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The Yellow Affair, TrustNordisk and REInvent bet on impactful psychological dramas, fresh genre cinema

Orenda / PHOTO: Max Smeds

The Yellow Affair, TrustNordisk and REInvent bet on impactful psychological dramas, fresh genre cinema

Orenda / PHOTO: Max Smeds

The three Nordic sales agents spoke to NFTVF about their slates and activities ahead of the upcoming Marché du Film.

International sales agents are revving their engines ahead of the upcoming Marché du Film, set to kick off on 14 May. In this article, we take a closer look at three of the major players in the Nordic field – Finland’s The Yellow Affair and Danish outfits TrustNordisk and REInvent International Sales. The three sales agents shared their line-ups and talked us through the activities they plan to carry out at the world’s largest industry event.

First, we spoke to The Yellow Affair CEO Karoliina Dwyer. This year, the Helsinki-based sales outlet heads to the French Riviera with two Nordic titles and three international features.

Kontra, a young adult-orientated drama by Jonas Risvig, produced by Denmark’s Nimbus Film, will be presented and screened at the Marché for the first time,” says Dwyer. The feature, starring Andrea Ølbye Hjejle, Anna Lehrmann and Safina Coster-Waldau, follows extrovert, yet slightly naïve 18-year-old Fanny, who has just relocated to a new high school and struggles to navigate its strict social hierarchy. Fanny desperately tries to find acceptance, but after a humiliating night she decides to join forces with Lilja, the class’s unapproachable, yet confident outsider. The encounter with Lilja turns Fanny’s world upside down, marking the beginning of a whirlwind friendship journey between the two.

Next, The Yellow Affair will bring to the Croisette Pirjo Honkasalo’s Finnish-Estonian-Swedish co-production Orenda, now in post. Led by Alma Pöysti and Pirkko Saisio, the picture explores “the themes of guilt and grace” and sees “the destinies of two women intertwining into a tense emotional thriller set on a remote island”.

The other international titles The Yellow Affair will be selling in Cannes are Constanze Klaue’s Punching the World (an adaptation of Lukas Rietzschel’s acclaimed novel, also in post-production, and staged by German outfits Flare Film and Chromosom Film), Klaudia Reynicke’s Berlinale Grand Jury Prize winner Reinas (world-premiered at Sundance) and the British drama Dreamers, helmed by Screen International Star of Tomorrow Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor.

At the Marché, The Yellow Affair will focus on connecting with all-rights buyers, streamers and broadcasters while tracking emerging talents and commercial titles in the financing stage and launching in 2025.

“We’ve all had to adapt to the constant changes in the market, which seems more active now, but with a backlog of available products. For the moment, it is a buyer-focused market. That being said, Nordic titles maintain a strong reputation, and we’re attracting a lot of interest around our new titles,” Dwyer sums up.

Meanwhile, REInvent pins its hopes on four key projects.

The first is Arto Halonen’s After Us, the Flood, a Finnish-Latvian sci-fi drama set in 2060, at a time when humanity stands at the brink of extinction brought by global warming.

Coming up next is Zinnini Elkington’s debut Second Victims (Det andet offer). A Danish production led by Trine Dyrholm, this psychological drama is set against the backdrop of an understaffed stroke unit. Neurologist Alexandra’s unwavering confidence is put to the ultimate test when a routine case spirals into tragedy.

The third project, which also stars Dyrholm alongside David Dencik and Johanne Louise Schmidt, is Jeanette Nordahl’s first feature Beginnings (Begyndelser). In this film, Ane and Thomas are in the middle of their divorce, but they haven’t told their kids yet. Thomas is on the verge of moving in with his new girlfriend Stine, when Ane suddenly suffers a severe stroke. The couple decides to stay together, but as she struggles to get back on her feet, they must come to terms with the realities of their new life.

Finally, Howard J. Ford’s psychological horror River of Blood follows two young couples’ dream-vacation transforming into a nightmarish fight for survival on sacred land.

“In Cannes we will be selling our line-up and then we will be acquiring new projects, both films and TV series. We are meeting great Nordic production companies with whom we have a long history, but we’re also eager to meet new partners with projects that are suitable for our slate. Some may be lacking an MG to get started, and others may be in an earlier stage. Besides, we’re meeting festival reps to discuss the launch of our films,” says Rikke Ennis, the company’s CEO.

Currently, there’s a growing demand for Nordic films and series, maintains Sales and Marketing Director Helene Aurø. “High-quality films and good stories will travel. The audience on a worldwide scale do seem to identify with the stories told. The market seems to be picking up since the Berlinale. We’re still waiting for some platforms and buyers to announce their strategies for the future, but we definitely expect Cannes to be the right place to sell Nordic films. This year, we’re very proud to present our line-up, as our films display a broad variety of genres, so there is something for everyone.”

The article continues below the picture.


The Yellow Affair, TrustNordisk and REInvent bet on impactful psychological dramas, fresh genre cinema

Super Charlie / PHOTO: Nordisk Film

Meanwhile, TrustNordisk’s catalogue includes four buzzy projects from the region – namely Jon Holmberg’s 3D-animated flick Super Charlie (recently pitched at Cartoon Movie and already sold to the UK, the Baltic countries, Hungary, Romania, the former Yugoslavia, and Vietnam), Pål Øie’s monster film Kraken (about the legendary monster rising from the deep to wreak havoc upon Norway), Frederik Louis Hviid’s action drama The Quiet Ones(which follows a group of Danish and European men planning to commit the largest robbery ever on Danish soil as the 2008 crisis hits the world), and Eirik Svensson’s suspense drama Safe House, the firm’s latest acquisition, led by acclaimed actress Kristine Kujath Thorp. Among non-Nordic titles, Petra Volpe’s drama Late Shift stands out, featuring The Teachers’ Lounge star Leonie Benesch.

“We have a strong line-up of films, including two market screenings and an impressive slate of upcoming titles. There is a significant demand not only for films by prominent auteurs, but also for genre titles and animation, which are finding growing distribution opportunities across the globe,” the TrustNordisk sales team tells us.

When asked to provide a comment on the current sales climate, the team adds: “Already back in Berlin, there was a strong demand for new projects and a feeling of optimism around distributors from most parts of the world, including strong sales. We trust and hope that this momentum carries forward into Cannes. […] And there is a significant demand not only for films by prominent auteurs, but also for genre titles and animation, which are finding distribution opportunities across the globe.”

On their activities at the Marché, they say: “Our main focus will be on sales, aiming to secure strong distribution partnerships for both the films screening in the market and the upcoming ones. Additionally, we value the personal meetings with distributors in order to stay up-to-date about current market demands.”

“And, of course, we do meet with producers. However, as we have already secured some good production partners that deliver strong, high-quality content, this is done on a very selective basis.”