Haugesund festival wraps to industry acclaim.

More than 1,300 film professionals attended the 40th Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund, which comes to a close today (Aug 23), including 340 participants in the New Nordic Films market with previews of 23 new films, six works-in-progress and 16 projects pitched at the Co-Production and Film Financing Forum.

The first Viaplay Nordic Film Prize went to one of the seven local premieres in Haugesund, Norwegian director Dag Johan Haugerud’s feature debut, I Belong (Som du ser meg).

Kon-Tiki won the audience award and there were also prizes for Michael Hanke’s Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild.

“This year’s programme of New Nordic Films was one of the best so far,” said sales director Michael Werner, of Sweden’s NonStop Sales-Turner/Time Warner. “I had no films in the selection – but I have been attached to sell a new project, Finnish director Miikko Oikkonen’s Tove and the Mermaid. I left with three-four deals for new films I will represent. I think the market seems to attract more and more international buyers.”

“This is my fourth visit to Haugesund, and by far the most useful – there were more buyers this year, representing more countries. I signed two contacts here,” said sales manager Silje Nikoline Glimsdal, of Denmark’s TrustNordisk, which unspooled four films in New Nordic Films section and three films in other strands.

“We used to concentrate on art house fare, but the audiences for art house and mainstream are merging, so we are simply looking for good films that are not too mainstream,” Russian distributor Anton Spiridonov, of Moscow’s Russian Report.

Most recently releasing Norwegian director Jannicke Systad Jacobsen’s Turn Me On, Goddammit! (Få meg på, for faen), Spiridonov picked up Norwegian director Roar Uthaug’s Escape, which he found “very powerful.”

Danish producer Regner Grasten, who screened Danish director Anne-Grethe Bjarup Riis’ This Life (Hvidsten Gruppen – nogle må dø for at andre kan leve) in the festival, introduced her 2014 project Tanne – A Family Saga, a biopic on Danish author Karen Blixen-Isak Dinesen. He found a Norwegian partner – Storm Studios – not only for Tanne, but also for Riis’ next feature, Tarok – Dannebrog on Four Legs (Tarok – Dannebrog på fire ben), which will go into production next year.

Festival director Gunnar Johan Løvvik, who celebrated his 30th anniversary, screened a total of 94 films in this programme, for the first time with a Nordic Focus.


The Viaplay Nordic Award: I Belong. Dir: Dag Johan Haugerud. Prods: Yngve Sæther, Sigve Endresen, for Motlys (Norway). Local distr: Norsk Filmdistribusjon

The Norwegian Critics’ Prize: Beasts of the Southern Wild. Dir: Benh Zeitlin (US). Local distr: Arthaus

Norwegian Exhibitors’ Prize (The Sower of Joy): The Angels’ Share. Dir: Ken Loach (UK, France, Belgium, Italy). Local distr: Storytelling Media

The Andreas Ecumenical Prize: Amour. Dir: Michael Haneke (France, Germany, Austria). Local distr: Arthaus

The Audience Award: Kon-Tiki. Dirs: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg (Norway). Local distr: Nordisk Film Distribusjon