To boost the under-developed genre of high-end documentary films for kids, the established doc production houses Final Cut for Real (Denmark), Sant & Usant (Norway) and Story (Sweden) have teamed up on a series of six films about kids and sports.

The first 30 minute film in the series, Chikara-the Sumo Wrestler’s Son by Simon Lereng Wilmont premiered at IDFA 2013. The Danish director’s second kids doc The Fencing Champion also produced by Final Cut for Real is premiering today at IDFA’s Kids & Docs while Varicella by Victor Kossakovsky produced by Sant & Usant will be used as case study for the ‘Ultra Sport Kids’ presentation at IDFA’s Forum on November 26. The other films are Sant & Usant’s Dancing for You by Norwegian director Erlend E. Mo, Story’s Twisters by Swedish director Hanna Heilborn and Anita, Chapter 11 by Polish/Swedish director Ania Winiarska. Nordisk Film & TV Fond has supported Chikara-the Sumo Wrestler’s Son, The Fencing Champion and Dancing for You (pictured).

Final Cut for Real’s Monica Hellström, initiator of the project explains how the doc series came about: “I started working with Simon Lereng Wilmont on Chikara-The Sumo Wrestler’s son. Simon really wants to make high-end documents for kids. There aren’t so many documentaries for kids and we find it so important that kids experience real life stories that can help nuance their perspective and understanding of the world. We therefore decided that it would be really fun to make a series about kids doing different types of sport and from all different places around the world. The topic of sport is used as the engine of each story and excuse for talking about some deeper subjects such as parent pressure, shaping identity, friendships etc. To make it possible and to ensure a high creative level, we invited on board Story and Sant & Usant. The two are very strong documentary companies who work with very talented directors.”

The three Nordic partners are extremely pleased with their collaborations. “I think that coming together creatively and financially across the borders here in the North makes great sense,” says Hellström. “Our finance systems and way of working creatively are very similar, which makes it easy. It has been really inspiring getting the directors together and to discuss film language and stories and to show each other clips from the work in progress material.” “Financially though it has been a bit of a puzzle, as only the Swedish Film Institute, DR Ultra and NRK Super backed all films, notes Hellström. “Otherwise each film has the support of its national film institute and the Danish Film Institute is in one of the Swedish films. We have gained a lot of experience that’s useful for future projects.”
Story’s producer Tobias Janson ads: “It's a challenge to make ordinary documentary productions work, and when it comes to documentaries for children it's even trickier. I didn't expect that, since children's culture is so high on the political agenda.” Sant & Usant’s Anita Rehoff Larsen continues: “We wish to give documentaries for children the status they deserve and by joining forces on a Nordic level, our goal is to hopefully give them a wider audience. “

All six films will be released theatrically by DoxBio in Denmark and Folkets Bio in Sweden. Autlook Film Sales handles world sales.