some strong interest from players such as VGTV, ORF, SVT and VPRO.
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