Nordisk Panorama: The Forum Day Two
Skrevet den 26-09-2017 15:38:43 af Tue Steen Müller
Second day at Amiralen in Malmø for the Forum with twelve productions to be pitched. I was hoping for Cinema, for stories with an emphasis on visual storytelling, and I got it with the third project of the day, ”Swimming Pools” from Iceland, director and cinematographer Jón Karl Helgason. Also in terms of the verbal side of the presentation this was the most original pitch of the two days. Helgason asked us all in the room to close our eyes and gave us the job to visualise some scenes. We did. And I was pleased that finally here was someone who broke the schematic and predictable rythm. It was a wonderful, warm and funny, visually magnificent trailer about the many bathing facilities offered to the Icelandic population, and what it means to them. And the director told us that in Iceland people get old, also because of the pools. He wants to go to cinema with the film, and of course also with a tv version.
Unfortunately the two first tv editors to comment (from SBS and YLE) spoiled the party. What is the film about, was the question? Well we just saw and heard that. You should go very close to the old people, was a comment. Well I will, the director said, it is only in the pools that personal questions are not allowed. After these two opening remarks it all went flat, as producer Heino Deckert said to me in a break – meaning that you hear ”thank you for the pitch” and similar sentences of politeness.
Nordisk Panorama has a tradition for asking the filminstitute/fund people to select films to be presented as a ”wildcard”. The Icelandic was one of those, and the Danish wildcard was ”A New Beginning”, producer Søren Steen Jespersen with director Ala’a Mohsen, who graduated from the Danish Film School in 2015. It is one of those touching stories that you hear about and read about. Let me quote the catalogue and you will understand: Rabiaa arrives from Syria to Norway with his four-year-old son Qais. They have lost the rest of their family in a barrel bomb attack in Aleppo. Now, the two of them must start all over again… in Norway… A hopeful film on a tragic background.
The Norwegian wildcard was ”Faith Can Move Mountains” by Silje Evensmo Jacobsen about nuns who want – with the support of the Orthodox church in Romania – to build a monastery in a ”nearly inaccessible mountain ledge”. With little understanding from the locals. It looked like a very good story for television. ´To be finished spring 2019.
Back to Cinema to mention the last film pitched, Swedish ”Hamada” (Photo) by Eloy Dominguez Serén, produced by Momento Film in Stockholm. The director has been in the Sahara desert, where the Sahrawi people (150.000 political refugees) live isolated. He was there for 7 months getting to know his characters, youngsters, three of them. A situational documentary with long sequences of beauty and charisma. For cinema.
The same goes for Eva Mulvad’s new project, ”Family on the Run”, I think this project got the biggest applause in the two days of the Forum. Because of a strong trailer and story, emotional, a love story of great intensity. On the run - from Iran because of ”adultery, espionage and their own shame of having an illegimate child”. Eva Mulvad is such a good talker, precise and warmly caring about her protagonists.
I complained about the first day’s selection. I still think that Nordisk Panorama Forum should have more multilayered artistic documentaries, but the second day was clearly better than the first avoiding the more tabloid topics. Danish ”False Confessions” from the US, in production, is interesting, many confess to have committed crimes, they did not do. Why, is the theme of the film. ”Josefin and Florin”, Swedish and Romanian, is a sweet ”warmhearted and feel-good” film, as Sabine Bubeck from ZDF/arte formulated it. The French (a delegation from France was invited to Malmø) came with a film which I am not sure I dare watch when finished: ”Number 387”, one of the 30.000 drowned refugees, whose identity is built up ny forensic pathologists.
One more deserves to be mentioned, Norwegian ”The Men’s Choir” by Jo Vemund aiming at cinema release. The trailer was amost a short film in itself, showing the men, ”an exclusive brotherhood, who meet to sing. And does it very well. Funny, good atmosphere and they are invited to warm up in a Black Sabbath concert. BUT the conductor gets cancer and the tone changes completely. Touching, a challenge to masculinity, as one panelist said.
And then out in the streets of Malmø to go home to Copenhagen.
The festival side of Nordisk Panorama concludes tonight. Will get back to you with info on the winners.
1 comments "Nordisk Panorama: The Forum Day Two":
Mikael Opstrup skrev den 27-09-2017 16:59:15:Tue’s comments regarding the individual projects at Nordisk Panorama Forum is based on what we saw. I agree only partly regarding the film projects. But a discussion only really make sense for the ones who were there. What is more important is Tue’s implicit agenda regarding the selection and quality of the projects. That’s important.
So here is a few comments from the smiling man on the picture.
1. It doesn’t make sense to discuss the selection without knowing the submissions. You choose from what you get.
2. If the selection doesn’t balance between serving the market and pushing the market we will soon have a lot of empty chairs around the table. Followed by fewer submissions. With the 5 film institute-selected projects and the general Nordic quality, Nordisk Panorama Forum is a high-quality market.
3. One should not attend a forum to follow film discussions. If so we would not choose to gather 30 people around a table and give them all in all 7 minutes to comment on a complex film. Attending the forum as an observer is a little 2-days film school on the market. Here are the players, this is what they are looking for. I couldn’t disagree more with some of their comments. But it’s still an excellent learning experience to be there. I don’t know of any other industries where the 2 sides start the discussions in public. It’s unique.
4. And just to ensure that this ends in the section ‘Polemics’: Of course you’re bored Tue, you’ve heard the discussions hundreds of times, you still disagree with most of the Tv-people and dislike the choices of quite a few of the directors and producers. I spoke with many of the directors and producers who are farely new in documentary, for them it was an eye-opener and a very important step into the documentary environment.
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