FESTIVALS / FILM

Distribution case studies on Beware of Children and Psychosis in Stockholm

24 SEPTEMBER 2020

Beware Of Children Barn / PHOTO: Motlys Arthaus

Finnish Film Affair: On Wednesday, producers and distributors of the two titles offered a look at the films’ release strategies.

Both the Norwegian drama Beware of Children and Swedish film Psychosis in Stockholm benefitted from early marketing and distribution brainstorming sessions as part of Nordisk Film & TV Fond’s former Nordic Distribution Boost scheme.

Set up to help Nordic professionals hone their marketing skills and audience reach in neighbouring countries, the initiative has supported 16 Nordic projects between 2018-2019.

Beware of Children by Dag Johan Haugerud took part in Nordic Distribution Boost in 2018 and reached Norwegian cinemas in September 2019, just a few days after its world premiere at Venice Days 2019.

The film received 13 awards including a Dragon Award at the 2020 Göteborg Film Festival and is nominated for the 2020 Nordic Council Film Prize. Picture Tree handles world sales.

Producer Yngve Sæther (Motlys) said he first started working on the artwork and trailer in the summer 2018. He hired London-based creative agency Intermission which had worked on Joachim Trier’s Thelma and offered competitive prices. “Together with Intermission, we agreed on the message and checked if we could use the same visual internationally and at home-which we eventually did. It was fun to get an early reaction from Intermission, who felt the film was highly relevant for an international audience as well,” continues Sæther. The producer said creating a log-line for the film and finding the title were challenging. Then finding a release date that would work for the local and international launch was also difficult.

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Distribution case studies on Beware of Children and Psychosis in Stockholm

The film was originally set to open via Arthaus in March 2019, as the Cannes Film Festival had shown an early interest. The film was eventually selected at Venice Days, and the Arthaus release was therefore delayed by six months to September 2019.

“Arthaus wanted the best for the film and were flexible,” stressed Sæther. The film ended up selling 21,000 tickets. “We had anticipated those numbers, as this is usually what quality arthouse films generate,” said Arthaus’ head of marketing Nille Stormoen.

In neighbouring Sweden, the film released by TriArt sold less than 10,000 tickets and 4,000 in Denmark, via Øst for Paradis. "The film was released under tough circumstances, during Covid-19," noted the producer.

Psychosis in Stockholm by Maria Bäck was also part of the Nordic Distribution Boost 2018.

Initially set for a domestic release early 2020, to build on its media exposure around the Göteborg Film Festival where it was selected as opening film, the Swedish title was then postponed twice due to Covid-19.

It eventually opened August 31 via TriArt. So far the film has locked in 3,000 people, a satisfactory result for TriArt’s CEO Eva Esseen Arndorff. “Given the 50 people max limit in cinemas that is impacting cinema-going, we’re pretty happy with those numbers,” she said.

The film which deals with mental illness, benefitted from a strong social media campaign, with 15-20 clips of 10’. Preview screenings were set up, in conjunction with organisations involved in mental health issues that also spread the word through their channels.

According to the distributor, the film had two legs in its campaign: it was targeted first towards the arthouse audience of 45+ female, with a second target audience of people working in health and socially-related jobs. Producer Anna-Maria Kantarius (Garagefilm) said taking part at a very early stage in Nordic Distribution Boost was ‘very helpful’, to discuss with TriArt and other Nordic distributors, the title, log-line and overall marketing strategy.

The producer also underlined the ‘great input’ from sales agent LevelK who helped put together a marketing package that worked both on a domestic and international level.

Kantarius said the film’s festival exposure had to be readjusted due to the pandemic, but she praised the collaborative work with local health organisations, which was “rewarding in a different way”. “Impact is an important success criteria,” she said.

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Distribution case studies on Beware of Children and Psychosis in Stockholm

Psychosis In Stockholm / PHOTO: Garagefilm

The film has not yet opened in the rest of the Nordics-again due to the pandemic. For TriArt’s CEO, Nordic Distribution Boost played an important networking role. “Such an initiative can help share materials and save money,” said Esseen Arndorff.

Invited as guest speaker by moderator Andrea Reuter, the Fund’s CEO Liselott Forsman said the Fund has gathered very positive feedback on Nordic Distribution Boost and she is looking into new ways to support the distribution sector, notably through a new Distribution Boost, this time earmarked towards documentary films.

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