Nordisk Panorama: The Forum Day One

Look at the i-phone photo. Two good friends: Gitte Hansen and Mikael Opstrup. Danes. Moderators at the Nordisk Panorama Forum in Malmø as they have been for years. They smile because they know that everything is under control. The photo is taken before the first pitch. It will be the same procedure as last year, the technique will function, microphones and screening of clips will work, the two will try to get as many comments as possible to the 12 projects, which are on the menu. And they know who to ask as they have had meetings with the pitching teams the day before. It’s a table full of editors from Nordic television, consultants from Nordic film institutions and a fine group of representatives from outside the Nordic countries. From France, Germany, Holland, USA – I am sure I have forgotten someone.

The atmosphere is relaxed, also thanks to Hansen and Opstrup. The latter fights with the right pronunciation of last names of the non-Nordic panelists at the table, Hansen asks the same to be careful with the microphones, don’t touch them, just talk, ”don’t fuck it up”, the Dane living in Switzerland says.

Sooo, it is not their fault that I felt the day a bit boring. Representing FILMkommentaren and not TVkommentaren. Let me gently question the selection of projects. Most of them were for television, fair enough, but the balance to the more cinematic, to the Films? Let me exemplify: With all respect, the Danish project ”Fat Front” about fat women or as it was said fat activists, who use their body as an activist weapon – it is relevant and will have a tv life. The same for the Icelandic ”The Farmer and the Factory” about ”an unknown illness that plagues horses”. As Helle Hansen from Norwegian Film Institute said, ”how are you going to visualise it”? A nice tv documentary coming up on Madeline Stuart, who is a model with Down syndrome, ”Everybody Loves Madeline”. A Norwegian pop star Aurora, title ”Once Aurora”, the tv people loved it… and so it went on and on. Almost. For there were projects that had trailers, which were not just informative but also showed Filmic quality.

Local Magnus Gertten was one of them, ”With Love” is the title of the film he wants to make with Ove Rishøj Jensen as producer. As the latter said, ”there are two narratives from present time in this film. One is her (a human rights activist from a former Soviet Republic) aim to get her brother out from the prison in the country involved. The other is her fight with the ghosts hunting her”. Very promising, as is the Finnish ”Club Colombia” by Jenni Kivisto and Jussi Rastas, who have filmed in Colombia for six months. They follow different Colombians in the middle of country´s chaotic peace process. The visual was great and they managed – difficult in such a short time as a trailer runs – to communicate the tone they seek in the film, one full of humour through the main character.

I have with big pleasure read Danish Daniel Dencik’s bicycle essays in a Danish newspaper, will read his book just published, ”Sport’s Heart” is the name also for the upcoming film which I look forward to see. He is making it with Michael Haslund as producer. The trailer was fresh with a filmic ambition and it was fun to meet the Danish rider in la Vuelta cite a poem he had written about being the loser, the one who never wins. One camera, Dencik said, different than the tv-style.

The last project presented was different. A documentary tv-series on ”Scandinavian Star” with a strong team – director Mikala Krogh, scriptwriter Nikolaj Scherfig, producer Sigrid Dyekjær and then at the end of the table journalist Lars Halskov from Danish newspaper Politiken, who said nothing… I would have loved to hear if he, who has followed the Scandinavian Star story for the last 10 year, had anything new to tell. Of course very naïve of me. Anyway, this is a must for the Nordic countries to have this series made, they mention 6×60 minutes, but there will be many versions and also one for cinema. I hope.

Yes, Cinema, more of that, less television, please. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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