Oslo-based Nordisk Film & TV Fund is launching scheme to support the distribution of Nordic films in the region.

With an annual budget of $600,000 (NOK 4m), the Nordic High Five scheme will bankroll the distribution of five Nordic features in other Nordic markets than their home countries.

Hanne Palmquist, managing director of the Nordisk Film and TV Fund, said: ”In each country the local share of cinema admissions is very high – yet it has become more and more difficult to distribute the films in the neighbouring countries. Since we invest in a lot of them, we also want them to be seen.”

Last year, Nordisk, based by the Nordic Council, five regional film institutes and 11 public and commercial broadcasters, backed the production of 36 features, 26 documentaries and 15 television series.

For the first three-year period, the fund has partnered with five  medium-sized, specialised distributors with up-market/art-cinema profiles, including Denmark’s Camera Film, Finland’s BioRex, Iceland’s Green Light Films, Norway’s Arthaus, and Sweden’s NonStop Entertainment, Sweden.

Palmquist added: ”Competition in the theatres is hard, especially for smaller, high-quality features, which we make a lot of in the Nordic countries. We would like to help them start their lives in the best way possible – on the big screen.

”We will cover up to 70% of the release costs, such as minimum guarantees to a certain limit, p&a, publicity and marketing. If the film grosses well, some of the profits will be reimbursable. Other distributors may still apply for support for single projects.”

The first Nordic High Five package includes Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn’s Valhalla Rising, to be launched in Iceland; Finnish director Klaus Härö’s Letters to Pastor Jacob (Postia Pappi Jaakobille), to open in Denmark.

Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur’s White Night Wedding (Brúðguminn), scheduled for Sweden; Swedish directors Calle Åstrand-Mats Lindberg’s Kenny Starfighter, due for Finland; and Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s Involuntary (De Ofrivilliga), which will be released in Denmark.