We have picked five Nordic talents among the 15 promising voices from the region that attended Nordic Talents in Copenhagen last week.
The two-day event (September 6-7) attended by more than 200 film professionals and Nordic film school graduates, was co-organized by Nordisk Film & TV Fond and the National Film School of Denmark.
ANITA BEIKPOUR (DK)- Nordic Talents Pitch winner
Born 1989 in Århus, Denmark of Iranian parents, Anita Beikpour spent much of her youth watching and creating short films with her friends. She just graduated from the documentary filmmaking course at the National Film School of Denmark with the film Walk with Me, a personal travel back in time to a life in Iran that she never experienced, and a tribute to her grandfather who committed suicide when he came to Denmark after the revolution. Beikpour won the top Nordic Talents Pitch Prize 2017 for her documentary feature project I Believe I Can Fly.
Vision: “I’m interested in telling socio-political stories–especially about identity-using a poetic visual style. There are so many films in the world, so I would really like to create something new -maybe even something I don’t know what it looks like yet- rather than repeating something just because I can. “
Role model: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Project pitched: I Believe I Can Fly
The film focuses on a young rapper: Rikke who dreams of becoming the first big female rapper in Denmark. The film will experiment with animation mixed with dreamlike layers and reality. A rap music fan herself, Beikpour said her goal is make a film that youngsters can relate to. The project will be produced by Patricia Drati of Good Company Pictures, Denmark.
THORA LORENTZEN (DK) Nordic Talents Special Mention winner
Born in 1986, Thora Lorentzen first turned to modelling, then journalism. She studied at the Danish School of Media & Journalism-TV Producer (2009-2013) before enrolling at the National Film School of Denmark’s documentary filmmaking course (2013-2017). Her short film This Place We Call Our Home, co-directed with Sybilla Marie Wester Tuxen, was nominated at the 2015 European Film Awards and attended several festivals including the Festival du Film de Femmes. Her second short Fares also travelled extensively including the recent Sheffield Festival in the UK and True/False Festival in the US. Her 2017 graduation film Either Or tells the very personal story of the director’s complicated relationship with Kewin.
Vision: “I want to tell intimate and authentic stories with visual sensitivity, blurring the lines between fiction and non-fiction.
Role models: Lars von Trier, Roy Andersson.
Project pitched: Absolute Beginners The coming-of age documentary series follows over a period of a year, the emotional relationships between a group of teenage students at the Danish music residential school ’Ollerup Efterskole’. Lorentzen (herself a former Ollerup alumnus) said the film is about ’love and friendship and insecurities that come with it’. The series will be produced by Danish Documentary.
OTTO BANOVITS (SE)
Hungarian/Swedish Ottó Banovits was born in Sweden in 1988 in an artistic family. He first expressed his creative talent through dance, and rapidly turned to filmmaking. After graduating with a BA in Film & Television from the University of the Arts London, he joined Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts. His short film Agape (2014) won Best Film Jury Award at Hungary’s Mediawave Film Festival and Donkey Xote (2016) Best Film at Montreal World Film Festival International Student competition. Banovits’ graduation film Dark Chamber is based on the true event of 71 illegal refugees who tragically died trapped in the back of a truck in Sweden.
Vision: “My moto is to tell human stories with a unique and personal approach, to capture a reality that only I can capture. In the case of the refugee crisis, the specific point of view that I use enables me to avoid stereotypes and to find the truth beneath.”
Role models: Ingmar Bergman, Christopher Nolan, Joachim Trier, László Nemes among others
Project pitched: Visitors The film approaches the current refugee crisis from the angle of a friendship between a truck driver, transporting 70 illegal immigrants, and an 8-year old refugee girl.
ULAA SALIM (DK)
Born in 1987 in Denmark of Iraqi parents, Ulaa Salim started exploring storytelling as a writer, and found in film directing the best way to fully express himself. He then joined the National Film School of Denmark.
Salim has directed five short films, including Our Fathers’ Sons that won the Talent Award and Audience Award at the Odense Film Festival 2015 and a Special Mention at Cyprus Short Film Fest. His graduation film Land of our Fathers just won a Special Mention at Haugesund’s Next Generation section and is nominated for the 2018 Robert Awards-Best Short Film. The film tells of Hassan who moved back to his native Jordan after a tough divorce and life in Denmark. He gets a visit from his son, hoping for a reconciliation.
Vision: “Film is a way to see reality in a different way”
Role models: Martin Scorsese
Project pitched: Denmark (working title) The film inspired by American History X, tells of a young aspiring man plotting a major coup. He meets Malik who fights his own battle and carries a life-threatening secret.The film will be produced by Salim’s own company Hyena Film.
JANNE VANHANEN (writer/director) & VEERA LAMMINPÄÄ (writer/director)
Born in 1992, J.J. Vanhanen spent his childhood in the isolated small Finnish town of Sysmä and channeled his energy through watching and making genre films in his early teens, until he joined the Tampere University of Applied Science’s filmmaking course. His graduation film About the Birds and the Bees received Audience Awards both at Concorto Film Festival, Italy and Plymouth Film Festival, UK. It’s the story of a quiet farmer father and his son, who set out on a trip to the pharmacy after the teen has a little ‘accident’ with his girlfriend.
Vanhanen’s film school colleague Veera Lamminpää (born in 1994) attended an art school before turning to filmmaking. She graduated from Tampere University of Applied Arts’s Screenwriting course, then attended a short training as script editor at YLE. She is currently working as production coordinator at Mjölk. Her graduation film Rotisseur tells of an over confident chef who slowly comes to turn with his imperfections. Visions: Vanhanen is keen on drama and comedy, Lamminpää on musicals, horror and sci-fi. Both would like to mix classic stories with sub-genres, using topics close to their hearts, such as gender roles, climate change, city vs. country life.
For Vanhanen: Satoshi Kon, David Fincher, Stanley Kubrick (especially Barry Lyndon).
For Lamminpää: Chan-wook Park, Satoshi Kon and Taika Waititi.
Project pitched: Tero Wants a Girlfriend. Web series of 10X10’, to be directed by J.J. Vanhanen and co-written by Veera Lammimpää. Tero the main character is a video blogger lacking social skills. He believes that having a girlfriend will solve his problems. With his equally socially-inept friends, he decides to fix the problem. The satirical comedy will look at the societal phenomenon of online male communities in Finland.
For more information about Nordic Talents CLICK HERE.