The Icelander Thordur Pálsson and Danish creative duo, director Gustav Möller and producer Lina Flint (pictured with son) emerged last Friday as the top Nordic talents to watch out for after two days of graduation film screenings and pitching from 17 Nordic film school graduates at Nordic Talents held in Copenhagen.
Pálsson, a graduate from the National Film and Television School of Beaconsfield, UK, was awarded the NOK250.000 Best Nordic Talents Pitch Prize for his fiction project Stuck in Dundalk and the NOK50.000 Special Mentilon Prize was handed out to the National Film School of Denmark’s pair Möller and Flint for the thriller drama The Guilty.
The prestigious Copenhagen film school had the most pitches, along with Stockholm’s Dramatic School of Arts (5 each), and three projects developed by students from those schools have already been picked by production houses Zentropa (Death Drives Audi by Aske Bang) and Adomeit Film (Forever 13 by Annika Berg and the documentary Lida by Anna Eborn).
Commenting on the event attended by 200 Nordic industry people and film students, juror Nikolai Nikitin, Berlinale Festival Programmer said: “Nordic Talents offered a clear sample of the voices of tomorrow and I do not know of any other platform where you discover not only graduation films, but also new projects pitched to a jury, and where serious development money is attached."
For the Berlinale rep, the top winner Stuck in Dundalk confirmed the high level of storytelling in the Nordic noir genre, and there was also a great variety of contemporary themes [mental disorder, death, relationships and sex, immigration, family ties] that appealed in different ways to the jury members and made it hard for them to pick the winners.
Although slightly disappointed by the documentary projects, Leena Pasanen, Director Leipzig Documentary Film Festival was still taken aback by the promising voices behind the fiction projects. Stille Bille, writer and former DFI Film Commissioner said: “2015 was a strong year although some great ideas in the pitches were not polished enough.”
"Many projects were in early stages of development and some lacked a clear vision ” noted Helen Ahlsson, former Nordic Talents winner and SFI-Moving Sweden coordinator.
Another regular attendant and former winner, writer/director Rúnar Rúnarsson added: “To make a film, you need to have a personal voice as nearly every story has been told. Being a good filmmaker, like being a carpenter, is not enough. Film students must be aware of life after school and knowing how to pitch is part of that learning process.”
Film producer graduate Lena Flint who has already made the leap into the film industry as founder of the ‘Nordisk Film Spring’ (Nordisk Film Denmark’s talent development scheme) said about Nordic Talents: “What I found especially inspiring was meeting all the other talents from Scandinavia. The pitching classes were a great forum for exchanging ideas and methods and pitch tutors Paul Tyler and Karoline Leth provided excellent lectures. I was also amazed of how many professionals showed up. Nordic Talents is definitely a great kick-start for our first steps from school into the business.”
The 15th Nordic Talents (September 02-04, 2015) was co-organized by Nordisk Film & TV Fond and the National Film School of Denmark.
FIVE NORDIC TALENTS TO WATCH
Icelander Thordur Pálsson spent his youth in the video store of his grand-parents. First tempted by acting, he was quickly sucked into filmmaking. He graduated from the Icelandic Film School in 2012 as director/producer with the film A Hard World that screened at several festivals. He then continued his training with an MA diploma in Directing from the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield, from which he graduated last February. His graduation film Brothers won a Special Mention at Palm Springs ShortFest 2015.
Vision: “I’m interested in telling character-driven stories that connect with an audience and working with actors”.
- Feature film: Stuck in Dundalk. An alcoholic goes on a mission to avenge his daughter’s death. Stuck in a small fishing town, he befriends a single mother and her son and finds a new lease on life.
- The Valhalla Murders: A police officer has to investigate a series of murders modelled on Norse mythology.
Gustav Möller (1988) moved from Gothenburg to Copenhagen in his twenties as he felt a closer affinity to contemporary cinema in Denmark rather than in his homeland. After studying film at high school, he took a course at the KBH Film & Photo School before entering the National Film School of Denmark. His graduation film In Darkness (I Mørke) starring Joel Spira and Josephine Raaahauge, won Haugesund’s Next Nordic Generation Award 2015. Möller is associated to Nordisk Film Spring, a talent development division part of Nordisk Film.
Vision: “I am interested in exploring mental and physical imprisonment. I want to tell raw and realistic stories“.
Project Pitched: The Guilty
The low budget psychological thriller tells of a Police officer turned alarm-central dispatcher who is haunted by guilt from his past. He tries to redeem himself by saving - over the phone - a kidnapped woman.
Alexis Almström was born in a Stockholm suburb in 1985. He started as rap artist and musician under the name AlexisWeak and was nominated in 2009 for the New Artist Award at the Swedish Grammies. Tempted by filmmaking, he applied for the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts. His short film Mazda screened at the 2015 Gothenburg Film Festival. His graduation film The Pink Cloud Syndrome (Rosa moln) produced by Singularity, is the story of two young adults struggling with their addictions, who start dreaming of a better life together.
Vision: “I want to make movies that go straight to your body and soul, like music”.
Project Pitched: Shorty
15 year-old Alina lives in a suburb in Stockholm. During the summer, she takes care of the dog of a local drug dealer. When he goes to prison, she tries to take care of his business.
Annika Berg (1987) was first drawn to painting and literature. As she hit a low point in her teen years, her mother enrolled her at Station X film school where Berg found in filmmaking the perfect vehicle for her artistic inclinations. She made two short films and entered the National Film School of Denmark. Her graduation film, the hybrid work Sia won a Special Mention at the 2015 Norwegian Film Festival in Haugesund.
Vision: “Experimenting with film as a visual art is what drives me”.
Project Pitched: Forever 13
A year in the life of a group of teen girls as they begin the perilous journey from childhood to young adulthood.
Swedish born Anna Eborn (1983) is already a familiar name in the documentary scene thanks to her first feature length film Pine Ridge Dragon Award winner-Best Documentary in Göteborg 2014. She first studied Film and Photography in Malmö and worked as an assistant director to Johan Melin (Profetia). She directed a few films and eventually enrolled at Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts to get a formal education in documentary filmmaking. With her graduation film The Son (Sonen)), the director goes back to a small Swedish speaking community in Eastern Ukraine filmed in her previous short film Baba.
Vision: “I want to capture the feeling of longing, void and loneliness. “
Project pitched: Lida
The feature length documentary is the full story of the elderly Lida from the Swedish speaking Ukrainian village of Gammalsvenskby and her family, separated by war between Ukraine and Russia.
More photos of the event are available on our Facebook page.