Night Visions 2015: Inaugural 'Nordic Genre Industry Days' - The Nordic Challenge

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas (@peteramartin)

Held in conjunction with the Night Visions film festival in Helsinki, Finland, the inaugural edition of Nordic Genre Industry Days presented panel discussions and pitch sessions for projects that are currently in development.

As might be imagined from the title, the sessions held on April 16 and 17 were targeted directly at filmmakers and industry professionals. But the discussions have broader implications as well, in that they cover topics that affect everyone who loves genre movies. After all, if you love horror, science fiction, fantasy, and/or action movies -- not to forget high-strung mystery and suspense thrillers -- then you're open to good genre movies irregardless of their country or countries of origin.

Read more about the event, including panel discussions on Nordic genre festivals, the challenges of distribution in the Nordic region, the current stage of crowdfunding, as well as a presentation on a new collaborative initiative, below.

Panel Discussions: Making the Most Out of the Nordic Genre Festivals

With those broader points in mind, the event began with two panel discussions specific to the Nordic region. First up: "Making the Most Out of the Nordic Genre Festivals."

The panelists included Mikko Aromaa (Night Visions, Finland), Nicolas Debot (Monsters of Film Festival, Sweden), Elias Eliot (Bloody Weekend Film Festival, Denmark), and Sten Saluveer (Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Estonia), the latter of whom moderated. They considered the challenges of educating the audience, especially for titles that come from beyond what's normally expected at these type of festivals: horror movies. But, as one noted, audiences can still surprise programmers by supporting more non-commercial fare.

As one example of how Nordic festivals can give a boost to genre movies, Aromaa cited Dead Snow. Before screening at Night Visions, not many people in the region were talking about the movie. But the enthusiasm generated by the screening got people excited about its prospects beyond Scandinavia, which proved true.

Even more recently, Debot talked about Kevin Smith's Tusk, which opened at Monsters of Film Festival in Sweden. That was a case where their festival was sought out as a launching pad for the title. The New Zealand vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows also did well there, as it has elsewhere.

Smaller specialty festivals also have the advantage of giving more attention to the films that they screen, since genre films can get lost if they're shown as part of a sidebar program at much larger festivals, where hundreds of titles may be showing.

The one caution is that some films may not be as successful in their native lands as they are in other countries; local audiences sometimes see little special about homegrown fare. That can also make it more challenging for the filmmakers. Again, however, genre festivals in the Nordic region can shine a light on films from nearby lands, perhaps encouraging home audiences to take another look.

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