Chiledoc Berlinale 2024

«We see it as an excellent way to reach audiences who would perhaps not normally be inclined to attend a film festival»

NORDISK PANORAMA: Ahead of the 33rd edition, Modern Times Review spoke with its Director and city-wide Cinema Walk coordinator on this year's festival as it further aims to connect local businesses and the community.

Since 1990, Nordisk Panorama has grown from a film festival to a full-scale industry event and meeting place for the professional Nordic short film and documentary community. With 64 films set to compete across its five competition categories, tackling urgent issues and reaffirming the power of imagination, Nordisk Panorama once again welcomes audiences to Malmö for a week of cinema and discovery.

Ahead of the 33rd edition of Nordisk Panorama, held between 22 and 27 September 2022, Modern Times Review spoke with both its Director, Anita Reher, and city-wide Cinema Walk coordinator, Maja Moberg, on this year’s festival as it further aims to connect local businesses and the community with film screenings and audiences of all kinds.

Nordisk Panorama Cinema Walk 2021
PC: Niklas GybergIvarsson

In my experience last year (2021), the Cinema Walk was a definite highlight of the festival. I not only was able to experience some nice films but also uncovered some interesting museums, nice restaurants, and quirky locales around the city. With a diverse array of venues participating, how do you choose what to screen and where for the Cinema Walk?

Maja Moberg: I coordinated this year’s Cinema Walk together with Amila Cirkinagic, who programmed the films by digging into our library, a 33-year treasure trove of Nordic shorts and documentaries. Some of the places in this year’s Cinema Walk were part of last year’s walk, and they spread the word about how great it was to host a screening, so it became easy for us to add a few new interesting places.

When choosing the venues, we worked from both ends. Either Amila had a film in mind, and I found a place that would be suitable, or I had a place in mind, and she found the right film. I really like this project because it truly integrates the city with the festival. We did our best to pick hidden gems and different types of locations around town in order to reach as many people as possible! For example, Amila found a film that takes place in a hair salon, so I found a wonderful hair salon to show it in. For a film about a man working as a toilet cleaner, we arranged to show it at the public toilet in Gustav Adolfs Square. The Form & Design Centrum’s current theme is architecture, so we selected a film about the City of Oslo’s architecture. We looked for diversity in terms of urban reach and cinematic expression.

Ultimately, what place does the Cinema Walk hold within the wider Nordisk Panorama programme? Will there be some adjustment to this year’s vs last year’s, given the different pandemic levels?

MM: The Cinema Walk idea emerged as a pilot project during last year’s winter lock-down when it was still unclear what shape the festival would end up taking in September. We wanted to create a program that could reach audiences no matter the pandemic level and still give people a cinema experience. Our immediate thought was to do something outdoors and bring films to people in unexpected places, places they would frequent anyway, either passing by or when in line for picking up food, having a coffee, or going to the library. We also extended the Walk to include Watering Holes along the route so people doing the Cinema Walk would be encouraged to stop and enjoy a beverage at local bars and cafés that had been hard hit due to the pandemic. It was our way of trying to give a little back to the community by cross-promoting them via this special program.

This year, the festival is back at full capacity with no audience restrictions anywhere, yet there was no doubt that we wanted to continue the Cinema Walk as a special program. We see it as an excellent way to reach audiences who would perhaps not normally be inclined to attend a film festival. It was also a way to give a second life to some of the great films from previous festival editions. This year’s Cinema Walk features 20 venues around Malmö, some of which are back from last year by popular demand, and others are new collaborations in different areas of the city. We added a special feature this year, a QR code, so anyone who sees the films can scan the code on the spot and see a short video introduction by the filmmakers. It was a way of connecting the audience to the storytellers.

We looked for diversity in terms of urban reach and cinematic expression.

Aside from the Cinema Walk, there will also be several free offerings at locations around the city. Can you speak on these selections and how they fit into the wider programme?

Anita Reher: We like to offer special screenings in addition to the competition programmes because there are so many great films that we wish to present in one way or another and because we love to create cinematic experiences in rooms other than in the movie theatres. We have a long-term collaboration with the Malmö Art Gallery, where we always present a program that fits in with whatever their main exhibition is and arrange an artist talk around it. This year the timing is such that they are just exactly between exhibitions during the festival. However, we are showing a fantastic short documentary called The Powernapper’s Paradise on a loop in the gallery space staged with couches and comfy chairs next to the Gallery’s amazing lunch restaurant. We will also be screening a classic Nordic documentary, the Rock in Reykjavik film, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. It’s a film that revolutionized the documentary genre for a whole generation of Icelanders. We are screening it at a music venue with a young female punk band as the opening act. We have a new collaboration with an urban space that is hosting an exhibition of local artists in their giant hangar over the weekend. We’ve built a projection booth in the space so we could show a program on Screendance – or the art of dance in cinema. Again, we hope we will reach new audiences in this way.

Nordisk Panorama Cinema Walk 2021
PC: Laura Catalan

What other local outreach is happening at this year’s festival? I have read that local entrepreneurs will be invited to the financing forum. What is the goal there?

AR: We have always been interested in exploring possibilities for cross-fertilization in different creative industries. Last year, we presented a seminar on the possible points of reference and meaningful collaborations across creative storytelling borders by looking at storytelling in the gaming industry versus the film industry.

This year, we have created a new initiative where local entrepreneurs from other creative fields will be introduced to the pitching forum concept with the simple goal of inspiring other industries to do their own versions. The city’s cultural department is fascinated with how the documentary community has developed not only this format of pitching new ideas but also the industry’s willingness to present new projects to each other. We share their belief that other fields could learn from this model.

In 2022, a Ukrainian delegation will also attend the festival with a tailor-made Industry programme. Can you speak on the inclusion of the Ukrainian projects and what Nordisk Panorama aims looks to do with their inclusion?

AR: Like many other festivals, we felt compelled to try to help Ukrainian filmmakers during a time of devastating war in their country. We intend to further their documentary projects by matchmaking them with Nordic colleagues, who can then become the co-producing entity that will be able to help them move things to completion, so these important stories can be told despite the many difficulties the Ukrainian teams are currently facing. We see this as an enriching opportunity for both Nordic and Ukrainian film professionals.

What aspects of the festival are you personally looking forward to?

MM: I am looking forward to seeing Malmö filled with film and people… and I am looking forward to great films and great conversations.

AR: I look forward to welcoming people from all over the world to experience the best of Nordic filmmaking. And I am happy that we are returning to some kind of normalcy and that, at last, we can get together socially without fear. Most people don’t think about it, but the film industry is all about people making connections that create the sparks that generate new ideas and new collaborations. We are happy to, once again, be able to provide these opportunities.

Steve Rickinson
Steve Rickinson
Steve lives in Bucharest, Romania. He writes for some platforms and does some other things as well.

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