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Sørfond Pitching Forum 2017

There’s a relaxed, but at the same time restless atmosphere before the pitching begins during Sørfond Pitching Forum 2017. Attending the pitching forum leaves you with a positive feeling about both the film industry, but also a more abstract expression of ‘the future’ in film making.

Av , foto: Johnny Vaet Nordskog 18. des 2017

Sørfond’s pitching forum brings together people from all over the world and makes it possible for filmmakers and producers from different backgrounds to start new and inspiring collaborations. Formally, the aim of the event is to inspire cooperations between Norwegian producers and film projects from developing countries, with the ambition to apply production support from Sørfond the following year.

148 projects applied to participate at this year’s forum, and out of these, eight projects were selected to visit Oslo during the Films From the South-festival in November and invited to pitch at Sørfond Forum. The projects participating all had their origin from Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

The forum started with an interesting case study on the Sørfond-supported project La Familia. Dag Hoel from DHF-productions and director Gustavo Rondón Córdova gave us insight into their collaboration on the Venezuelan feature, which were supported by Sørfond in 2015, and premiered in Cannes this year.

- I wanted to reach out to a wider audience and I needed an outsider’s view. I felt having this outsider’s view would be very important on such a local film, Córdova explained when talking about his experience of the cooperation and co-producing through Sørfond.   

After the case study, it was time for the pitching to commence. Ten outward-looking Norwegian producers were seated up front to provide feedback and questions to the pitchers after their presentations, all with different thoughts and ideas about what they look for in potential projects.  

- To me this is a very interesting way to establish relations with other countries, especially since it is countries that you as a Norwegian producer normally never work with. In Norway, it is common to co-produce with our neighbors in Sweden and Denmark, and maybe the Netherlands, Germany and a few others European counties. Therefore, this is a unique opportunity to be involved in realizing more international projects, and to find new interesting stories that deserve be told, says the Norwegian producer Khalid Maimouni.

The pitchers participating in the pitching forum is not guaranteed to find a Norwegian partner to team up with, but the atmosphere in none the less an optimistic one. Maybe because there is an understanding between everyone that the quality of this year’s selected projects have been of a very high standard.

Felicitas Raffo, the Argentinian producer of the project Irene, also points out that a co-production and collaboration with a Norwegian producer has far more to it then the potential funding;  

- Besides the money, it’s also important for us to emphasize the importance this forum, and more generally co-producers from outside of Argentina, have in creating new audiences. Going abroad on pitching forums like this creates an opportunity to travel with the film also before it’s done.  

However, the financial contributions from funds like Sørfond to projects from developing countries is vital. Bringing stories to life on screen is expensive, and the battle for sources of finance is getting tougher and tougher.

- I think it’s very important that funds like Sørfond exists. Film making on a professional and artistic level is made possible in countries like Georgia through contributions from funds like Sørfond, says director Rusudan Chkonia who is participating with her project Venice in this year’s forum.