General consensus was that New Nordic Films, the market at the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund, offered 22 Nordic features of unusually high quality.

“It was a very well-organised market, and the quality of this year’s projects was astonishing – they were not all auteur-oriented, and there was good genre product which will fit in with the broadcasters’ needs,” said German producer Christoph Thoke, of Berlin and Frankfurt-based Mogador Film

14 works-in-progress, or almost finished films, and 17 Nordic, German and Canadian projects with a total production volume of €61 million were presented the Nordic Co-Production and Film Financing Forum. ”A successful mix of more than 300  participants, with 75 international buyers and 25 festival programmers, contributed to an effective market,” explained New Nordic Films co-ordinator Gyda Velvin Myklebust.

”The strong attendance of buyers and festival representatives makes Haugesund a useful place for testing the potential of our films, or creating hype, or word-of-mouth, for upcoming product,” added sales manager Susan Wendt, of Denmark’s TrustNordisk, which had 10 finished films and four works-in-progress in the programme. ”Since these screenings are for professionals only, the films don’t risk being excluded from being selected for other festivals.”

Among Haugesund first-timers were head of the Marché du Film in Cannes, Jérôme Paillard, and Quanzaine director Frédéric Boyer. Paillard will next year organise a Scandinavian Focus within the Producers’ Network, in collaboration with New Nordic Films.

Opened by HRH Crown Prince Haakon and culture minister Trond Giske, the 37th edition of the Haugesund festival showed 90 features – 23 in the main programme – with Europe accounting for 70% of the selection, and 12 titles which had been in official selection at Cannes. Guests from 30 countries flew in for the showcase which registered a record number of 42,000 admissions. UK director Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank repeated its success from the Côte d’Azur and bagged the Critics’ Award.

Originally instigated at Haugesund, the Amanda Award – Norway’s national film prize – celebrated its 25th anniversary by a TV2 televised ceremony at Festiviteten which was seen by a record number of 619,000 Norwegians.

Nominated in 10 categories, Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg’s World War II epic, Max Manus, which has clocked in more than 1.1 million admissions domestically, left with seven prizes, including Best Feature (Producers John M Jacobsen, Sveinung Golimo/Filmkameratene), Best Original Screenplay (the late Thomas Nordseth-Tiller, Best Actor (Aksel Hennie) and Best Cinematography (Geir Hartly Andreassen). Arild Fröhlich was named Best Director for Fatso, and Jesper W Nielsen’s Through A Glass, Darkly (I et speil, i en gåte) won for Best Children’s-Youth Feature. Slumdog Millionaire garnered local distributor SF Norge an Amanda for Best Foreign Feature.