In 2020, Nordisk Film & TV Fond celebrated its 30th anniversary and added three new partners to its exclusive Nordic partnership: Norway’s leading web-TV doc specialist VGTV as well as the major Nordic streaming services NENT Group’s Viaplay and C More Entertainment. Nordisk Film & TV Fond’s current funding parties are the Nordic Council of Ministers, five Nordic film institutes and 16 Nordic TV and OTT companies.

Liselott Forsman, CEO at Nordisk Film & TV Fond said: “When I think of the Fund’s year, I think of a stronger foundation than ever before, with 22 partners collaborating. I think of a year of a growing support to series, documentaries as well as to children's content. A year of Nordic productions travelling, winning awards and making lasting impact. But I also think of the very tough year, when a global pandemic challenged production companies, cinemas and the whole industry.

I think of company resilience, of public mitigations and Fund surveys to help understand the best routes to recovery. A year of us all going virtual, learning to reach each other through screens in our daily business and when reflecting on our shared future in a new mood. 2020 was also my first whole year at the Fund. I heartily welcome you all to remember the exceptional 2020 with us!”

Production support
Partly due to the presence of leading Nordic streaming services in its funding structure from January 2020, Nordisk Film & TV Fond saw a 27% increase in TV drama applications compared to 2019, and 21 series received support against 15 the previous year.

The largest grant of NOK 3.7 million was allocated to Lars von Trier’s third instalment in its cult series Riget/The Kingdom-Exodus. Other premium series granted NOK 3 million or more include Blackport (Vesturport, IS), Countrymen (Rubicon TV, NO), Fury (Monster Scripted, NO), Made in Oslo (Tordenfilm NO), Snow Angels (Yellow Bird/Happy Ending Film (SE/DK), Trom (REinvent Studios, DK), Max Anger-With One Eye Open (Nice Drama, SE) and White Sands (DeLuca Film, DK).

Within feature film, 24 projects were supported in 2020 against 27 in 2019. The Norwegian feature project War Sailor by Gunnar Vikene (Mer Film) received the largest grant of NOK 4 million, and another four ambitious Nordic films received NOK 3 million or more each: the Norwegian animated film When the Robbers came to Cardamom Town by Rasmus A. Sivertsen (Qvisten Animation), the disaster film The North Sea by John Andreas Andersen (Fantefilm), A Swedish Christmas Tale by Hannes Holm (SF Studios) and The Emigrants by Erik Poppe (SF Studios).

Documentaries saw a surge in support, with 20 applications approved against 13 in 2019. Among recipients of the largest individual grant of NOK 850,000 were Nelly & Nadine by Magnus Gertten (Auto Images, SE), Defending Ongwen, co-directed by Emil Langballe and Lukasz Konopa (Made in Copenhagen, DK), as well as The Lost Leonardo by Andreas Koefoed (Elk Film, DK).

Within the priority area of Children and Youth Films, 46 projects received support across production, distribution and dubbing, against 36 in 2019. The largest grant was handed out to the Norwegian animation project When the Robbers Came to Cardamom Town by Rasmus A. Sivertsen. The Fund received 29 distribution and dubbing support applications for kids and youth films, and all received support.

Regarding gender balance, men largely dominated the directing posts in feature film (18M/6F) and documentaries (12M/6F/2 multi), while an equal split was almost achieved in TV drama (10F/11M). A similar trend was noticeable in screenwriting.

Distribution and Dubbing support
Funding to the industry sector fell drastically, a downward trend most likely associated to shifts and delays in theatrical distribution across the Nordics, due to Covid-19.

Overall funding was NOK6.5 million in 2020, against NOK9.38 million in 2019. A total of 40 single-film distribution and four slate distribution grants were approved.

As in previous years, films that crossed borders were split into two broad categories

  • Films for kids and youth - a majority in 2020, with several animated films, dubbed in other Nordic languages. For instance the Swedish film Pelle No-tail and Danish film Dreambuilders were dubbed into four Nordic languages, while Norway’s Captain Sabertooth and the Magic Diamond and Christmas at Cattle Hill was dubbed into three Nordic languages.
  • Genre and acclaimed films, such as Roy Andersson’s About Endlessness, distributed by SF Norge in Norway, Camera Film in Denmark and BíoParadís in Iceland; Anders Refn’s WW2 film Into the Darkness distributed by Norsk Filmdistribusjon in Norway, Scanbox in Sweden, and Niels Arden Oplev’s Daniel, distributed by Euforia in Norway and Nordisk Film in Sweden. Among documentaries, the Danish film Fat Front was released in Sweden via LevelK and the Swedish film Greta in Denmark via Camera Film.

Industry Initiatives Support
With Covid-19 wreaking havoc among festivals, markets and other trade events, forced to cancel, delay their dates or shift to the virtual space, fewer events received funding in 2020 - 12 against 20 the previous year. The largest individual grants of €530,000 were allocated to the main Nordic industry film showcases New Nordic Films in Haugesund and Nordic Film Market in Göteborg.

Among the Fund’s annual events celebrating the best Nordic talents, the Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize for outstanding writing of a Nordic TV drama was handed out to Sara Johnsen for the Norwegian drama 22 July. The event awards ceremony co-organised by the Göteborg Film Festival was held for the fourth time.

Nordic Talents which turned 20, had to move to late October, instead of its usual early September dates and to a virtual event, due to the pandemic. The Norwegian Film School took home the two main prizes: the Nordic Talents Pitch Prize of NOK 250,000 went to Hazhir Ibrahimi for his documentary project Kolbar, and the NOK 50,000 Special Mention Prize to director Kerren Lumer- Klabbers and writer Emil Wahl for the fiction project Woman Walking.

The Nordic Council Film Prize also turned virtual, with a TV show broadcast October 27 by RÚV from the Harpa Concert and Conference Hall in Reykjavik. The 2020 winner of the coveted Nordic statuette was the Norwegian film Beware of Children by Dag Johan Haugerud, produced by Motlys.