The three films are among 18 titles from 34 countries to be pitched on December 16 at the 11th industry event, held parallel to Les Arcs European Film Festival (December 14-21).

Valdimar Jóhannsson’s supernatural thriller Lamb (Dýrið) is based on the director’s own script written with renowned author Sjón. It’s the story of María (Noomi Rapace) and Ingvar (Hilmir Snaer Gudnason), who live with their herd of sheep on a beautiful but remote Icelandic farm. When they discover a mysterious new-born on their farmland, they decide to keep it and raise it as their own. The unexpected prospect of a new family brings them much joy, before ultimately destroying them.

Top crew members include VFX Supervisor Peter Hjorth (Border) and production designer Snorri Hilmarsson (Woman at War).  The film is produced by Iceland’s Go to Sheep with Sweden’s Black Spark Film & TV, and Poland’s Madants/NEM Corp, with support among others from Nordisk Film & TV Fond. New Europe Film Sales handles sales. The film was first pitched as an idea at Nordisk Film & TV Fond’s Nordic Genre Boost.  

The thriller Shorta is the first feature collaboration between Frederik Louis Hviid, episodic director of Follow the Money 3, and Anders Ølholm, Robert nominated for the screenplay of Letters to Amina.

Shot in real time, the film centres on two police officers on a routine patrol in a local ghetto, who must fight for their lives when the news of the accidental death of a kid from the ghetto, held in police custody, suddenly breaks out.

In the title roles are Jacob Lohmann (Out of Tune, The Rain,) and Simon Sears (Ride Upon the Storm). The film produced by Toolbox Film will be released in Denmark October 22, 2020. 

The Gravedigger by Somalia-born Finnish director Khadar Ahmed, was selected at Cannes Cinéfondation Résidence in 2015. It’s the story of gravedigger Guled and his family, who in times of misfortune, have to push themselves to the limits in order to find strength to reunite their family.

In the starring roles are Omar Abdi (Juho Kuosmanen’s Citizens) and Canadian supermodel Yasmin Warsame.  The film is produced by Finland’s Bufo, in co-production with France’s Pyramide Productions and Germany’s Twenty Twenty Vision Filmproduktion.

The films will compete for the €10,000 Titra Film Prize and for the new €5,000 Alphapanda Audience Engagement Award. 

Two Nordic films in development will be introduced at Les Arcs Coproduction Village: 

  • Entrepreneur by Sweden’s Simon Vahlne, produced by Ruben Östlund’s Plattform Produktion, with France’s Deuxième Ligne
  • In the Eyes of God by Denmark’s award-winning Jonas Alexander Arnby (When Animals Dream), produced by Profile Pictures. 

For its second edition, the Talent Village set up last year to support promising directors with their feature debut, has selected eight new names including Finland’s Lauri-Matti Parppei and Iceland’s Erlendur Sveinsson for a three day workshop. 

On the festival’s side, a handful of Nordic films selected by artistic director Frederic Boyer have French distributors on board.  

  • Rúnar Rúnarsson’s Echo, competing for the Crystal Arrow (Jour2Fête) 
  • Roy Andersson’s About Endlessness screening at the Hauteur sidebar (KMBO) 
  • Ulaa Salim’s Sons of Denmark, screening at Playtime (Programstore). Bowing in the same section is Disco by Jorunn Myklebust Syversen.

This year’s countries in focus are Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. 

Finnish films selected as part of the Focus programme include Aki Kaurismäki’s Le Havre, Juho Kuosmanen’s The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki and Dome Karukoski’s Tom of Finland. 

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