Filmmakers Milad Alami, Hlynur Pálmason, Liv Karin Dahlstrøm and producer Stinna Lassen look back at their pitching experience and give tips to rising Nordic Talents.

In 2000, former Nordisk Film & TV Fond CEO Svend Abrahamsen had the idea to help emerging film graduates from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, get a kickstart in the industry and expand their networking opportunities across the Nordic region. The National Film School of Denmark became a fully-fledge partner.

Since then, year after year, around 15 promising talents of the next generation of filmmakers, writers, and producers from the Nordic region, screen their graduation film and pitch a project to an audience of 200+representatives from the film and television industry and wannabe professionals.

The two best pitches are eligible for the Nordic Talents Pitch Prize and Special Mention, each attached with a NOK250,000 and NOK50,000 development cash award from Nordisk Film & TV Fond.

“Nordic Talents has turned into an astounding success, envied by many outside the Nordic region,” said Abrahamsen. “I personally attend Nordic Talents every year. It allows anyone to check the creative trends and scout new talent.”

Due to Covid-19, this year’s Nordic Talents set to take place October 21-22, will exceptionally move online.

Participant registration deadline is October 15 at noon (CET).

To sign up to attend and check the full programme CLICK HERE

In this first part of two series of short interviews, we’ve asked former Nordic Talents young attendees to look back at their pitching experiences and to offer tips to emerging talents in the film and TV industry.

Writer/director, Denmark
Iranian-born Milad Alami grew up in Sweden and lives in Denmark. In 2011 he graduated from The Danish National Film School. The same year he shared with producer Stinna Lassen, a Special Mention Prize at Nordic Talents for the project The Evacuation of Åbyn. He won multiple awards for his short films Intet kan røre mig, Mini, Void and Mommy.

His first feature, the psycho-thriller The Charmer (2017) won 12 awards. He was episodic director of DR’s hit series Follow the Money 3 and concept director of the multi-plot drama When the Dust Settles. He is preparing the Swedish psycho thriller film The Opponent.

What did it mean for you to attend Nordic Talents and to win the Special Mention?
MA: It was a great experience to meet all the other participants and get a first glimpse of the professional Industry waiting for us outside of the safe walls of the film school. On a personal note it was encouraging to win an award. I’ve met some of my close collaborators during Nordic Talents.

What advice or tip would you give emerging talents trying to get into the film & TV industry?
MA: I would recommend them to learn to work on different projects simultaneously, and focus on the stories that are important for them, rather than trying to please the industry.

Producer, CEO Good Company Films, Denmark
A graduate from the National Film School of Denmark, Stinna Lassen attended Nordic Talents in 2011 and was handed a Special Mention, together with director Milad Alami for their project The Evacuation of Åbyn.  The same year she founded the company Windeløv/Lassen with former Lars von Trier producer Vibeke Windeløv.

Today Lassen is CEO of Good Company Films. Her production credit includes the series The Team, Wisting, When the Dust Settles (Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize nominee 2020), Milad Alami’s breakthrough film The Charmer among others. She is currently working on a new major TV drama for DR and…on maternity leave!

What did it mean for you to attend Nordic Talents and win a Special Mention?
SL: I remember being very nervous before pitching at Nordic Talents, so I was immensely proud to win the Special Mention together with Milad. To present a project and to be awarded by a professional industry jury really gave me a boost of self-confidence.

The prize gave Milad and I the opportunity to work on a project together right after film school, and although that particularly project was never realised, we continued to develop our collaboration, and today we have made several short films, a feature film and a TV series together.

What advice would you give emerging talents trying to get into the film & TV industry?
SL: Work hard, be humble, and believe in yourself. I have found that little in the business is down to luck, so if you keep working hard to develop your skills and improve your talent, the industry will recognise you and your work.

Writer/director, Norway 
Liv Karin Dahlstrøm graduated from Lillehammer’s Norwegian Film School in 2012 with the short film Jackie. Her feature project Jarle India Unni earned her a Special Mention Prize at Nordic Talents.  She rapidly established her name in TV series, working on the short formats Games (Prix Jeunesse 2014), Mysteriet på sommerbåten, Hva Hvis and Helium.  Her short film Women & Cava about women and friendship turned into a festival hit and won Best Short at the Seattle International Film Festival. A TV drama version will premiere on NRK early 2021.

What did it mean for you to win the Nordic Talents Special Mention on a professional and personal standpoint?
LKD: It was a good recognition for me before I entered the industry. I'm interested in telling stories about the typical feelings that arise in everyday life’s relationships. I was pleased that the jury and attendees at Nordic Talents liked the idea for my project pitched Jarle India Unni as it was close to what I wanted to continue to write and create.

What advice would you give emerging talents trying to get into the film & TV industry?
LKD: It has been important to me to protect my initial joy of telling stories. The good thing about going to film school is that many of my colleagues are also my friends - so even if you have to work very hard, there is less conflict and more fun when crew members are friends and colleagues. There are definitely many different good ways to enter the industry. Be humble and clear, and never kick down the ladder.

Writer/director, Iceland
Icelandic-born Hlynur Pálmason graduated from the National Film School of Denmark in 2013. He won a Special Mention at Nordic Talents - with producer Julie Waltersdorph - for the pitch of his feature debut Winter Brothers.

The sibling rivalry drama world premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival, where it won four awards. It triumphed at the 2018 Danish Robert film awards, picking up eight statuettes including Best Film.

His second feature A White, White Day premiered at the Critics’ Week in Cannes, and received a similar critical and festival attention. Both films were nominated for the Nordic Council Film Prize. Pálmason is working on an Icelandic period film and pursuing his parallel activity as a visual artist.  

What did it mean for you to win the Nordic Talents Special Mention on a professional and personal standpoint?
LP: It’s always a good feeling when there is a platform that takes your work seriously. When you are fresh out of school, you somehow need exposure and a place to screen your work and have a dialogue. Nordic Talent is good for this place of dialogue. Winning an award was a bonus and we used it for the development and preparation for Winter Brothers.

What advice would you give emerging talents trying to get into the film & TV industry?
LP: I would advise them to make personal films, to find something you're passionate about and dig deep. Also, I would recommend them to create a daily life that is interesting and stimulating for them.